SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – In December 2016, a brave female survivor stood in a courtroom before the man who raped her when she was 12-years-old and read the following victim impact statement:
I feel robbed of my childhood and experiences. There is a sense of damage I feel whenever I think about what has happened to me. Being a victim of rape makes me think I am weak. Some days I don’t want to do anything. It is crippling to wake up every day and have to face the world with this burden. I look at my family and I feel like a disappointment, I look at myself and I don’t know who I see. The amount of time that he gets in jail is not equal to the damage he has caused to myself and my family.
To celebrate the courage of this young girl, also known as Jane Doe for privacy reasons, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office created a 60-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) for sexual assault survivors.
The PSA is inspired by the words of the young survivor in case that was prosecuted by Lead Deputy District Attorney Kathy DiDonato.
“This young girl’s case shows how many of our victims suffer so much beyond just the physical aspects of the crime,” said DiDonato, who oversees the Family Violence Unit in the Victorville Division. “They are also forced to deal with mental anguish that can last a lifetime. If nothing else, I hope other victims in a similar situation will see this and feel empowered by the strength of Jane Doe who faced her accuser in court and chose to seek help.”
The aim of this PSA is to connect young victims of sexual assault in San Bernardino County with the necessary services they need. Help is available, and survivors are encouraged to contact the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services at (909) 382-3846.
The defendant in this case was sentenced to 30 years in state prison for the atrocious crimes he committed against Jane Doe.
“While the damage this defendant committed will always be a memory for Jane Doe, her words and bravery in the face of evil will be an even bigger force to empower other victims in similar situations,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “We have a trained staff of caring advocates ready to connect victims of crime with the services they need to get their lives back on track.”
(source: SB District Attorney news release)