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Inside the PPB Sexual Assault Unit -Talking Beat

 
The one thing that is important for victims of sexual assault to know is that you're going to be heard and your voice is going to be powerful. Yes, we do like to arrest rapists, and that is a focal point of our unit, but the victim advocacy portion combined with an investigation, I think, is the best model. It's the most progressive model out there today." - Det. Daul

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Announcer:
Welcome to Talking Beat, the podcast for the Portland police Bureau. We're focusing on thoughtful conversations that we hope will inform and provide you with a small glimpse of work performed by Portland police officers, as well as issues affecting public safety in our city. Here's what's on today's show.

Detective Molly Daul:
The one thing that is important for victims of sexual assault to know is that you're going to be heard and your voice is going to be powerful. Yes, we do like to arrest rapists, and and that is a focal point of our unit, but the victim advocacy portion combined with an investigation, I think, is the best model. It's the most progressive model out there today.

Host:
Thanks for tuning in to today's show. We have a warning at the top of the show that this topic is sensitive and may not be appropriate for some of our listeners. We are talking about sexual assaults and the work that is done by our Sexual Assault Unit. I'm here with detective supervisor, Molly Daul, and victim advocate, Patricia Barrera. So, tell me about your unit and what you do.

Detective Molly Daul:
Our unit is comprised of about 10 detectives right now, and we have four embedded advocates in our unit. We're a pretty progressive unit, having embedded advocates, working side by side with the investigators.

Detective Molly Daul:
We respond to sexual assaults that occur between the ages of 14 and 64. Each year, in the city of Portland, about five to 700 sexual assaults are occurring. We are a victim-centered and a trauma-informed unit, and we treat victims holistically and we're heavy on the use of advocacy with our survivors.

Host:
So, I just want to clear something up. The victims that aren't in the age group that you talked about, who investigates those crimes?

Detective Molly Daul:
Our Family Services Division, our Child Abuse Team investigates assaults to victims under the age of 14, and then for victims over the age of 64 and other vulnerable adults, they go also to our Family Services Division to our Elder Crimes and Vulnerable Adult Unit.

Host:
So, Patricia, you're a victim advocate. Tell me a little bit about what you do and what a victim-centered approach is.

Patricia Barrera:
So, back in days prior, when a detective or a uniform officer was interviewing a crime victim, sometimes a crime victim would be unable to answer the questions, they would be confused, and then sometimes when a victim was initially interviewed by a uniform officer, and then later interviewed by a detective, the stories were different, and oftentimes a decision was made around that kind of behavior, or observing a crime victim who was laughing uncontrollably at the hospitals, certain behaviors that we have now come to learn through research and from victims speaking out and describing their experiences.

Patricia Barrera:
But neurobiology has become really important to help police bureaus across the country, across the world, really, understand that some of the behaviors, post-traumatic event really needs to be taken into account when having interviews with crime victims, and how to conduct the interviews. So the detectives are trained in that approach, a trauma-informed approach, and are very strategic in how they conduct their interviews. And I believe are more successful in their interviews because they're able to pull out information. They don't ask for a linear description of what took place. They're allowing the victim to speak, and speak on their pace, or on their time. And it really allows for a more fruitful investigation.

Patricia Barrera:
And also, with the victim centered approach, the Bureau has created this Victim Services Program, which, in 2019, is going to celebrate its 11th year, where they work alongside detectives and attend to those pieces that the crime victim is also experiencing. Because a detective is concerned about facts, information, gathering enough to conduct an investigation, and the victim is thinking, "My God, how am I going to get to work? I've been having nightmares. I'm throwing up." I mean, there's so many things that are happening to the crime victim that she needs a collaborative approach as she goes through the criminal justice system. And advocacy is a wonderful piece of that.

