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Shrouded in Silence

with Andrea J. Ritchie

In the midst of a national reckoning around the violence of policing, and a national conversation about sexual assault prompted by #MeToo and the ‘me, too.’ movement launched by Tarana Burke, sexual violence by law enforcement officers—including local and state police, ICE agents and Border Patrol, school “resource” officers, federal law enforcement agents, probation and parole officers—remains shrouded in silence. Survivors of police sexual violence are rarely heard from or discussed in either conversation, and their experiences generally do not drive organizing and advocacy in either context.

This report, in conjunction with an accompanying curriculum (Breaking the Silence) for sexual assault service providers, is intended to contribute to breaking this silence, to summarize what we know about sexual violence by law enforcement officers, and to offer concrete steps toward the prevention of police sexual violence and increased safety, support, and opportunities for healing for survivors. For more information and a more detailed analysis of police sexual violence, see Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color (excerpts available at
Andrea J. Ritchie (she/any) is a Black lesbian immigrant police misconduct attorney and organizer whose writing, litigation, and advocacy has focused on policing and criminalization of women and LGBT people of color for the past two decades. She is the co-founder of, most recently, Interrupting Criminalization, and the author of many books, including "Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color" (Beacon Press 2017).


Shrouded in Silence: Police Sexual Violence: What We Know & What Can We Do About It (Report)

Breaking the Silence: Supporting Survivors of Police Sexual Violence (Curriculum)

Graphic Notes

The Missing Story of #MeToo Virtual Teach-In (Video)