Diane Wetendorf, ©2006, 2021. All rights reserved. Available in print through Amazon and as an ebook on SmashWords.
A groundbreaking exploration of the politics and dynamics confronting women in law enforcement. Serving in a male-dominated institution presents challenges not found in civilian life, as remedies available to many civilian women are simply untenable. It is always a volatile situation when a police officer is the perpetrator of domestic violence; it is an explosive situation when both the abuser and victim are officers.
Diane Wetendorf captures the mentality of police who are perpetrators of domestic violence, showing that their victims, particularly when they are female officers, are the least understood and most endangered of all domestic violence victims. In this most insightful book, she sets forth how police are a world unto themselves and how their brotherhood protects batterers within their ranks. — Joan Zorza, Esq., Editor, Domestic Violence Report
Finally, a book that nails the dirtiest secret in policing. This is the best-researched book on the police spousal abuse issue I have ever read. Remarkable! Wake up criminal justice leaders — now the public knows what really goes on, and the truth can't be hidden any longer. — Amy Ramsay, Ph.D. , Founding President Ontario Women in Law Enforcement
Women police officers face a unique set of challenges that their male colleagues never have to confront. Those who choose to make a life for themselves with their male contemporaries encounter hurdles that are excruciatingly difficult to overcome. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to gain a greater understanding of this difficult issue. — Frank G. Cousins, Jr. , former Sheriff Essex County (Mass.)
Diane Wetendorf has been the pioneer in dealing with the problem of violence in law enforcement families. Women across the nation have turned to Diane for help when the entire criminal justice system turned its back on them. Diane has bravely documented and talked about the extraordinary challenges these victims face when the violent perpetrator is a law enforcement officer who is armed and has friends in the criminal justice system. Every police chief and sheriff should read this book." — Penny E. Harrington, Founding Director, National Center for Women & Policing
Reading this book was quite an education for me. Diane Wetendorf captures the mentality of abusive men with incredible accuracy and illustrates the critical role the abusive cops' allies play in enabling the abuser to manipulate the victim and maneuver the criminal justice system. It is the urgent responsibility of chiefs and police supervisors to educate themselves and eradicate police-perpetrated domestic violence. — Lundy Bancroft, author of "The Batterer as Parent" and "Why Does He Do That?"
What is different about this book is that it examines how male police officers' institutional power within society and within the police ranks filters down into their intimate relationships, and why the institution has historically ignored or denied police-perpetrated violence against women. Fully comprehending the dynamics of the situation takes more than understanding DV101. It requires understanding how completely males dominate law enforcement, and how they have used the institution and culture of policing to preserve and protect male dominance both within the profession and within larger society.
We will begin with a brief look at the history of policing, particularly how the profession has treated black and female officers. Next, we will explore the institution of policing — its culture and how individuals are indoctrinated, accepted, or rejected based on their acceptance of the culture. With such background, we will finally look at domestic violence in the ranks, exploring how the players in the criminal justice system not only ignore domestic violence, but collude with the abuser. We will discuss the impact of community-based advocates losing independence as they depend more on government-based funding. Our conclusion will show that female officers are basically left without resources. It depends on all citizens, not just those in law enforcement, to effect change.
Members of law enforcement have long referred to themselves as the police family. They equate the love, concern, and protectiveness that bonds together all those who wear the badge to the love, concern, and protectiveness that bonds members of biological families. The police family, like many biological families, maintains its privacy by abiding by the absolute rule that "What happens in the family stays in the family." The loyalty, solidarity, and privacy of the family must be impenetrable. This loyalty and solidarity, surrounded by a wall of privacy, protects the family from outside influence and intruders. It also leaves family members extremely vulnerable to one another. The mandate to keep what happens in the family private forbids members to reach out for anything, especially for protection against one's own.
Because of the insularity of the police culture and the unique demands of the profession, female officers tend to date and marry male officers. These dual career couples live under a double mandate for privacy: that within their personal relationship and that within the police family. We have no way of knowing how many female officers are victims of male officers, but current statistics estimate 30% of women in the general population will experience domestic violence; and research on police families reports the incidence to be as high as 40%. At current staffing levels, this means 26,800 to 36,700 female officers may be domestic violence victims. Because of the insular nature of the culture, its masculine-identified values, and the power that the institution of policing wields, these victims have little or no protection from their abusers. To whom can an officer-victim appeal if the very institution to which she belongs colludes with her batterer?