Patricia Barrera:
So, an advocate can work in partnership with a detective and address those equally pressing concerns for the crime victims: nightmares, headaches, the physical consequences of crime, while they are able to conduct their investigation. So the detective is able to move forward with the investigation because they're focusing on that, and then the advocates focus on the recovery and the resiliency of a survivor to build her life back up again after a traumatic event.

Detective Molly Daul:
And when we talk about being victim-centered, when a victim has been sexually assaulted and they go to the hospital, at that moment, they are in control and they make the decisions regarding what process they want to take. If they get to the hospital and they don't want to report, that is their decision. They can do an anonymous sexual assault kit.

Detective Molly Daul:
If they do want to report, then the next step would be contacted by our unit and an advocate or a detective, they get to manage what's best for them. If they don't want to proceed, there's no pressure for them to proceed. So, they are in control of the decision-making.

Detective Molly Daul:
And that's kind of the general term of being victim-centered, is they get to drive the bus. They are the directors. If they want or they don't want an investigation to proceed. If they just want advocacy now, and they're not feeling strong enough to go through the process of the criminal justice system, that's perfectly fine. We have the evidence, we have the kit, they can recontact us later on when they're feeling more empowered or more resilient. So, that's kind of a nutshell, victim-centered, as far as our unit goes. It's much more in depth from an advocacy level.

Patricia Barrera:
But I appreciate Molly making that point because when victims would say and are saying today, "I can't go through this right now. I can't talk to a detective right now." The impression for many victims of crime, whether accurate or not, was they were dismissed or "Oh, maybe it wasn't true anyway." When now, trauma-informed, knowing about the neurobiology and just frankly understanding that was such an overwhelming experience that a lot of people do need time to consider what their options are, I think that acceptance when they hear a detective saying that, when they hear an officer's saying, "It does not have to happen today. It doesn't have to happen next month."

Patricia Barrera:
That feeling of being supported and understanding that it doesn't have to happen immediately is really empowering for a crime victim. So I think that piece that Molly's bringing up has had, I think, a significant impact on our community, that crime victims feel supported and they don't feel guilty or feeling bad when they say, "You know what? I'm unable to do that right now. I am unable to do a full investigation and participate."

Patricia Barrera:
Because they must participate. They must attend grand jury. They have to have an extensive interview. There are things that, you know, they have to contribute to.

Host:
Yeah, let's talk about that. So let's just talk about calling 911 and what happens after that. Let's say that the victim does want to proceed.

Detective Molly Daul:
Okay. So, let's take it from the very beginning. A lot of people envision a sexual assault as, you know, some stranger jumping out of the bushes. And although, sadly, that does occur, it's really out-of-the-norm.

Detective Molly Daul:
A lot of our cases are historical, where they might be reporting a sexual assault that occurred a week prior, or a year, or even 10 years prior. But if it is within 120 hours or five days, the important first step is getting to the hospital and getting that sexual assault kit completed by a SANE nurse. And they're specifically trained to collect evidence from victims of sexual assault.

Detective Molly Daul:
So, the first important piece is getting to the hospital, contacting 911 if you do want to file a police report. If you don't want to file a police report, still do go to the hospital and get that evidence collected.

Detective Molly Daul:
And they used to be called Jane Doe kits, but as we know, male and females can be sexually assaulted, so now they're called anonymous kits. And you don't have to have police contact to get an anonymous kit collected. And that kit will go into evidence and it will remain there. It will not be destroyed, and it will be tested if the victim reengages when they're ready, or if they don't want to reengage. Like I said, they drive the bus.

Detective Molly Daul:
So if they do want to report, a uniform officer is going to respond and take a statement from the victim. And know that when the victim is at the hospital, they're going to have an advocate that's paged out so that they can go through the process of the exam, as well as the interview by a Portland police officer with an advocate present.

Detective Molly Daul:
After that, the report will be tunneled to our unit, and by the time it gets to our unit, then depending on the case, we'll have an advocate or a detective contact the victim sometimes to check in to see if there's been a safety plan enacted. If there's followup and evidence that needs to be collected, that's time-sensitive then an investigator will be prompt in doing that.

