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Dutch Police Complicit in Psychological Abuse of Rape Victims

The Netherlands is known for their famous painters and windmills. There's a dark side to 'Holland' though, the name most people use to refer to this country.

Yesterday I found out I'm not the only victim of police failure and mistreatment in The Netherlands in a rape case. The police in Europe, specifically in the province of Limburg in the Netherlands, is complicit in not believing victims of rape and the retraumatization of victims of rape, which both is psychological abuse and a violation of human rights, specifically Article 5:

Article 5 of the Declaration of Human Rights:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

In an investigation article from August 2018, Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant exposed how a Dutch rape victim was mistreated by the police in Limburg. Below, a rough translation of some of the most important parts mentioned in the article:

The police in Limburg have made apologies to a woman who was raped in December 2016 by a TBS-patient (prison plus detention under a hospital order.) The then 21-year-old woman was heavily pressured by two sex detectives who did not believe her. Three months later showed that there was a DNA match with the TBS’er, who during the rape was on unaccompanied leave. The family was initially asked to keep it quiet.

(...)

The victim, the 23-year-old Susanne who tells her story in the Volkskrant on Saturday, was on her way from her work in Venray to her parents’ home near Oostrum on 9 December 2016 when she was threatened and raped by an unknown man. Once at home she immediately turned to the police, but the man had already disappeared.

(...)

In the interrogations, according to the transcription, the vice detectives asked conspicuous questions to the victim. They asked, “What kind of experience do you have with blow jobs?” And “Can you give an example? How did your gag reflex look?” The detectives also emphasized time and time again that the report could have unpleasant consequences for the young woman. “If it turns out that something is not right in your story, then I’m afraid that will have real consequences for you.” Why the police doubted her story is unknown.

(...)

The sperm samples analyzed by the NFI showed that there was a DNA match with Henk van der V. from the TBS clinic de Rooyse Wissel in Oostrum. Van der V., who had been in TBS for seventeen years, murdered the 16-year-old girl Ankie Blommaert in 2000 and was again convicted in 2005 for an attempted murder of a fellow TBS patient. He denies the rape, but on 17 July he was sentenced to three years in prison and again to tbs. He assaulted the woman during his four-hour unaccompanied leave.
— Volkskrant

Asking a victim of rape to talk about her experience with blowjobs and to re-enact how she was choking on a penis during the rape is literally asking a victim to relive her rape and is retraumatization, as Katie points out on Twitter. The moment a victim says she was raped through oral penetration, nothing justifies police officers asking the victim to show how she was choking. Especially not while telling that same victim, as a police officer, that she would be in trouble if it turns out she's lying. This is degrading and inhumane treatment of rape victims, and this is happening in the Netherlands.

After tweeting about this case myself, Dutch twitter user @Rianne_Vogels retweeted my tweet and shared details of the case and her own experience as well: In her rape case, the police in Limburg declined to investigate the man who raped her and another woman.

The pattern in these rape cases seems to be that victims of rape are not taken serious and their basic rights to be protected are violated. The cases mentioned in this article, including my own, were all cases handled by the Dutch police in Limburg.

Inconveniently for the Dutch police is that their failure in these cases are coming to surface after the much cited scandal called the 'Hoornse zedenzaak', where a Dutch victim of rape had to trace her own rapist before the police did anything in her case. If you know about my story, you probably know I traced down the location of the man who raped me too, after Dutch police in Limburg claimed they couldn't find the man who raped me. I recorded this police call, which you can hear below with subtitles. 

My own case is going to court in September 2018. I've been forced by my own government to have my case handled behind closed doors (again, a violation of human rights). Essentially court does this to protect the rapist, and also the police, given the amount of police failure that happened in my case, which will be presented in court as well. No witnesses except for my own lawyer are allowed in court to check on the government and the police to make sure they are handling my case correctly. Currently, my lawyer and I are trying to fight this decision. The above situation is legal silencing of rape victims and victims of police failure, by a supposedly democratic country in Europe, and shows how elements of fascism still exist in 2018.

When I started to record police conversations in my own case due to the police failure that kept happening (my list is long), the police officer I spoke to mocked me for recording police conversations. While I was pressing charges months before, the police mocked me too for not running away when the man who raped me threatened me and told me his friends were waiting to kill me. I didn't run away because I was terrified and because I knew the rapist was stronger than me. I just froze. The police made me feel like the threats and blackmail that happened to keep me silent, were my own fault.

Apparently the Dutch police really doesn't care about rape victims and their rights and neither do they care about protecting them.

Not only rape victims become secondary victims of police failure in the Netherlands though. Missing children and their families in the Netherlands also seem to become victim of police failure.

In the case of Orlando Boldewijn, the police only started looking for the boy a week after he disappeared, while his mother reported him missing. After the investigation started, Orlando was found dead

Police failure in the Netherlands has gained more media exposure the last few years. In an arrest in 2018, a mentally ill man from Waddingxveen died. During the violent arrest of Mitch Henriquez in 2015, Henriquez also died. See the video below which shows the Dutch police did not give medical attention to Henriquez after the violent arrest, dragging his body into a police van.

It's time The Netherlands is being called out for police failure in many different cases, specifically rape cases. The Dutch government should tighten laws which protects victims and secondary victims of police failure and give police more budget to handle crimes. If you would like to help address this, consider sharing this article with the Dutch Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Graus, or the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.



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