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Miffed Miami U. students say police department tweet belittles sexual assault victims

A tweet put out by the Oxford, Ohio Police Department angered some in the Miami University community as they claim it demonstrates the department doesn’t believe reports of sexual assault.

The OPD, forgetting that we now live in a post-Brett Kavanaugh-Supreme Court-hearings era culture, tweeted out on November 24 “There’s actually three sides to every story…his, hers and the police report.”

OPD Chief John Jones says the department’s social media team did not consider the sentence “a reference to sexual assault.” According to The Miami Student, Jones claims the tweet merely was a comment about police finding themselves in situations with “two disputing parties and somewhere in the middle lies the truth.”

Nevertheless, Miami senior Sarah Siegel said the tweet was “really disappointing” and “very demeaning” to sexual assault survivors, and that it doesn’t matter what the OPD intended.

“Intentions [are] different from impact, and even if you don’t intend for something to be taken a certain way – if the impact is that it’s taken a certain way, that’s still the effect that the tweet has, and thus they need to recognize that and apologize,” she said.

From the story:

Siegel expressed her concerns to Jones when he came to speak at the Associated Student Government (ASG) meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4. She told Jones how she has friends who are scared to report sexual assaults and feel they cannot trust the police because of this tweet. …

Jones heard from Siegel and other ASG senators and then spoke with OPD’s social media team, which is led by Lt. Lara Fening. Eventually, they released a statement on Monday, Dec. 10, in response to the senators’ concerns.

“One of our recent tweets caused some misunderstanding with some of our followers,” OPD wrote. “We acknowledge that this tweet was interpreted differently than it was intended, and it was certainly not our intention to offend anyone….We strive to treat sexual assault survivors and all victims of crime with compassion and dignity while professionally investigating their report.”

Despite the apology, some students are not satisfied.

“I think they handled it really poorly,” Kenny Halt, a senior political science and urban and regional planning major, said. “They waited two weeks to address it and put out a statement where they didn’t even really apologize; they were just like ‘I’m sorry that you misunderstood what we meant.’”

Despite the skepticism, Chief Jones said his department handles sexual assault cases properly and that its commitment to assisting those affected by such crimes “remains strong.”

Read the full article.

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