Detective Molly Daul:
But it's definitely not like the TV shows where this event occurred, and we'd go out, and we make this dynamic arrest, and people are thrown in jail. These are very unique. It's a unique genre of investigation where there's forensic testing, there's many, many interviews to take place. It's time-sensitive, but we also have to take certain steps to ensure that you have a proper case to present to the district attorney's office.

Host:
Why is there a delay?

Detective Molly Daul:
Because unlike SVU, DNA is not tested over commercial break. DNA can take months to be processed. And an investigation, these are ... They're not longterm, like maybe a homicide investigation, but are longer term where you have to a certain amount of statements and physical evidence in order to proceed, because most sexual assaults don't have witnesses.

Detective Molly Daul:
You have a victim and a suspect, and you have very little cooperation. So you rely heavily on the forensics. You rely heavily on statements from persons the victim told immediately after the assault. So, they're harder cases to work when you have two person's testimony. And when a lot of our cases are cases where a defendant would argue consent, those are very difficult cases to prove.

Host:
What's the statute of limitations on a sex crime?

Detective Molly Daul:
Oh, that's-

Patricia Barrera:
It's a whole book.

Detective Molly Daul:
It's a difficult ... You can't answer it. First, it was six years, then it was 12, then it mattered what year it occurred and how old the victim was. So it's dependent upon the crime itself, when it occurred, how old the victim was. So oftentimes we have to consult with the district attorney's office.

Host:
So if somebody is listening to this and they were a victim and they don't know ... Maybe they didn't get a kit done, but they still want to talk to somebody, what do they do?

Patricia Barrera:
Well, the Victim Services Program, the advocates, would love to speak with them and see what options are available. Almost immediately, of course, are resources to processing that, getting the healing from either the new memory of what had happened to them or the persistent memories of what had happened to them and how they could handle all of that. The grief and sadness, all that comes with having to finally accept, "Okay, that's what my teacher did to me. That's what happened."

Patricia Barrera:
And so I think, you know, providing the resources for recovery from that sort of experience is critical. But out of that conversation could possibly sometimes come a case. So that's really important.

Patricia Barrera:
And once an advocate starts listening and hearing elements that might actually trigger an investigation, that's when the advocate will go to our supervisor and say, "This is what she's explaining. She's kept the letters where he's admitted. She has other evidence." And then perhaps the case can be opened. So there's a potential. We just have to hear them describe what's going on.

Detective Molly Daul:
There's this lovely website called the Rose Project. If a victim doesn't want to talk to somebody in person or over the phone, there's email. There's all different kinds of ways to reach out to our unit and get the information that you want.

Detective Molly Daul:
And it doesn't mean that you are committed to file a report, but you can get the information that you need. And, as I told you, our embedded advocates are wonderful at what they do, and just by contacting us doesn't mean that you have to proceed in the criminal justice system, but resources will be available.

Host:
And the Rose Project is on the Portland Police Bureau's website, portlandpolice.com.

Host:
So, you mentioned, Molly, there are movies, there's headlines, there's a lot of things that talk about sex crimes and investigation. And not some that are so accurate. Talk a little bit about the barriers and some of the complexities of investigations that these shows or these headlines don't really discuss.

Detective Molly Daul:
Right. TV is TV, but I think what everybody is realizing now as well as the #MeToo movement is that it touches so many people. There's so many victims out there, and now we're in an environment where sexual assault is finally being addressed correctly. We have a mantra in our unit and it's called, "Start by believing." And that every case that comes up to our unit, we set aside any bias, judgment, victim-blaming, and we investigate each case the same.

Detective Molly Daul:
The media is good at drawing attention to stranger rapes or stranger sexual assaults, and those aren't anomaly. Most of our sexual assaults occur to people just like us in the room, and it's by an acquaintance or someone they just met. Those aren't the headlines that are featured on TV. It's a lot of marginalized victims, people that have barriers to housing, the mentally ill, the addicted. These are what our victims look like, and these are the type of victims that are being targeted by rapists because they're vulnerable. That is the bulk of our casework. And we know now by testing thousands of kits across the nation that it's these marginalized victims that are being repeatedly offended against.

