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Survivor of OC's Most Notorious Rape Speaks Out 'For All Jane Does'

The unconscious victim of the videotaped Haidl gang rape speaks out for sexual assault victims. "Society has to stop 'raping the victim' too."

This is for Every Sexual Assault Victim and All the Other Jane Does:         

My name is Alisa, but I used to be known as Jane Doe: the victim of the Haidl gang-rape case.  Today I am a survivor; a survivor of sexual assault.  Ten years ago, when I was only sixteen years old, I became the victim of one of California’s most famous and high profile gang rape cases. 

I was unconscious during the entire sexual assault and only discovered what happened to me because the perpetrators videotaped the crime.  A courageous citizen found the videotape and turned it over to police.  If it was not for that citizen doing the right thing, I may never have truly known what happened to me and I may never have received justice. 

After almost four years of severe intimidation and harassment from the defense and some members of the community, and two trials later, the perpetrators were finally found guilty of sexual assault and sentenced to six years in prison.

Throughout the two trials I endured, my entire name, image and existence was slandered by the defense.  I was ostracized by the community.  I was treated as if I was the one on trial for rape.  I was degraded, belittled, called every filthy name imaginable, harassed and out casted by everyone, except my family.  I was blamed for ruining the lives of four people, when I was the one unconscious and sexually assaulted and abused.  People seemed to so easily forget that I was the victim!

The hurtful lies people made up and the way I was shunned by almost everyone, was just as painful and damaging to me as the actual rape.  Both the rape and reaction towards me by many members of the community have left scars that will last forever.  I work hard every day at healing these wounds by learning to forgive. 

Society and the community need to realize this.  People need to understand the effects of rape on its victims.  People need to remember that rape is a crime!  The victim’s past history and her clothing do not matter! These are inconsequential.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, makes anyone deserve to be raped. And once someone is unconscious and not able to say yes or no – THAT AUTOMATICALLY MEANS NO!!! And if someone does have sex with an unconscious person, that is called Rape, and that person deserves to be punished accordingly.

The upcoming Steubenville, Ohio rape trial has many similarities to my case.  Like my case, the Steubenville case has people with powerful connections in their community who are allegedly involved.  This has made it easier for members of the community to  blame the alleged victim  and side with the people of authority, without having all the facts. 

My heart truly goes out to the Steubenville Jane Doe.  I found some of the responses that people have had toward  her as sad and pathetic.  Especially the people of authority that are letting their power and “love for football” make their decision to blame the alleged victim, instead of doing what is morally right.  Watching some of the videos the alleged perpetrator’s classmates made caused me to become physically nauseous and infuriated.  I am not sure when society determined it is funny, all right, and excusable to have sex with an unconscious girl.  But if this kind of mentality does not change, the “blaming of the victim” will never change either. 

Maybe it is society’s lack of education and knowledge about rape. Maybe people need to understand that rape has nothing to do with sex; it is a crime about having control and power over their victims.  Whatever the reason may be, society has to stop 'raping the victim' too; with its continual blame and cruelty toward rape victims.  If a rape victim has any chance of becoming a survivor, we as a community, have to come together and give them our unconditional support, not blame them.

I feel very lucky and honored to be writing this.  I am grateful to be writing this as a survivor who took back control and my life from my perpetrators.  I am blessed to have found God. It is through God that I have been able to turn the most negative experience of my life into a positive opportunity and career; helping and giving tools to other sexual assault victims so they too can become survivors.  I hope after reading this people will stop and think a little differently the next time the topic of rape is brought up.

But more than anything, I want to use this as a chance to write a few words of encouragement to all victims of sexual assault:

Please know you are not alone.  Do not listen to the horrible lies some people are saying.  You know those lies are not true and many others know that too.  What happened to you was not your fault.  You did not ask for it and absolutely nothing you did made you deserve it.  Many people agree with me and many people believe you.  There are many people that support you and stand behind you.  I know you did nothing wrong.  I know how painful this is for you right now, but you will heal.  You will survive this.  You are standing up for all victims by prosecuting your perpetrators.  Do you realize how incredibly strong and brave you are?  I am so proud of you and will always support you.  Keep fighting.  Keep going.  Do not give up.  You will win and you will get the justice you deserve.  Your strength and courageousness inspire me.  You will become a survivor of this.  Keep your head up and remember all of us that support you and are behind you always.

