Letter from Roxcy Bolton to Sheriff E. Wilson Purdy, 1973

Letter from Roxcy Bolton to Sheriff E. Wilson Purdy, 1973

Transcript

Roxcy Bolton
1302 Alhambra Circle
Coral Gables, Florida 33134

October 10, 1973

E. Wilson Purdy,
Sheriff and Director of Public Safety
Public Safety Building
1320 N. W. 14th Street
Miami, Florida

Dear Mr. Purdy:
Please know concerned women appreciate your consideration in meeting with us on August 29, 1973 to discuss crimes of rape against women in this community. The fact that the lines of communication are open between feminists and your office is a sign of hope, a beginning to change attitudes toward one of the most serious crimes committed in this country. Police officers must re-evaluate their thinking in regard to rape. There is only one issue - the woman was raped - her body was invaded!!
The issue is the same as if you, Sheriff Purdy, were beaten in your home by an intruder because you forgot to lock the door - you wouldn't be grilled as to why you didn't lock your door. The focus would be, and rightly so, to apprehend the person responsible for invading your home. A man robbed and beaten in downtown Miami at 11:00 p.m. does not have to explain why he was there - a woman must always explain and prove her innocence when raped. Why? Because the prevailing male attitude is rather cavalier toward rape.
I recall your shocking observation that you didn't think a rapist could have an erection - you see this is the very kind of attitude that allows rape to run rampant in this country. This is also why over 50% of the rapes committed in this country are disqualified. Disqualifying rapes is one of the things I want this committee to deal with. Ms. Melinda Croft,


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Roxcy Bolton
1302 Alhambra Circle
Coral Gables, Florida 33134

October 10, 1973

E. Wilson Purdy,
Sheriff and Director of Public Safety
Public Safety Building
1320 N. W. 14th Street
Miami, Florida

Dear Mr. Purdy:
Please know concerned women appreciate your consideration in meeting with us on August 29, 1973 to discuss crimes of rape against women in this community. The fact that the lines of communication are open between feminists and your office is a sign of hope, a beginning to change attitudes toward one of the most serious crimes committed in this country. Police officers must re-evaluate their thinking in regard to rape. There is only one issue - the woman was raped - her body was invaded!!
The issue is the same as if you, Sheriff Purdy, were beaten in your home by an intruder because you forgot to lock the door - you wouldn't be grilled as to why you didn't lock your door. The focus would be, and rightly so, to apprehend the person responsible for invading your home. A man robbed and beaten in downtown Miami at 11:00 p.m. does not have to explain why he was there - a woman must always explain and prove her innocence when raped. Why? Because the prevailing male attitude is rather cavalier toward rape.
I recall your shocking observation that you didn't think a rapist could have an erection - you see this is the very kind of attitude that allows rape to run rampant in this country. This is also why over 50% of the rapes committed in this country are disqualified. Disqualifying rapes is one of the things I want this committee to deal with. Ms. Melinda Croft,

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October 10, 1973
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past president of the American Association of University Women, Miami Beach, will cover this subject in some detail. Ms. Croft, is a young woman not only concerned about the educated woman, but the woman on the streets of Brownsville and women in all walks of life. Disqualifying rapes is a way of bringing crime figures down.
Police officers can no longer say they know best how to deal with rape. Rape concerns every woman's body. And we intend to say how it is best for you to deal with this crime.
Mr. Purdy, I have asked Mr. Ray Goode to consider setting up Rape Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The purpose of such a center would be to send a woman who has been raped directly to the center - not to be quizzed by police officers on the scene or at the police station. I asked your support for such a center.
I also think rape cases should be heard in a closed door court room. Defense attorneys enjoy an audience to hear their skill in trying to break a woman that has been raped. Defense attorney XYZ says to the judge and for the benefit of the audience and jury - the distinguished Sheriff of Dade County has said - a rapist cannot have an erection. With that kind of ammunition, defense attorney XYZ is well on his way to winning his case.
So, Mr. Director, we need your help and understanding of what we're trying to change. At the root of it all is -attitude and habit.
I ask for you support of the Rape Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Also your endorsement of rape cases being heard behind closed doors.

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October 10, 1973
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Your willingness to allow Ms. Croft, Representative Cherry and Dr. Householder to review all unfounded rape cases would be a signal you are willing to deal seriously with this crucial matter.

With best wishes for justice for all, including women -

Sincerely,
ROXCY Bolton
RB:jm

cc: Mr. Larry Vardell
Dr. Ruth Householder

Source

State Archives of Florida: Collection M94-1, Box 02, Folder 41

Description

Letter from Roxcy Bolton to Dade County Sheriff E. Wilson Purdy regarding crimes of rape.