Host:
Molly, is there a common factor you see and a lot of these sexual assault cases?

Detective Molly Daul:
We do see a lot of similar cases. When I talk about our victims, we're not blaming and we're not imposing any bias or placing blame upon their actions, but we do see alcohol as being a big factor in making our victims vulnerable to sexual assault. It's a big component in a lot of our cases where predators will actually seek out women who have been compromised, whether it's alcohol or drugs, and take advantage of their vulnerabilities when they're under those effects.

Host:
Say you go out, you just want to have a good time, and you're not thinking about, "The night might end in some horrific thing happening to you." So, what is something a girl or a guy can do to protect themselves?

Detective Molly Daul:
Basic advice that I give, you know, my kids as well as other friends of the family is, if you're going to go out and have a good time and you're going to drink or you're going to use drugs recreationally, have a buddy. Have someone that's sober, that's going to make good decisions, and go home with that buddy.

Detective Molly Daul:
People that you think are your friends or people that you meet, those are the people that are going to violate you, and that's what we see in our reports. So, have a buddy, protect your friends, make sure people get home. That would probably eliminate about half of our reports, taking care of each other when you're vulnerable.

Detective Molly Daul:
We're not passing judgment. Just because you drink or do drugs does not make it okay that someone sexually assaults you, but please do go out of your way and have a safety plan on how you're going to get home and who you're going to be with. And have a sober component to that night.

Patricia Barrera:
And I want to add to that piece about intoxication. I think how men can step up is to check each other. If one man is out with friends and he's totally blotto and he's connecting with a gal, maybe his friends should say, "You know what? Not tonight buddy, you are out of it."

Patricia Barrera:
I'm thinking about that movie, The 40 Year Old Virgin, where they took him ... The 40 year old virgin, they took him to a club and were encouraging him to find a drunk one to find. "Oh, she's not drunk enough." "Oh, she's too drunk," the woman was passed out on the couch at the bar. And I think we can do well to encourage our friends, if we are the sober one, to say, "Do not go home with that person. Do not leave. You have to stay here. Give me your keys."

Patricia Barrera:
There's all kinds of safety planning around intoxication that's available online to stay safe. But the buddy system that Molly is talking about is really powerful, both for potential victims, and for men potentially accused of committing a sex crime. If someone is so intoxicated, they're making judgements that perhaps they're forcing themselves on somebody and that was not their intention at all to rape somebody, but they were very sexually aggressive because they're intoxicated, and then the next thing you know they're behind bars.

Detective Molly Daul:
My buddy system is called, "Being an active bystander." And if that means going out and having that sober component to your group, is stepping in and being proactive. When you see someone that's overdone it or someone that's maybe crossing some personal boundaries, alcohol amplifies bad decisions. And that's probably my biggest advice is go out, party, and have a good time, but have a plan and go home safely.

Host:
Patricia, I'm really intrigued by your job because I think sometimes people are a little intimidated to talk to detectives and it seems like you have a real opportunity to connect with people. So tell me about your job and what you really like about it.

Patricia Barrera:
Victim advocacy is a fantastic opportunity to connect with folks who have experienced a traumatic event and are not sure what to think, where to go, or what to do. You know, some terrible thing happens to you and guess what? Life keeps rolling.

Patricia Barrera:
And so, to have an advocate by your side to say, "I'll find that out for you. Here's a phone number for that. Let's just sit and have coffee and talk about this," is such a relief. Knowing that they have someone who's going to walk through the criminal justice system with them, they're not alone.