Certain members of the male population have always used violence against women to maintain power and control within their personal relationships and, by extension, within society. Because police agencies recruit from the general population, we can reasonably assume that some of these recruits also use, condone, or will use violence against women because there is no reliable way to screen them out. However, one of the main differences between domestic violence in the general population and officer-perpetrated domestic violence, is that the police family managed to keep it hidden from the public for a longer time. Though there has been some acknowledgment that police-perpetrated domestic violence is a problem, many police agencies continue to deny or ignore it.
The blue wall of silence has prevented, and continues to prevent, any honest examination of police domestic violence. The system doesn't want the public to see how the institutional police family responds to domestic violence among their own — whether an officer is the perpetrator or the victim. They don't want the public to see the ways in which the attitudes of the police, fortified by police power, undermine society's efforts to hold batterers accountable in the criminal justice system. The institution of policing cannot afford for the public to understand the ways in which the male-dominated culture of policing fosters sexist attitudes that contribute to the psychological, sexual, and physical violence that controls all women in our society — both civilians and officers. Ensuring that "what happens in the family stays in the family" is essential for the institution to continue preserving and protecting its own immense power.
The wall is beginning to show hairline cracks. Some police agencies are beginning to acknowledge, at least internally, that the problem exists. Some have implemented policies, protocols, and officer training on officer-involved domestic violence since amendments to the federal gun law created new liability issues for agencies who employ convicted batterers. Some agencies are proactive; others have reacted in the aftermath of a tragic incident involving an officer.
Police-perpetrated domestic violence, like domestic violence in the general population, is so entrenched in the police culture that it is foolish to think that we can simply begin where we are today and ignore its deep historical roots. Police agencies must identify and examine the deeply ingrained beliefs, values, and attitudes that have condoned and perpetuated violence against women for centuries. Acknowledging the problem, writing policy, and training officers are all steps in the right direction, yet they do not substitute for a true understanding of the issue and will not bring about substantive change.
Although it is true that not all men and not all male police officers perpetrate or condone violence against women, it is also true that most men do little or nothing to stop those who do. If most male officers do not condone other male officers' use of violence against women, why don't they stop them? Why don't police officials who direct the activities and priorities of law enforcement make police-perpetrated domestic violence a top priority? Why don't male officers hold each other accountable and ostracize those officers who use violence against women just as they ostracize police officers who violate other cultural norms? Why do so many men in power accept male violence against women as if it is as natural and inevitable as the weather?
Women do not have the power to stop men's violence. Only men have that power. Males, including male police officers, frequently complain that they resent being included in the group of men who use violence against women. They accuse those of us who hold men responsible for domestic violence of reverse sexism and they are quick to point out that women are violent too. Domestic violence advocates and victims try so hard to avoid these accusations that we find ourselves not being able to speak candidly about the issue. The issue is male-perpetrated violence. If we can only speak about violence against women in political (mistakenly referred to as "politically correct") terms, we cannot honestly speak about it at all.
Any discussion about domestic violence and males' power and control over women is bound to be volatile. This is an emotionally charged issue that involves belief systems about gender roles, social order, and protection of power. The ideology of sexism and racism is embedded in the foundations of our major societal institutions and are cornerstones of the criminal justice system. Throughout history, people have used ideology to bolster and protect power. Ideology has the advantage over logic in that it doesn't require reason or facts. It justifies its own existence. The following chapters will reveal the precarious position we find ourselves in when reason, ethics, and facts do not guide the actions and decisions of those in power, but what does guide actions and decisions is the protection of male power.
Historical and social context
Each of the 18,000 police agencies and each of the nearly 800,000 sworn police officers in the United States have their own individual characteristics, culture, and philosophy. Sizes of departments range from one officer to tens of thousands of officers. Each agency recruits and hires officers based on variables specific to its own needs and focus. Agencies that are more law enforcement-oriented usually prefer recruits who are conservative, who believe in strict enforcement of the law, and in maintaining the social values and status quo of the community. Community policing-oriented agencies focus more on recruiting individuals from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds with strong problem-solving and communication skills and less aggressive personalities.
Survival in the profession depends on an individual officer's ability to adjust to the culture by internalizing the occupational norms and values. Though many major institutions lack diversity, it is particularly problematic when law enforcement agencies lack diversity because they act as representatives of the government. As white males dominate the profession of policing, those who are not white and not male are forced to try to live up to white male standards and to assimilate to the white male culture. In other words, though an individual is not white, he or she is expected to act white; though an individual is not male, she is expected to act male.
