Jane Doe, the 1986 rape victim who successfully sued the Metro Toronto Police for negligence, speaks at York Jan. 19 about her legal battle.
Doe (who uses the generic name to remain anonymous) was the fifth victim of the "balcony rapist" in July 1986. When she discovered the police anticipated more attacks but chose not to warn women, she sued them for negligence and for charter violation in the investigation of her rape. She won – 12 years later.
Madame Justice Jean MacFarland of Ontario Court, general division, agreed that Doe had been used as "bait" to catch the serial rapist. In her 1998 ruling, MacFarland also acknowledged that the police investigation of the rapes, particularly the failure to warn, "was motivated and informed by the adherence to rape myths as well as sexist stereotypical reasoning about rape, about women and about women who are raped. The plaintiff therefore has been discriminated against by reason of her gender and as a result the plaintiff’s rights to equal protection and equal benefit of the law were compromised." The judge ordered the Toronto police to pay Doe $220,000.
Shortly after the decision, Chatelaine named Jane Doe Woman of the Year in January 1999. Her groundbreaking story has been made into a 2002 CBC movie The Many Trials of One Jane Doe and in 2003 Doe published The Story of Jane Doe: A Book About Rape.
The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Support Line (SASSL) at York has invited Doe to speak to the York community on Friday, Jan. 19, from noon to 2pm in the Robert McEwen Auditorium, W141 Seymour Schulich Building.
SASSL is a student-run service on campus that takes an active and cooperative role in trying to protect, inform and aid all York community members about sexual assault. For more information, contact SASSL by phone at ext. 40345, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at B449, York Student Centre.