Patricia Barrera:
And for a lot of people, they don't want their friends and family to know. So now, who's going to be with them? And so, it's very nice to have someone show up at the hospital that isn't mom, who really didn't want her dating that guy anyway, or finding out that she drinks alcohol. So it's nice to have victim advocacy because it's a person apart from friends and family that they can bounce ideas off of, get information to recovery resources, and help them explain how the process works, because suddenly, you're involved in a whole different arena where they're using lingo. You don't understand. What's this word, indictment? What's DNA? What's CODIS?

Patricia Barrera:
There's all these terms, and people are starting to come out of the woodwork and wanting to talk to you. What's the difference between a uniform officer and a detective? You know? So having somebody there walking with the survivor, explaining all of this, saying, "Just breathe. It's going to be a slow process and we're gonna get through it together." I consider it a privilege to be that person. I feel very honored to be a part of people's lives, to be addressing something extremely intimate, extremely painful. I take my job very seriously and I try to provide the best services I can so they are able to move beyond it.

Host:
What I liked about what you were saying earlier was that people have varying emotions. I think it's like a grief, and everybody handles their grief differently when somebody dies, and in a trauma event, everybody is going to handle that differently. Tell me a little bit more about that.

Patricia Barrera:
I think crime victims are often rendered speechless by this experience. It's such a shock. It's such a shock to the system when someone you've trusted, you've loved, would betray you like that, would violate you like that. It's such a disturbing experience. And so, helping a crime victim conceptualize that by giving them words to think about it and to discuss with them the fact that whatever they're thinking about and feeling is okay. It's okay.

Patricia Barrera:
And what's also interesting is crime victims will go all the way and hold somebody accountable judicially, where they're sentenced and sent to prison, and oftentimes crime victims remark that they felt like that was going to bring the closure to them and they realize the closure was wishing the crime never even took place.

Patricia Barrera:
And so, helping crime victims heal and recover and address all that they're feeling: Anger, fear, hope, all kinds of things that they'll apologize, that they'll feel bad, that they'll get help, the offender. It's really important for them to explore all those emotional states that experiencing your crime brings out.

Host:
Molly, let's go back to these sexual assault kits you mentioned earlier. There's been a lot of headlines about them. Let's first talk about why we had a backlog and what the police bureau did.

Detective Molly Daul:
Okay. In 2014, the Joyful Heart Foundation, they have been nationally a group that has been bringing to the attention of law enforcement across the nation the issue of backlogged or untested rape kits. And the Sex Crimes Unit decided to conduct an audit.

Detective Molly Daul:
I think that in the past, no one thought, "Well, we don't have untested kits. The kits that need to be tested are tested." And when we talk about kits that had not been tested back to 1985, those are kits that may have already been adjudicated, or they weren't tested because it wouldn't be probative because they're consensual partners, so the DNA wouldn't prove anything. Or a big portion are victims that maybe didn't want to proceed in an investigation. Economics had a lot to do with it. The crime lab, it costs a lot of money to test a kit. So if a case wasn't going to proceed, a kit wouldn't get tested.

Detective Molly Daul:
After the audit was done, we had 1,754 kits. We got a federal grant and created a work group with a DA, a forensic consultant, a dedicated advocate, investigators. And the District Attorney's office, they also received a grant. That grant paid for all of those kits to go to an outside lab, and the outside lab has tested every single one of those kits.

Detective Molly Daul:
We're done. Those kits have all been tested and now we're in the process of doing the investigations, doing the victim notifications. We'll not ever be in this position again, because in 2015, we became a full-submission agency where every single kit that is retrieved at a hospital will be sent to the lab. No discretion involved anymore from our jurisdiction. Therefore, they'll never be another topic of backlogged or untested kits.

Detective Molly Daul:
When we are addressing these 1,754 kits, we understand why some of the kits weren't tested, but part of the reason some of those kits weren't tested was a systemic failure of the criminal justice system for victims of sexual assault. And I think that we've come such a long way, now understanding more about sexual assault survivors, that we'll not be in that position again where a kit is left up to the discretion of the criminal justice system, whether it's tested or not.