The history of policing reflects the struggle of white men to gain and maintain power and control over those who are not white and not male. Not surprisingly, most mainstream texts on policing neglect the earliest roots of policing; policing in the U.S. began during slavery. It wasn't until the 1940s when racial tensions increased that police agencies began to hire black males to police black communities. Black officers were enlisted in the wars against drugs, gangs, and violence in the black community. Their mandate was to control the black population and serve as buffers and liaisons between 'their' people and the rest of the (white) population.
The flood of immigrant women into America's cities in the 1800s began a dramatic shift in the role of women which threatened the status quo. Police departments began to hire women with backgrounds in social work because they thought women would be able to relate to and communicate with other females who only had 'women's problems.' Many male officers deeply resented that police agencies were inviting females to enter their profession. The institution of policing retained male police officers' monopoly on power, however, by granting female officers only limited authority. As they were in no way equal to male officers, they posed no real threat to males in the profession.
Female officers' status as 'social workers in uniforms' began to change in the 1970s after consent decrees forced departments to grant women patrol assignments and even allow them to patrol without males riding along. However, most consent decrees have expired. Without consent decrees to remedy discriminatory hiring and employment practices, the marginal gains women have made are being lost.
The protests from white males who claim that "others" are taking positions that rightfully belong to them is about much more than mere employment; it is about who in America will be in charge of whom, who will have power over whom, and who will enforce the social norms and the laws. It was and still is about race and gender and the preservation and protection of white male power.
Though racism and sexism are both strong in policing, sexism still proves to be the stronger. Male officers of all racial backgrounds bond on one thing: their resistance to hiring and promoting females. Even men who are not in positions of power derive a sense of entitlement and superiority simply because they are men. The lowest heterosexual man in the hierarchy enjoys a sense of superiority over even the highest ranked woman. Black male officers gain more from being male than they lose from being black. Many police officers, both black and white, acknowledge that black male officers have more status in the organization than does any female officer.
Like black male officers, female officers have had to choose their most practical survival technique. Female officers talk about their ambivalence about acting as agents of social control over women and having to enforce the laws of the male-dominated criminal justice system. They must accept the gender-biased status quo and live the paradox of being a female police officer in a society that denies authority to women. They are required to enforce laws that they know are discriminatory. If they choose to survive in policing, however, they must participate in the sexist bias of the system.
Police officers have historically resisted getting involved in domestic disputes because they were uncomfortable interfering with a male's entitlement to do as he pleases in his own home. The police defended their lack of intervention by arguing that society employed police to protect the safety of the general population, not to protect every individual woman who chose to defy her man's authority. Many police departments gave domestic violence calls low priority until 1983 when liability became a strong motivating force for crafting domestic violence policies and protocols. Today, up to 50% of all calls for police service are for domestics. When a department fails to address their officers' sexist beliefs and attitudes regarding male violence against women, male officers (and female officers who are male-identified) are likely to bring the traditional, conservative male perspective to the problem.
Research shows that most female officers respond to domestic violence calls more effectively than their male colleagues do. Those who have not become male-identified bring a woman's perspective, intuition, and life experience to the scene; they can see the incident through the eyes of the victim instead of through the eyes of the perpetrator. Such officers have the potential to overthrow the social order by challenging the gender imbalance of power and pose a serious threat to men's monopoly of power in society and in policing. These women are working toward the redefinition of policing and challenging the traditional power structure. Who gets to decide what policing is about: toughness, physical violence, and power to enforce the law... or communication, understanding people, solving problems, and keeping the peace in a community?
Police training is designed to transform a recruit's civilian identity into that of a police officer. The recruit learns that the police culture values group allegiance and solidarity, conformity to standards and norms, unquestioning obedience and respect for rank and authority. They learn to be submissive to superiors but intolerant of those who do not submit to their own authority. They become loyal to the values of their own group and show an extremely hostile attitude toward people who are different than themselves. The recruit becomes a member of an exclusive fraternity that wields the power of law enforcement.
Though male and female recruits go through the same training and indoctrination into police culture, the effects and impact are quite different. Men and women come into the training and culture with different backgrounds and socialization. It's easy for men to fit into the culture because they are already socialized in the male-dominated and male-oriented hierarchy of power and survival of the fittest. Women, however, have been socialized and conditioned in social relationships and peacekeeping. The hyper-masculine culture of policing affirms the polarization of gender roles. In this worldview, a female officer is an oxymoron.
