Group marches in support of rape victims

Group marches in support of rape victims

With quiet steps, they hoped to make a statement. Dozens marched to New Orleans City Hall Saturday morning, some carrying signs or wearing tape across their mouths.

The group calls themselves Voices for the Silenced and their message grows louder every day.

"At our very first meeting, we had over 50 people that showed up," says organizer Laura Hope. "And it was only two days notice for it and it was in a kind of hard to find location and we were amazed by the people that came from the community just based on a Facebook posting saying, hey does anybody want to help us do something about this?"

Hope and Erin Dupuis organized Voices for the Silenced after the New Orleans Inspector General released an audit of NOPDs Special Victims Unit in November.

Investigators with the IG's office reviewed more than 1200 complaints of possible sex crimes from 2011 to 2013.

The audit found 840 of those calls were classified as miscellaneous, meaning no report was ever written.

Of the sexual assault reports police did write from 2011 to 2013, the Inspector General says detectives didn't follow up on 60% of them.

NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says five detectives cited in the IG report have been reassigned to desk duty as the department conducts an internal review.

Members of Voices for the Silenced called for an external investigation of NOPD's handling of sexual assault cases.

"If a review reveals misconduct or negligence, the officers and their supervisors need to be fired and lose their pensions," says Hope.

Ali Duffey says she survived a brutal rape years ago in New Zealand. That experience led her to help victims here in New Orleans.

"To think that some of the people that I have been in that room supporting, whose lives have been shattered, have been discounted in that way, it's just heartbreaking," she says. "On the other hand, I feel optimistic that now change is afoot."

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