Detective Molly Daul:
So what we've done and what will you continue to do with our SAKI victims is, first and foremost, apologize for their kit not being tested. Yes, the criminal justice system failed you, and now we're going to proceed better and we are going to try and make amends in treating you like you matter. And like that kit matters because it was part of you.

Detective Molly Daul:
That's how we want to proceed in these SAKI cases is we know that sexual assault crime clearance across the nation is only about 10%, so even if your case does not get to a prosecution level, we want to treat our victims more holistically now and we want to address our failures and make sure that they know now even though it's past due, that we're here for them.

Detective Molly Daul:
And you know, that advocacy portion being attached to the Portland Police Bureau is so vital now. We are the most effective unit that we've ever been now because of our embedded advocacy.

Host:
Molly, what do you think has been the result of testing all these kits?

Detective Molly Daul:
Well, when we talk about SAKI success, I think the biggest success is the work that Patricia does with our victims. You know, a lot of these SAKI cases were out of statute, so we can't proceed with them in the criminal justice system. But the victims are thanking Patricia. "Thank you. I thought people forgot about this. Thank you for reaching out to me. I still don't really want to do anything about it, but thank you for calling me." And that, I think, is our biggest success is that going back and talking to these victims and making them feel that they matter now.

Detective Molly Daul:
Yes, we just had our sixth indictment. We've had five convictions. These are multi-state offenders. They are serial sex offenders that have offended many, many victims. So, there's DNA out there that that we're harnessing in. And rapists are being held accountable. And it's important for the victims to know that, but more so, we're able to touch these victims, say, "We're sorry this happened to you." And that, I think, is the biggest impact that SAKI has had.

Patricia Barrera:
I want to agree, Molly, saying that my notification that we're reconsidering their case or taking a look at their case has had a significant impact on the crime victims. It has allowed them to reflect with me on the phone. We have a conversation about it and I think it's very a healing. I believe it's very healing to have that conversation with somebody who gets it, who is able to make affirming statements.

Patricia Barrera:
I also want to talk a little bit about Molly describing how the detective apologizes, and I too have apologized on behalf of the bureau, but when I see a crime victim come in to talk with a detective ... And the investigator and the detective who are assigned to the sexual assault kit initiative or male. To have a man apologize, and they mean it, it comes out, because they are sorry. To watch that ... Again, it's a privilege to watch that because I think it contributes to their healing significantly to have that acknowledgement.

Patricia Barrera:
And yes, not all of them have been able to go forward, but that was powerful. Simply the bureau taking a stand on this issue, conducting the audit to see if we had any kits, acknowledging how many kits, applying for a federal grant to have them all tested, and conducting the followup I think is going to have ramifications in our community.

Patricia Barrera:
And then the on-the-ground work of the notifications, affirming that, and compounding our commitment to addressing this crime is considerable.

Host:
So Molly, you have this DNA of these kits, what happens to that DNA?

Detective Molly Daul:
The outside lab, they'll test a kit, and if they find a profile, a DNA profile, that's viable in that kit, they're going to send it to our crime lab in Oregon. And Oregon is going to verify their work, and then if that DNA profile is robust enough, it'll get uploaded into our national database.

Detective Molly Daul:
And think of that as like a giant cloud that's over the United States, and it'll get loaded up into there, and then it will, as we say, "Spin." It will spin around and see if there's any matching profiles, whether it's a known person, or just another matching profile.

Detective Molly Daul:
When we talk about a CODIS hit, that means that a profile from that kit went up into that national database and it latched onto an identified person or a non-identified person, or maybe another piece of evidence. So that's what we talk about when we say we've got over 300 CODIS hits from our 1,700 kits. So, that's the kind of evidence that we're receiving daily. Know that SAKI is still ... We're still in the mix of it. It's not complete yet. Our project is not complete yet.

