Ah hindsight, its wicked isn’t it, especially when it comes to relationships. What feels like an exciting, romantic gesture when you’re together, suddenly looks a little bit weird and creepy when it all falls apart (am assuming that Katie Holmes knows how that feels this morning). So how does it feel when you read about potentially systemic abuse by any number of police officers and realise that, while not abusive, your previous relationship with a policeman was littered with the same behaviours?
I experienced firsthand (and let me be very clear on this) in a non-abusive relationship with a policeman, the following:
- Flowers sent to my work address which I had never given him; when challenged, he shrugged and said “I’m a detective”
- I don’t believe I ever gave him my home address and yet he knew it
- After we split, which was his decision, he continued to email and text – even after repeated requests to stop
- He promised to delete my contact details and then contacted me again – his explanation for how he found my contact details was weak and now feels suspicious
- He had serious anger control issues, never with me, but it was very close to the surface
- I haven’t heard from him since February, the last time he got in contact he sent a message which was deliberately written as if it was part of an ongoing conversation to (I believe) disguise the fact it was him and lead me to engage; I am constantly waiting for the next message
I know of other women who have had experiences with the police and “romance”, scarily similar to mine. As a result, my BFF and I have a rule about not dating policemen; when she got chatting to one in a bar, she told him about this rule in jest and he totally lost it at her – point proven?
There are the extreme cases, such as that of Stephen Mitchell who has quite rightly been jailed for life. But beneath that it looks like there is a culture of abuse of authority and betrayal of trust. It appears that police officers are seeking out the vulnerable for their own sexual needs.
I’ve made this point before, but I think it’s important; sometimes it’s the casual, everyday stuff that is the key signifier. A police officer feels comfortable seeking out contact details as part of his dating strategy because there is a culture in which that is the “done thing”. To abuse your position with good intentions, doesn’t mean you haven’t abused your position. To do so with such casual disregard for the other person’s feelings is downright terrifying.
Now here’s the thing, I’m a strong, confident woman who may have got swept up in the sexy policeman’s antics and maybe it took me too long to see the light, but I got there. But if I were vulnerable, if I had met him because he was investigating a crime that happened to me, would I be able to see him as anything but my saviour?
So hindsight, brilliant isn’t it… I’m off for a shower to wash away the feeling that I have been slightly violated.
The Guardian report is here http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/29/guardian-investigation-abuse-power-police.