Some people question why women want to join such a male-dominated institution as law enforcement. Some women, like their male counterparts, are attracted to policing because they seek to wield the power the job confers. Many say that they chose the profession for the same reason some men chose it: they want to help people and make a difference in society. They want to have meaningful, steady employment that compensates them with a decent salary, benefits, and pension. Many want to change the focus of policing, making law enforcement more about social justice than social control. These are the women who are the trailblazers; they seek to improve the status of women in policing in the future.
All social institutions have formal and informal cultures. The formal culture consists of rules, policies, and procedures. The informal culture consists of day-to-day customs and practices. Recruits learn the formal culture in the police academy. They learn the informal culture during field training when they not only learn how to survive on the streets but also how to survive in the department. Every police officer at every level of responsibility knows that discrepancies exist between the formal and informal culture. Each must choose when and whether to ignore, trivialize, or deny these discrepancies. In many instances, ignoring their existence is a requirement for survival on the job.
Male officers trust each other to abide by the code of silence, but many fear that women will not. They know that even when their version of the story is not truthful, they will not be caught because the golden rule says, "What happens here stays here." Everyone understands the dire consequences of violating the code. A female or minority officer who accuses a white male officer of sexist or racist behavior can expect the countercharge of reverse sexism or racism.
As a survival skill, women learn to never name a male officer's behavior or language as sexual harassment or discrimination. Should they dare to talk about the harassment and/or violence, they're labeled as radical troublemakers, feminists, or lesbians. Fellow officers may ridicule, threaten, or shun them, making them uncertain whom they can trust so they decide to trust no one. The result is that female officers are unable to collectively address harassment or discrimination, thus protecting male power.
The uniform, badge, and gun are internationally recognized symbols of the power and authority held by those who belong to the exclusive fraternity of law enforcement. Historically, women and minorities have been denied or limited access to the traditional symbols of law enforcement. Opportunities for training and experience are necessary for an officer to move up in the ranks. Such training and assignments, however, are not considered a right but a privilege granted by those in power. When women and minorities are limited or denied in their opportunities to qualify and apply for such assignments, they are confined to an inferior class.
Like other institutions, policing perpetuates its culture and philosophy through the promotion of individuals who are most likely to maintain and foster the values and culture of the agency. The chief promotes officers that he can work with — meaning those who think the same way he does, those with whom he can communicate, those who see eye-to-eye with him. Many women have repeatedly been passed over for promotion but told if they were patient and 'good little soldiers' their time would come. The promise of future promotion with its conferred recognition gives women and minorities a stake in the system. But the cost is their complicit participation in their individual and collective exploitation. Rather than being able to bond and support each other, women and minorities find themselves in aggressive competition with each other because they are vying for a single token opportunity. The higher up a person goes on the organizational ladder the more resentment they get from the majority and the fewer peers they have for support. The token woman or minority male who is promoted will have a challenge just to survive on a day-to-day basis. Their presence stokes the white male's fear that his job, his status, his wealth, his entire lifestyle is in danger.
It is impossible to separate issues of gender from issues of race, class, and sexual orientation. Even a white, middle class, heterosexual female officer is caught in a multitude of complex double binds. Female officers who cope with sexist comments and harassment by ignoring them or laughing them off do so because they understand that they must go along to get along. As women, they learned long ago that they can choose to fight some battles against sexism, but they must choose their battles wisely.
Many female officers stay in the profession because they love the work. Others leave because of the hostile work environment, sexual harassment and discrimination, hazing, exclusion from the informal networks necessary to gain promotions, and the brass ceiling that keeps women in their place and out of the command structure. Some leave because their agency penalizes them for being pregnant or for being mothers. Gender-biased personnel policies, limited assignment opportunities, and requirements to work rotating shifts clash with society's traditional female responsibilities for childrearing and/or taking care of elderly family members. Like their male colleagues, women also cite occupational stress, dissatisfaction, burnout, performance problems, and physical illness as reasons for leaving. But, surveys reveal that the main reasons women leave policing are gender-specific: devaluation of women, sexual harassment, and family care issues.