Patricia Barrera:
And CODIS, Molly mentions, it's an acronym. It stands for Combined DNA Index System. That was created by the FBI and it was only finalized and rolled out nationally in 1993. So we have to remember that it's 26 years old. It's a young database.

Patricia Barrera:
So there's definitely a commitment to swabbing anyone convicted of a felony. They should be swabbed before they go into any penal institution, or released. If they're in community corrections, they should be swabbed. So, the collection of DNA, what they call Lawfully-Owned DNA, which is folks convicted of felonies, is growing. But it's 26 years old. So it's a relatively new database.

Host:
If I think that I'm one of the owners of those kits, if I maybe was anonymous or I thought my kit was tested, and now I think it may be one of those, how do I go about learning about it?

Patricia Barrera:
The sex crimes unit created a website or a place on the Portland Police Bureaus' web page. It's called the Rose Project. We would definitely encourage people to visit that because we created a public service announcement. So you can see a video with with me, Molly, and our program coordinator, which is really cool. And we created a dedicated email: roseproject@portlandoregon.gov.

Patricia Barrera:
So you can email us if you believe that you had a crime committed against you, a report made, and a kit created. So roseproject@portlandoregon.gov. But we also created a dedicated phone line. So, The Rose Project phone line is (503) 823-0125. That's (503) 823-0125. And I staff that phone and the email as well. So, if a you write in or call up, I'll take as much information as you got and I'll follow up with it, and see what may have happened with your report and kit.

Host:
What do each of you want people to know about your jobs and what you do?

Patricia Barrera:
All of us are more than any kind of crime that happened to us. Sex crimes used to define us as dirty, low-value, useless and worthless. Women who were known to have been sexually victimized were not deemed worthy to be married. I mean, there was so many things, so many consequences, to victims of sex crimes in our communities.

Patricia Barrera:
And I think the #MeToo movement, and the long-standing feminist movement has contributed to a more comprehensive understanding of how women fall victim to a sex predator. And I think more and more people are understanding that anything that happens to us, any crime that happens to us, does not define us. And we are more than that. And if this has happened to you, you can recover from it. There's so many resources today.

Patricia Barrera:
The Portland Police Bureau offers a free self-defense class called Women Strength. They have also opened it to young boys and girls. So, I think self-defense increases a person's confidence as well as increases their ability to withstand an assault. So, I really encourage people to consider looking at our self-defense class also on the Portland Police Bureau's website.

Patricia Barrera:
And I also want to encourage them to reach out to the Portland Police Bureau and asked to speak with an advocate, because we would certainly love to answer any questions or concerns they may have because there's still a lot of shame and guilt around sex crimes, and we can tease that out with them and address some of the concerns that they have to see if filing report is something that they can do.

Patricia Barrera:
And so lastly, I would say that filing a report has always strongly encouraged. I think that's a really good idea when when you've been sexually assaulted. Holding that person accountable is important for them, but also for the community.

Detective Molly Daul:
The one thing that is important for victims of sexual assault to know is that you're going to be heard, and your voice is going to be powerful.

Detective Molly Daul:
Yes, we do like to arrest rapists, and that is a focal point of our unit, but the victim advocacy portion combined with an investigation, I think, is the best model. It's the most progressive model out there today.

Detective Molly Daul:
And because we're getting an increase in reporting of historical sexual assaults, we have a larger clientele to cater to, but we try to touch every victim that we can, whether it's with advocacy and an investigation. The bottom line is we're proceeding in our cases and we're working for the victims of sexual assault.

Host:
I appreciate both of you being here today. Thank you.

Patricia Barrera:
Thank you.

Detective Molly Daul:
Thank you.

Announcer:
Thanks for listening to the Talking Beat. Do you have a question for us? You can call and leave us a message on our dedicated voicemail line at (971) 339-8868, or send us an email to talkingbeat@portlandoregon.gov. If you've enjoyed this episode, please share it with your friends. More episodes can be found at our website, portlandoregon.gov/police/podcast.