Target: U.S. District Court
Goal: Block motion asking for a rape victim’s name to be released.
A college fraternity that is connected to the accusation of a young woman for rape recently filed a motion calling for the woman to use her given name, rather than a pseudonym for the court proceedings. The victim prefers to use the pseudonym for fear of the repercussions if her name is released.
The chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Wesleyan University lost recognition in 2005, but continued to exist as an underground and unofficial fraternity, notorious for inappropriate activity. In 2010 a student at Wesleyan University was raped at a party held by the underground fraternity. Afterwards, she sued the university for failing to abide by Title IX and providing gender equality through preventative and disciplinary actions against those who committed the sexual assault and the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Through a campus-wide email that was sent out after the assault, the given name of “Jane Doe” was released and led to harassment as protests were directed at her eventually led to her decision to transfer to another university. Now, the fraternity in question has filed a motion calling for the woman to stop using the pseudonym, indicating that her anonymity gives her power to make indicting statements about the fraternity.
Jane Doe’s circumstance is similar to that of many individuals who are sexually assaulted. Many victims of rape are humiliated and blamed when they report the attack, rather than the focus of the anger being on the rapist. In keeping the pseudonym, Jane Doe is protecting herself from further harassment or other types of attacks that she may experience because of her decision to come forward about the assault, as well as from any further emotional or mental strife she may undergo during the trial.
By signing the petition below you will be calling for the U.S. District Court to uphold their previous decision and continue to allow Jane Doe to protect her identity by using a pseudonym. This decision will provide privacy that will help Jane Doe physically, emotionally, and mentally deal with the aftermath of sexual assault and protect her from further harassment.
Dear U.S. District Court,
Please uphold your previous decision to allow “Jane Doe” to continue using a pseudonym in her trial against Wesleyan University. The ability for Jane Doe to maintain her privacy is extremely important in terms of protecting her from further harassment and humiliation. Additionally, it is imperative that victims of sexual assault have the ability to choose whether or not to remain anonymous if they feel that using their given name will hinder their coping capabilities after an assault.
I am writing you to ask that you continue to protect Jane Doe by allowing her to use a pseudonym. This decision will allow Jane Doe to speak freely without fear of repercussions similar to the harassment that she has already seen at Wesleyan University that eventually led her to leave the school.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons