I run two rape crisis and treatment centers in southern California. I would like to think that Jane's treatment by police was just a Canadian problem, or a problem that resolved as we moved into the new millennium. Unfortunately, that is not true. While there are enlightened police agencies, and enlightened officers within other agencies, law enforcement and court response to rape survivors in 2003 is far less than ideal. If a woman is not beaten, battered, or bruised, the "injury" to her is viewed as minimal. Heaven forbid that she is raped by someone she knew. In that case, it is most certainly her own fault. We are fighting a long, slow uphill battle both for the compassionate treatment of sexual assault survivors in the criminal justice system, and for the ultimate end of sexual abuse of women and children in American society. Jane Doe's courage and commitment have contributed towards improvement in the treatment of survivors. If we cannot convince law enforcement officers and administrators to treat survivors with respect, fairness and caring because it is the RIGHT thing to do, perhaps we can convince them through their pocketbooks.
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