Friday, August 24, 2007

Woman Raped; Screams Ignored

Kitty Genovese Redux

I love Feministing. Been one of my personal top-ten blogs for a long time. Today Ann reports a case I consider possibly more horrific than Kitty Genovese. As always, we need to wait for the facts to come in; all I've got is the one news report everyone else has.

The news report -- when you hit the jump below -- goes into greater detail about the cultural issues the community of Somali face, mostly living in the apartment complex where the attack reportedly occurred, specifically how they may have a known cultural basis about reporting attacks to authority. It shouldn't need to be said that cultural basis' don't excuse rape, violence against women, or failing to learn enough about the culture you are living in in order to understand the rules and not violate them. Not to mention the whole inalienable human rights thing.

The StarTribune of Minneapolis-St Paul reports:

A man beat a woman, removed his pants and sexually assaulted her in a hall, and five to 10 people saw at least part of the attack but did nothing to intervene or help.

It was only after police were summoned on a report of two drunk people lying in the hall that they learned there had been a rape. Rage Ibrahim, 25, of St. Paul, was charged Thursday with first-degree and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court said the surveillance video showed the woman lying in the hall as early as 1:20 a.m. Tuesday. Police weren't dispatched until almost 90 minutes later.

According to the complaint, officers found Ibrahim and the woman lying in the hall. Her clothes had been pushed above her waist. He wasn't wearing pants or underwear.

The woman told officers that she didn't know Ibrahim and that he had drugged her and raped her. She was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Ibrahim told officers that he and the woman, whom he said was his girlfriend, were drunk and messed up. He maintains that the incident was a misunderstanding, according to Omar Jamal, the executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center who spoke Thursday on Ibrahim's behalf.

"He did not rape her," Jamal said.

According to a search warrant affidavit, investigators talked to one resident in the building who said that a woman had knocked on his door in the middle of the night yelling "call the police!" The man said he didn't open the door or look out. He said he called police, but police said there is no record of that call.

The affidavit also said the surveillance video shows an unknown man approaching Ibrahim and the woman. Ibrahim, who wasn't wearing pants, confronts the man and chases him down the hall.

The question of why so many people who must have been aware of the disturbance would not call Tuesday morning has yet to be easily answered.

Anshoor recognized a man on the video who was walking toward the man and woman and then turned around. Anshoor said he asked the man Tuesday why he did not report what he saw. The man replied: "I thought they were drunk. And I left."

What to do?