Loyola professors organize “Silent March for 1,111”

Alex Kennon, Managing Editor

Two Loyola professors travelled to City Hall the morning before Thanksgiving to apply for a permit to hold a demonstration of protest on the streets of New Orleans.

Theatre Arts Professor Laura Hope and Psychology Professor Erin Dupuis, outraged by the inspector general’s recent reports describing NOPD’s lack of proper investigation into sex crime and child abuse cases, are organizing a citywide protest called the “Silent March for the 1,111”.

According to Hope, the number 1,111 represents the total number of cases outlined in the report that went without proper investigation.

“In a three-year period, 840 rapes were basically ignored, and 271 were not properly investigated. Add those two numbers together and you realized that 1,111 victims went without justice,” Hope said. “Basic humanity and decency requires the citizens of our city to stand up and say that this is unacceptable and to demand change.”
The march will begin on Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. at the First District police station and travel to City Hall, where a rally in support of the survivors and demanding change will be held.

One survivor who has joined forces with Hope and Dupuis to make the demonstration as effective as possible is Maria Treme, the woman who awoke with a stolen car and an unfamiliar bottle of lubricant near her bed the morning after she believes she was drugged and raped at The Country Club in the Marigny.

“I was very happy when Laura contacted me with their rally details. I feel like I can get plenty of warm bodies out there, but have never organized anything like this before, and have learned to ask when I need help,” Treme said.

Treme said that NOPD did not take her to the hospital to get a rape kit until late the following night, and that she and her lawyer have still not heard back about DNA results or whether video from the parking lot where her car was found.

“They just seem to have had a sloppy free for all investigation policy and at this point don’t know how to even use common sense,” Treme said.

While Treme says she is heartened to hear that NOPD is finally working to develop a protocol to handle sex crime cases, Hope said that this is only one of the many steps NOPD needs to take to remedy their behavior and restore the community’s faith.

“This is not just a case of a few rogue officers not doing their job. This is a systemic cancer within the NOPD and it needs to be dealt with as such,” Hope said.

The primary goal of the march, according to Hope and Dupuis, is a full-fledged external investigation of how NOPD handles sex crimes and a complete overhaul of their current system.

“We also want our city government and the NOPD to know that the citizens of New Orleans care about sexual assault and we demand better,” Dupuis said.

Hope said that anyone can look to rape statistics, particularly on college campuses, and realize that this is an issue that affects all of us and that it is our responsibility to stand up for change.

“When you think about the numbers, you realize that whether you have a conscious knowledge of it or not, you absolutely do know somebody in the city of New Orleans who has been raped,” Hope said. “On those grounds, it should be a very personal issue for all of us to make sure the people we care about are treated properly by the police and that they see justice.”

Though Hope and Dupuis’ Facebook group about the march currently has 389 members, they hope to have a much larger turn out on Dec. 13.

Treme said that people who accept NOPD’s behavior as what is expected is damaging to the New Orleans community.
“I really think if we all join together and raise our voices we can be part of something that will literally change our world here.”

Hope and Dupuis anticipate the permit to cost at least $400, and have set up a fundraising site at GoFundMe.

“We can and will make a difference,” Treme said. “We have to.”