Sunday, July 18, 2010

Missing woman "opens herself up". Police officer "open themselves up" to my wrath.

For those of you who haven’t been reading NZ news papers over the last few days, one of the reoccurring headlines has been regarding a missing person case.

Carmen Thomas, 32, was last seen in Auckland on July 1 and was reported missing to police on Tuesday. Her car, a black Nissan Pulsar with the registration number ATS209, was found in Hamilton on July 5
She was described as Caucasian, with a fair complexion and long brown hair. She was about 1.7m tall with a medium to heavy build. She wore two sets of earrings in each ear and was usually well-presented.
Her cards and phone have not been used, and it is out of character for her to spend time away from her 5 year old son. Investigators are concerned for her safety.

The media have had a tricky job addressing the fact that Carmen worked under a pseudonym as an escort. There was mention in one of the articles that people needed to treat this case like any other missing persons case
“The owner wanted people to put Thomas' occupation aside. ‘This thing happens and people think, 'Oh, just another dead hooker'. That couldn't be further from the truth. Carmen was a good girl."”
By accounts in the media she was just like any other young Mum, was very close with her son, shared custody with the Dad, was excited about being cast in a minor speaking role for an up coming movie ‘sparticus’ filming in NZ.
It will be a tragic loss if she has been hurt by someone.

In an article there are several quotes from the police officer working on the case.

“While there was no evidence at this stage to suggest anything sinister, Ms Thomas's work as an escort at a gentlemen's club heightened the chances of her having come to harm, he said.”

I can understand highlighting that working as a sex worker might open you up to being alone with some negative characters, but the following sentence… "She was quite a vivacious young lady who liked partying, so it means you open yourself up." really upset me!

Can any of you Mums, Dads, Brothers and Sisters who know a woman in their mid twenties NOT describe them as a “vivacious young lady who likes parting?”
We have just finished discussing Andy Haden’s ignorant comments on women putting themselves at risk just by being in the same room as a rugby player and now THIS!

Presumably, from his comments he is making the assumption that this is likely to be a sex crime. Not unreasonable under the circumstances.

Can I just clarify one more time? No one ASKS to be raped.
Not in our clothes, our manner, our words or our jobs.

If we say the words as a genuine request “please rape me” and mean we want to have sex with you that is consensual sex and therefore not rape.
If we say “please pay me” that is business, not rape.
If we wear a short skirt, get drunk, invite you to have sex with us then don’t call you again, that is a one night stand, Not rape.

One of the main points of rape is WITHOUT CONSENT.

So no one can possibly ask for it.
And the phrase “open your self up” is just insulting.

Prostitutes are at high risk of assault or murder because the nature of their job enables men to get close to them with no one else around.
Not because they ASK to be killed or hurt.

Young women out alone, drunk, and vulnerable are at risk because, again they are THERE. Not because they “open themselves up”. The phrase opens themselves up means the victim has done something deliberate to incite the violence that follows.

The responsibility is entirely on the sick person who gets off on taking power away from someone else and hurting them.
The only way to guarantee avoiding assault is to cut yourself off from human contact entirely.

Any question that the woman is at fault re victimizes all those who have been hurt before and makes it harder for future victims of assault, rape, or domestic abuse to step up and speak out.
And the last person I want to hear it from is an officer of the law designed to protect the victims.


  1. It needs to be said, again, again, again and again, over and over and over and over: Rape is not SEX. Rape is POWER.

    You can be an 80 year old in your pension flat and be raped. You can be a one year old baby in your cot and be raped. You can be a teacher in your 50s working in your classroom at night and be raped. You can be left alone by your friends, drunk, walking home and be raped. What do all of these survivors of rape have in common? It's not that they're women- for not in any of these circumstances did I mention the gender of the person attacked, or what they were wearing, or their sexual preference, their sexual history, or how they were supposedly 'open'.

    People who have been raped have one definite thing in common, and that is that someone has perpetrated a crime against them, and that crime is rape.

  2. Brilliant post! I totally agree. How often do we have to repeat the mantra that no woman asks to be raped before it fucking sinks in! And as a side-note I've found it interesting how headlines about this have changed from "missing mother" to "missing escort" very quickly. It's bullshit. In a lot of these cases I feel like the message is subtly put out there that she doesn't matter that much because she's an escort. I really hope this woman is OK and no harm has come to her.

  3. In a tragic update; Carmen was found dead.
    Her body had been disposed of in several different containers in concrete, left in Auckland's Waitakere ranges.
    Her ex partner and father of her son is under trial for her death and he has remained in prison without applying for bail while his new partner gave birth to thier child.
    Carmen's son remains in the custody of extended family.
    The new zealand news industry finally started using the 'nice' photo of carmen healthy and tidy with her son when her body was found and they had a bad guy to pin it on.


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