What is not commonly recognized is that many female officers leave law enforcement because of abuse by an intimate partner, often another police officer. The attitudes and beliefs of fellow officers and superiors often mirror that of the abuser. The police culture itself, with its emphasis on obeying orders and respecting (male) authority, serves to condition female officers to tolerate abusive treatment.
Evolution of an abusive relationship
Because of the relatively few number of female officers, male officers compete among themselves for the women's attention, especially the newly hired ones. Many women are naïve about the sexual politics and games when they first enter a department. There may not be any female officers who are willing or able to help a new officer adjust to the culture. She may not realize the extent to which she will be the target of speculation, gossip, and sexual advances.
A woman's refusal to be sexually intimate with men has been sufficient reason for men to question a woman's sanity and to diagnose such a woman as being frigid, abnormal, or even insane. If a female officer accuses a male officer of sexual harassment or assault and files a complaint, the men know she doesn't have a case if she isn't considered credible. Any female officer who challenges the male supremacy loses her credibility and serves as an example of what happens to a cop whose actions go against the culture.
Reacting to the pressure of the sexually charged police culture, she may seek a monogamous relationship with a male officer for protection, companionship, or to affirm her heterosexual identity. Excitement, sexual attraction, and a whirlwind romance often prevent a female officer from seeing that the man pursuing her is a lot like the other cops he disavows. Conquering a female cop who is strong, confident, and ambitious requires far greater skill than conquering a mere civilian; it's an enticing challenge for a male officer.
Female officers may struggle to overcome their lifelong conditioning to act and be feminine as they strive to be accepted into the male-identified world of policing. Often women receive mixed and incompatible messages as to whether they should act like women (feminine, nonaggressive, submissive, courteous, gentle) and demasculinize their roles, or act like typical police officers (tough, aggressive, authoritarian) and defeminize their roles. The conflict between these two extremes can make an officer feel insecure and inadequate as a woman and as a police officer. Her insecurity leaves her especially vulnerable to manipulation and abuse in an intimate relationship.
It may be difficult for a female officer to identify abusive and controlling behaviors in intimate relationships because she becomes desensitized to normalized male behaviors. This conditioning on the job can result in increased tolerance of the demeaning, insulting, and humiliating behavior by an abusive intimate partner. When she begins to see signs of controlling and intimidating behavior, she maintains faith that underneath his tough macho shield is a tender man that she can reach if she just gives him enough time and love. She wants to believe they have a relationship in which they share a balance of power. He tells her that though she is entitled to authority and power when she's on duty, she most certainly is not in their relationship. He warns her not to resist him and promises her that if she does, he will win. She gives in rather than fighting him. Just as a good police officer can coerce a suspect into compliance without the use of force, an abusive officer can control his intimate partner without the use of physical violence. Many officers never lay a hand on their victims.
As time goes on and the abuse escalates, the victim realizes that she is in a significantly different, more dangerous, and more vulnerable situation than if she were a civilian. She may have bargained for putting her life on the line as a cop, but she didn't bargain for putting her life on the line when she married one. She realizes that of all domestic violence victims, she may be the most at risk and the least likely to receive police protection.
The police culture attaches such a strong stigma to the label of victim that being a victim is the antithesis of being an officer. She refuses to identify the violence she experiences as rape, assault, or battering. She may hold herself responsible for 'allowing' it to happen, hoping she can do something different next time to prevent an attack. Her denial is a coping mechanism that helps her maintain a sense of control. She simply cannot afford to identify herself or have others identify her as a battered woman. She fears that others will question how, if she can't even protect herself, she can protect others.
Female officers have firsthand knowledge about how officers, both male and female, feel about domestic violence, what they say about the victims, how they joke about the calls. She knows that the Brotherhood may protect a female officer "as if she were a sister" when her abuser is a civilian, but not when he is a member of the police family. She fears they will see her as the traitor, the one who ratted out an officer. If circumstances force her to report, even other women officers may resent her and turn against her. They may see her as betraying all female officers and think reporting domestic violence makes all of them look weak. Some will be sympathetic because they have had similar experiences. Some may be less sympathetic because they dealt with their own situation differently and believe she should do the same. Others are afraid that showing too much understanding could alert colleagues to the fact that they too have been or are being abused.
