I was surprised after reading the article, “Student prompts rape case reforms,” on page A2 of the May 18 newspaper that a police department would look at the crime of rape as the Oakland, California, department does.

People wonder why a woman hesitates to report a rape and, after reading, the article it is clear that those in charge are not doing their job properly.

The person taking the information from the victim should never suggest that perhaps she is confusing “rough” sex with rape. They should treat the victim with compassion, understanding and with the advice that she is entitled to have a victim’s advocate present, just as they advise a person suspected of committing a crime that they are entitled to have an attorney present.

I am glad to see that, after the woman filed a complaint, the department changed the room to something more soothing than a standard interrogation room and added training sessions for officers conducting a rape investigation.

Perhaps they also should have all the people associated with the city’s Special Victims Section watch about 10 episodes of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” I think they will learn a lot about the right way to handle such things. Mariska Hargitay has the compassion and understanding necessary to put a woman at ease. Because of the show, Hargitay has gotten involved with rape victims’ rights and has done many public service commercials about the subject.

It is time that this crime is recognized as something serious so that the women involved will come forward and not get the feeling that “maybe I was at fault or encouraged it.” They are the victim, not the person committing the crime.

Dominick Rinaldi Sr., Skowhegan

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