My name is Jane Doe — or at least that’s what the judge asked the lawyers to call me. Nearly a year after I was sexually assaulted, the case finally went to trial, and I was known as Jane Doe. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that “more than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report [their] assault.” But I was one of the 10 percent who did, and this is my story.
Though my story is not the holy grail for sexual assault cases and I cannot speak for all survivors, I hope that this column will help give a voice to the many survivors who have felt defeated and silenced by this type of crime. I hope that I can use my voice to give perspective and encouragement to the many people affected by these situations.
Several recent rape cases have been highly publicized, most notably the convicted Brock Turner at Stanford University. That we have been hearing about them is a good thing: These cases happen all the time, and it’s time that we, as educated UC San Diego students, stop ignoring the problem simply because it’s uncomfortable. It happened to your fellow student. It’s happening to your fellow students.
However, UCSD has gotten itself into tricky situations when it comes to dealing with sexual assault allegations. In 2014, a student, Jane Roe, filed a complaint against another student, Joe Doe, for sexual misconduct. Doe was found responsible and appealed the decision. The original sanctions were increased. In 2015, Doe appealed the University’s decision to the California Superior Court, and UCSD countered with its own appeal. Though judges originally expressed frustration with the school’s procedures, they eventually ruled 3–0 in favor of UCSD. UCSD has been called a “kangaroo court” for its supposed mishandling of sexual assault cases, and I don’t necessarily disagree. There is always more that could be done to educate and prevent these situations from happening in the first place and ensure due process if they do. It is the University’s job to protect its students, and I believe that I was protected throughout the process. The criminal process, however, is much different from the administrative one, and I have experienced both.
The criminal process ended for me with a not-guilty verdict, the administrative one with a measly suspension. In the span of two years, I was raped, reported it, made frequent visits to the police department, had countless phone calls with the district attorney and repeated my story over and over. I was interviewed. I was cross-examined. I dedicated so much time to this incident for the case to be closed with a simple “not guilty.” But this experience wasn’t just time-consuming — it was life-consuming. It affected every aspect of my life, and I will take this experience with me everywhere I go.
My name is Jane Doe, and though the case has been closed for some, I’m not done talking.