Lauren DiGioia, Victim Of Sexual Assault In Zuccotti Park, Criticizes NYPD's Handling Of #OWS Crime
A day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg lambasted demonstrators in Zuccotti Park for their self-policing methods, Lauren DiGioia, the 26-year-old woman who was the victim of sexual assualt in early October, was spotted at the Occupy Wall Street protest carrying a sign that read, "I was more victimized by the NYPD who handled my sexual assault case than I was by the assaulter."
DiGioia told The Wall Street Journal she went to sleep on her first night in the park and awoke to find Dave Park, 27, of Connecticut, groping her. She eventually reported Park to the police, who arrested him but says cops weren't very helpful.
[DiGioia] said police kept her waiting for hours, and told her it was her fault for sleeping outside.
"I'm a perfect example of somebody who went through the process. I followed all the steps of the law, and I felt victimized by it. I felt like I was a criminal, too," DiGioia said.
"Most of us feel the police are not here to help us at all. They are getting paid to baby-sit," she said. "I don't blame women for not wanting to come forward."
On Thursday Bloomberg said that protesters should always come forward and report crimes to the police, and decried protesters' "de-escalation" methods of encircling perps and shaming them before kicking them out of the park.
"If this is in fact happening -- and it's very hard to get good information -- it is despicable, and I think it is outrageous," Bloomberg said. "It really allows the criminal to strike again, making all of us less safe."
On Tuesday, a 26-year-old man named Tonye Iketubosin from Crown Heights was arrested for allegedly raping an 18-year-old woman in a tent in Zuccotti Park. Iketubosin has also been connected to the alleged sexual assault of a 17-year-old female on October 24th.
Like DiGioia, neither women immediately reported the attacks.
DiGioia and other women have been posting signs in the park with photos of people suspected of sexual assault. "This is not a shelter, or a soup kitchen," she told The Journal. "We can't be a haven for rape and assault."