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Houston Breakthrough 1978-02
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Houston Breakthrough 1978-02 - Page 4. February 1978. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 27, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2254/show/2233.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(February 1978). Houston Breakthrough 1978-02 - Page 4. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2254/show/2233

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1978-02 - Page 4, February 1978, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 27, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2254/show/2233.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Compound Item Description
Title Houston Breakthrough 1978-02
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date February 1978
Description Vol. 3 No. 1
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 25 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 4
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_537d.jpg
Transcript Rape: media vs. police The right to be informed second in a series By Carol Bartholdi During 1977, there were 1,080 reported rapes in Houston; more than twice the number reported in 1976. Crime Analyst Gary Nathanson of the Houston Police Department estimated that there was one rape every eight hours. These figures are conservative because the police department estimates are based on reported rapes. They also estimate that only 40 per cent are reported. (The FBI says that only 10 per cent of rapes are reported.) If the rape rate is so high, why do we read so little about it in daily newspapers? Why do the local television and radio station give us the details of car accidents, fires and murders, but seldom report on the high incidence of rape? "There are so many, one by itself isn't really news unless circumstances make it so," said Phil Hevner, a police beat reporter for the Houston Post. "There are too many," said Christy Drennan, police reporter for the Houston Chronicle. "I could spend every day down at rape squad. Usually when someone commits a long series, then we'll report on it. There must be an added element." "One poor woman getting raped is not a news story," said Mike Capps of KPRC television news. "In my way of thinking, it is the single hardest story to cover as far as t.v. is concerned." Capps stressed that the biggest concern is for the victims of rape. When a story is written about a rape case, the name and address of the woman are not published. Rape is the only crime in which the identity of the victim is concealed. "There is so much emotion involved," Capps said. "It is seldom that a reporter has reason or occasion to speak to a rape victim," said Hevner, "because most are not anxious to talk to the media." Women often do not report rapes and would like to avoid the media because they do not want their friends and people they work with to know what happened. Some want to avoid the ordeal of a trial, and fear prying in to their personal lives. Sometimes the attacker was a family friend or someone they work with, and therefore they would like to avoid publicity. The media show an "awareness of the sensationalism that can be in stories about rape," said Linda Cryer, director of the Rape Treatment and Prevention Center. "If the coverage is not careful, and extensive details are published, it would preclude any reporting of rape by other victims." While the media do try to protect the identity of women who have been raped, they also feel a certain responsibility to report certain rapes to the community. "You get back to the old conflict," said Judd Mcllvain, reporter for Channel 11 news. "The people's right to know and to be cautious and protect themselves and the police department wanting you to hold off on reporting so they have a better chance to catch the guy." Mcllvain said, the reporters hold back on certain stories but that a series of rape incidents creates a special situation. "People have the right to know if the rumors are true or not," he said. logo of Houston Rape Crisis Coalition "Rape should be publicized and politicized in Houston because it is not being investigated well enough." —Gail Padgett, co-director Houston Rape Crisis Coalition Mcllvain recently broadcast a story about a series of seven rapes believed to be committed by the same person. The police were against any publicity about the rapes. Mcllvain said he went to Montrose, to the area where these rapes had been committed and asked a young woman who was walking alone if she was aware of the rapes. "She had no idea it was going on," Mcllvain said. "The rapist would have to be pretty naive to think the police do not know anything about him-that no one had reported the rapes." Most reporters feel that the people of the community have a right to know certain details of a crime so that they may take precautions. If they do not know that a rapist is operating in a certain area, they might not avoid that area or be cautious. This attitude often comes into direct conflict with the police desire to keep details of a pattern quiet, so that they may predict certain things about the next crime and try to capture the man before he can commit another rape. "They ask us not to print something every day," said Drennan. "They think every crook in town reads the Chronicle. I'm told that every single day." "Where you have a series that appears to be done by the same person, the police department is in a dilemma. You want to tell everyone so that all are forewarned, but if you do you take the chance that the person will disappear for a while and surface later," said Vic Dris- coll, Assistant District Attorney and a board member of the Houston Rape Crisis Coalition. Mcllvain said Lt. Larry Earls of rape detail believes the press did have a negative effect on at least one rape investigation in recent years. The press published reports of a rapist who ran into the cars of women who were driving alone. When the women stopped to exchange insurance company names with the man he attacked and raped them. After these attacks were publicized the man stopped. However, some time later a rapist with a similar modus operandi appeared in Dallas. Mcllvain said reports on* the "beer- belly rapist" had one effect, though the rapes continued. "He went on a diet." Gail Padgett, co-director of the Houston Rape Crisis Coalition, said the issue of rape* should be publicized and politicized in Houston, because it is not being investigated well enough. "The police have been telling us they do not have enough people to investigate rapes." Padgett said she was at the police department recently speaking to one of the detectives on rape detail Two police officers approached them, carrying a pair of blue jeans. The zipper of the jeans was covered with dried blood. They were found at the scene of a rape in Montrose. One of the officers suggested that they should have been examining the scenes of this series of rapes. "The jeans had been there several weeks and no one had been back since," Padgett said. "I see the ever-rising rape rate as a bad thing against the police department, since it is the only major crime that is rising so much. Why shouldn't efforts be concentrated on it? "The media have not latched on to this monstrously increasing rape rate. It is still considered a woman's problem rather than a community problem." Padgett says it is a question of priorities. "Which of the city problems will get money? Rape will not get the money unless we can make a ruckus about it." Padgett said Mayor Jim McConn's firing of the women's advocate has placed the burden of representing women's views on the women employed by the city government. The Rape Prevention and Treatment Center is a city program, and therefore its director,. Linda Cryer, is in a prime position to represent this concern of women, she said. "The city should be concerned with the prevention of rape, and should put more interest into such measures. If rape were more of a political issue, it could produce more staff and more money devoted to it," she said. The Houston Rape Crisis Coalition, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, also could be of help, Padgett said. Its members, besides operating a hot line, have spoken to groups of women at many companies, schools and city departments in Houston. It now is planning a seminar about rape for employees of SETEC, a large security firm which protects Galleria and all Gerald Hines properties in Houston. Carolyn Craven, a professional television journalist, is one person who has gone to the media with the story of what happens to a woman who has been raped. Craven is a television reporter in San Francisco. She reported on a series of 60 rapes believed to be committed by the same man in the Bay Area. Last month, this man sought her out, broke into her home and raped her. Craven, unlike most rape victims, is not shunning the media. Jan. 30 she appeared on ABC's Good Morning, America program to speak about rape. She also wrote a story about her experience and the outrage, anger, guilt and shame a woman feels after being raped. This story was published in newspapers across the country. Craven said she is using television as her weapon to help stop rape. She wants to encourage every woman who is raped to report the crime to the police. "This is the only way to stop it," she said, "to report it and get those men arrested for the crime." HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH February 1978 Page 3