Three young men in Orange County videotaped themselves raping an unconscious 16 year old, and then left the video in a rented beach house. Because they were extremely wealthy, they were able to hire a lawyer who after three years of slandering and harassing the victim, got them off with only a conviction on sexual assault. Now the victim is suing the lawyer for harassment, slander, and libel. The lawyer responded by calling her “trash” and said “What I did to Jane Doe in the criminal case was child’s play compared to what I can do to her in a civil case.”
One of Hugo’s readers, Catty, has a connection to Jane Doe’s legal team and is collecting emails of support. Catty’s address is ihiroeATyahooDOTcom, and letters should be addressed to “Jane Doe”; they will be printed and sent to her attorney’s office. Here’s mine:
Dear Ms Doe,
I write to thank you for your courage and determination. In standing firm against your assailants (in which category I include their counsel) you are forging a path for all the other survivors of violence who will, as a matter of unhappy certainty, come after you. By refusing to be intimidated into giving up your demand for justice, you are bringing a spotlight to bear on the flaws in our legal system behind which the perpetrators of sexual violence so often shelter. I wish you success in your fight, and in all things. I hope it helps to hear from one of your supporters; you should know that we are many, and you are a hero to us.
Jane Doe is nineteen years old, people. She’s already endured three years of horror (to say nothing of the initial assault), and she’s just put herself in for another long stay in the emotional meatgrinder. I can’t know her mind, but whatever her reasons she is doing the right, the incredibly brave, thing.
If you’re at all like me, you try to do your part as a reasonable human being, but it’s easy to feel that your donations are drops in an ocean and your letters go straight to /dev/null — well, not this time. This time there’s a human being on the other end; she’s been through hell and she’s looking down the barrel of worse, she must be tired and frightened, and I bet she’d like to hear from you — just to be reminded that she’s not entirely alone. This is one case in which the much-hyped blogosphere can do some real good; please write, and if you have a blog please spread this story.
Finally, if anyone knows anything about a legal defense fund, please send me details.