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From the Publisher
Startling, incisive and surprisingly funny, this is the true story
of a woman who challenged stereotypes, the justice system, the
police -- and won.
On an August night in 1986, Jane Doe became the fifth reported
woman raped by a sexual serial predator dubbed the Balcony Rapist.
Even though the police had full knowledge of the rapist's modus
operandi, they made a conscious decision not to issue a warning to
women in her neighbourhood. Jane Doe quickly realized that women
were being used by the police as bait. The rapist was captured as a
result of a tip received after she and a group of women distributed
2,000 posters alerting the community. During the criminal
proceedings, Jane Doe became the first raped woman in Ontario to
secure her own legal representation -- allowing her to sit in on
the hearings instead of out in the hall where victim-witnesses are
usually cloistered. As a result, Jane heard details of the police
investigation normally withheld from women in her position, which
revealed a shocking degree of police negligence and gender
discrimination. When the rapist was convicted, the comfort was
cold. In 1987, Jane Doe sued the Metropolitan Police Force for
negligence and charter violation. It took eleven long years before
her civil case finally came to trial -- the rest is history.
This extraordinary book asks the diffcult question: Who benefits
from rape? Popular ideas about rape still inform the way police and
society behave around raped women. Despite decades of trying to
rewrite the myths, the myths still exist, and they tell us that
women lie about rape, that women enjoy it, that women file false
rape reports to seek revenge and money. They tell us rape can be
non-violent. They tell us that women can make good or bad rape
victims or that women cannot be raped at all. They tell us nonsense
-- and Jane Doe gives us a unique view on why.
This is a book about rape that is not about being a "victim." It's
about a woman who wanted to ensure that she, the person most
involved, directed her case and the course of her life. It's about
external elements colliding to provide a small window of redress
for women who experience crimes of violence. Jane Doe was a test
case -- the right woman in the wrong place at the right time -- and
she made legal history.
In The Story of Jane Doe, she asks us to challenge
our own assumptions about rape and, in the process, surprises us
with a story that is by turns sweet, tragic and fantastical. But
most of all, this book celebrates what is most common in human
nature -- our ability to overcome.
"Rape stories are not new stories. They are as old as war, as
old as man. Many bookstores have sections devoted to them, and I
read them. I read them "before," too. I have found most rape
stories to be either chronicles of fear and horror, victim tales
that make me want to run screaming from the page (although I do
not). Or they are dry, academic or legal treatises on why rape is
bad, written in language I must work to understand. Both are valid.
But both somehow limit me from reaching a broader understanding . .
. No book has ever reflected my lived experience of the
crime." -- Jane Doe