The cultural stigma attached to the victim label does not apply to males who claim to be domestic violence victims. Though a male officer as victim defies the stereotype even more than does a female officer, many in the system have no trouble believing that a male officer can be a victim. He may file a report claiming his partner is going to make false allegations against him, and he wants to get his side of the story documented. He may say that he's concerned about the kids but doesn't want to make any formal charges against her. He appeals to others to keep quiet because he doesn't want it getting around the department. He may also be able to manipulate responding officers into believing that he was assaulted or provoked into striking the victim.
A victim's arrest serves to validate what the abuser has been telling their family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues about her. Her arrest can tip the scales in his favor with other parties as well: divorce attorneys, other officers and supervisors, the prosecutor, judge, therapists, child services, school, daycare, the guardian ad litem, all of whom may have considered them both equally credible and stable police officers — before her arrest. The male officer retains his credibility whether he is acting in his professional or personal capacity. Reflective of the larger society, male status and power in the world of policing ensures that the word of a male officer carries much more weight and credibility than the word of a female officer. All involved assert that they are avoiding gender bias by treating both parties equally. (In private they agree that she's such a bitch that they can understand why he hits her.)
Code of silence
The code of silence has been a major obstacle to eliminating police misconduct. Though domestic violence in the general population had been on the radar for some forty years, domestic violence in the police population remained hidden. Police-perpetrated domestic violence, like other types of police brutality, could not occur without implicit or explicit approval of other officers, supervisors, and ultimately the chief. Since the department's liability depends on what they knew, when they knew it, and what they did about it, ignorance is protection. An officer who reports that a male police officer assaulted or battered her quickly learns that the network of power functions very efficiently. Each link in the chain of command serves as a layer of insulation for those higher up.
Though departments defend the integrity of their investigations when policing their own, many inside and outside of the profession question whether this is an honest assessment. Investigators weigh the facts and many factors can influence their decisions — not only assessing what is in the best interest of the complainant and accused, but what is politically expedient, whether their own career may be affected by their findings, and what outcome is preferred by department and local officials.
If an incident has come to the attention of the public, public pressure may force the department to avoid any appearance of impropriety and refer the case to the state's attorney. But the police and the state's attorney are intertwined within the network of power, and the police can exert a great deal of pressure on the state's attorney to pursue or not to pursue criminal charges. It must be made clear that no one saw any indications that the officer's personal problems were affecting his job performance and it was an isolated incident. Officials assure the public that this officer is an anomaly and his behavior in no way reflects the standards of the department. The chief does not tolerate misconduct among his officers, all other officers abide by the department's standards, and it would be unfair of the public to judge all based on the aberrant behavior of a single officer.
Many female officers say that if they had to do it over again, they would avoid reporting despite the risk to their personal well-being and safety. They say it was not worth the emotional trauma and retaliation. Some victims recant, others choose to leave the profession rather than endure the hostility and harassment. No matter what the outcome of her complaint, making the complaint does extensive damage to an officer's career and reputation within and with out the department.
Advocates and community involvement
In the beginning of the Battered Women's Movement, advocates and police departments were more likely than not to be adversaries. This has changed dramatically over the years as government funding has required police and advocates to work together. Unfortunately, a situation involving an officer presents significant conflicts of interest. The advocacy program that chooses to work with an abused officer can face overwhelming challenges: loss of department-supported grant funds, damage to their reputation in the community, political repercussions, even a reduction in police cooperation and protection which reduces their ability to assist all victims.
There are always conflicts of interest among the various players in the system when the victim or perpetrator is an officer. Some are invested in covering up the incident, others may be equally invested in exposing it. Advocates can get caught in the crossfire. A collaborative relationship can quickly turn adversarial, shattering any illusion of being a team. If the police can coerce advocates through a network of power to align against the most vulnerable victims — those who are police officers — they have successfully nullified the meaning of the word "advocate."
Crossing the threshold
The reality that police officers who batter might be the responding officers to domestic violence calls in the community is cause for public alarm. Can the public rely on an abusive officer to hold a civilian batterer accountable or to protect a female victim from intimate partner violence? Law enforcement is the only institution that has the authority to use force to control others. Since they are the last bastion of male power and authority, the public should be paying attention to the way male police officers treat female officers both on the job and in their intimate relationships.
It isn't just the good police officers who stand by and do nothing; we all collude when, as citizens, we stand by and do nothing. Whose responsibility is it to change the culture? The presence of female officers influences the police culture, but they cannot change it without a tremendous shift in society's attitudes. We need to wake up and break through our denial because society cannot afford to lose the women who work in the criminal justice system.Go to index