Oregon woman raped by ex because police lacked funding to help her

If you’re going to go and get raped in Josephine County, Oregon, you should really try to schedule it for business hours, Monday-Friday. Otherwise, there’s nothing the police can do about it.

Last August, a woman called 911 because her abusive ex-boyfriend– who was wanted by the state for parole violations and had put her in the hospital just weeks before– was trying to break down her front door. She was told that due to budget cuts, the police had no one to send there to help her. The dispatcher transferred her to state police, who also told her they had no one to send, saying:

“You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away, or do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”

Sure. That works. Someone breaking down your door to attack you will usually just go away if you ask politely!

The boyfriend eventually broke down the door and ended up raping the woman and choking her half to death. He later pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sodomy.

This isn’t an anomaly in rural Oregon. Ever since the area has lost the millions of dollars in Federal funding they once received for their national forests, instances like this have been a common occurrence. While most areas pay for law enforcement through property taxes, national forests cannot be built on and therefore cannot be taxed, so without this money, they are basically screwed. Josephine County has laid off 23 of it’s 29 deputies, and limited them to 8 hour days, Monday through Friday.

To deal with this issue, County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson has suggested that victims of domestic violence move to areas with more adequate law enforcement. Because surely, saying “Hey, abusive husband! Let’s move to a different area so that the police can come the next time you beat my face in!” will be an effective tactic.

Yesterday, the county voted on a tax increase that would have helped to fund the police department. The increase would have raised the property taxes– currently the lowest in Oregon at 59 cents per $1,000 of property value– to $1.48 for the next three years. It was summarily rejected.

While that part is definitely on the Josephine County lawmakers, over 700 counties all over the country are struggling to make up for the revenue lost since the expiration of Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.