The Voice of a Survivor,

Alisa

KP February 10, 2013 at 02:33 PM
I am truly awed by you. I wish that rapist would speak up and take blame for their actions and tell society that what they did was morally and criminally wrong and that they deserved their punishments. Please continue your work and know that most Men and Women feels as you do. Clothing, history, physical state, and/or age does not give anyone permission to rape or molest or even touch or talk offensively about a person!
Michelle Thomas February 10, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Alisa I have always been on your side. You are not alone. I am sure there were plenty of people rooting for you. Please continue to be a voice for the voiceless. Thanks.
Mandy G. February 10, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Bless you for sharing this Alisa! I too was always in your side and ached for you at the time. I am pleased they finally got sentenced but 6 years is nothing for the lifetime of pain they caused you and the degradation of women. Yes, hopefully they will speak out and see the light and work for a better cause.
NONNIE123 February 10, 2013 at 04:42 PM
U GO GIRL,I SURE HAVE YR BACK,I DONT NO U BUT IM VERY PROUD OF U FOR STICKYING TO YR GUNS.AN U HAD A GREAT''ATTORNEY''HE IS ALSO MINE. AGAIN GREAT JOB SWEETIE
Barbara February 10, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Thank you, Alisa, for speaking out. I'm also a survivor of gang rape, I was 14. Of course no one knew about what happened to me - I was too ashamed to tell anyone. I was so enraged by the treatment you received and I believe that the majority of us felt the same way. There will always be insensitive, ignorant people out there, I've been a sexual abuse/assault advocate behind the scenes for years touching a few lives here and there - but you have the opportunity to speak to our entire nation about this by sharing. I thank you for that. I think most importantly, you have shown what a survivor looks like: Brave, Strong, Intelligent and Living life with Purpose.
Jennifer Wheatley-Wolf February 10, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Thanks Alisa. We have a lot of the same thoughts about survivors and the way they are treated. One Voice Raised: A Triumph Over Rape is my story. (Amazon-Wheatley-Wolf) My case was cold for 20 years-testifying against my attacker was very empowering.
Pelican Lover February 10, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Alisa - You are my hero. I thought of that every day during the coverage of the two trials. I silently gave you my support while reading the news and was awed by your courage. Thanks for not giving up on the justice system. Your experience makes a bold statement.
ARA February 10, 2013 at 10:36 PM
God Bless Alisa and thank you for telling your story and having the courage to fight for what was right. You are an inspiration to all and I wish you continued healing and a wonderful life!
Norton February 11, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Thank you Alisa for having the courage to speak out. Rape of women (and some men) is a global epidemic. I say epidemic because it's out of control. Given the frequency of rape (statistics: 3 every minute worldwide) and the immoral defense of most perpetrators, it's quite possible that it will continue for it is well published that the majority of victims are children (ages 1-18). Therein lies the inherent sickness, resulting in anger within the victim, risen from the loss of innocence, the loss of trust, the loss of oneself, with some victims acting out later in life by continuing the perpetration of others, a vicious cycle. This by no means excuses bad behavior, but without an adequate mental health safety net for victims along with the blame game allowed by the judicial system, and , until we all start instilling better awareness and values within our children today, specifically respecting gender differences, then the miss guided perceptions of the perpetrators will only continue to plague ours and other cultures world wide. Read: India, Asia, Middle East, Africa, South America...its world wide !!! Does it have to get any more VIVID THAN THAT !!!!!!
Breeze Summers February 11, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Rape is one of the most viled acts one could commit. It is especially disturbing when the victim is shunned. A courageous woman! Best wishes to her...
Vikki Vartanian February 12, 2013 at 08:28 PM
You are such a courageous woman for posting this story. Society needs more eduction on this subject and not blaming the victim, it's sickening!
Dan Avery February 15, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Alicia, Thank you for a beautifully courageous read. And for identifying "blaming the victim" in those terms. We have heard a lot of garbage about women and rape lately, mostly from members of the Republican party who hope to hold office. I wish more survivors had your courage and would speak out to end the ignorance. As a society we blame the victim in everything from rape to poverty. We need to look at why we do that so we can put an end to it.
karen stubbs February 21, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Thank you to all Jane Does who have shared their stories. You have started a fire in our societies that can not now be put out. AWA OpPinkPower Tahrir BodyGuard and a thousand other movements are fighting for the safety of women and girls. We will demand respect for victims not blame.
Pamela Crouch February 28, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Bless you for your strength and taking a stand for all victims of sexual violence!

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