New York Mets pitcher, Johan Santana, has had a civil lawsuit filed against him in a Florida court by a woman who claims he raped and impregnated her. The problem? The woman refuses to reveal her name on court documents and, under Florida law, Johan Santana’s lawyer says, she has to. In this type of civil case (note, it’s a civil case and not a criminal rape case) should the woman, now calling herself Jane Doe, be forced to reveal her name? Yes, she should, and here’s why.
If the rape case against Johan Santana was a criminal case, in most circumstances, a rape victim has the right to keep her name private. Many rape victims all over the country are simply known as ‘Jane Doe’ so that the media, and then neighbors, friends and, sometimes even family, aren’t able to find out these women were raped.
In her initial criminal case against Johan Santana, this ‘Jane Doe’ said he had lured her to a ‘remote area of a golf course” and then raped her, so she had him charged with sexual battery. During the case, Johan Santana didn’t deny he’d had sex with her, in fact he admitted it, but said the sex had been consensual.
With no evidence of sexual battery though, (which, if it did happen, it’s surprising the woman had no photos of bruises, no evidence of ripped clothing, etc), and with her testimony directly in opposition to every other witness, the woman’s case was thrown out of court. As Johan Santana is practically a household name, if there was even a chance he’d raped the woman, the DA likely would have pushed the case forward as it would have helped him make a name for himself. That he didn’t is quite telling.
Now, a year later, the woman is filing a civil suit, on the grounds that Johan Santana impregnated her. The suit however does not state whether she had the child, had an abortion, had a miscarriage or if, in fact, there is any evidence of her having been pregnant at all. In the new case, she still refuses to release her name.
When a public figure like Johan Santana has civil charges filed against him, the accuser should be forced to reveal their name. While this woman is currently sitting at home, with no-one other than immediate people involved in the case having any idea who she is, Johan Santana’s name is being tarnished. That is not only unfair, in the state of Florida apparently, it’s also against the law. Particularly as the original court case against Johan Santana was dismissed due to lack of evidence.
For rape victims too, this insistence on keeping the woman’s name secret does nothing but become a disservice to every woman who has been raped, as well as to continue the idea of ‘shame’ many still think women should feel when they are raped.
In my opinion, every woman who has been raped should have their names publicly available on court cases. Not only will this cut down on women who file false charges just to ‘get back’ at a man they’re angry with, it will also begin to force others to see this problem as a national and international crisis, when they realize women they actually know have been the victims of rape.
That a woman who is a victim of a mugging, a car jacking, an assault or any other violent crime has her name plastered all over court documents and in the news media, but not in instances of rape, is a travesty of justice. Only when women are brave enough to stand up and say “I was raped and I want justice” will rapes lessen and will being the victim of a rape have no more stigma attached to it than being the victim of a hit and run or of a mugging.
Johan Santana, meanwhile, has filed court documents asking for the judge to force the woman to reveal her name, saying this is damaging his reputation, accusing him of a ‘crime’ he has never been found guilty of and that the plaintiff’s complaint uses language that’s scandalous and untrue.
Johan Santana rape – woman sues pitcher, alleges sexual assault – The Huffington Post
Court documents Johan Santana filed, asking for judge to force woman to reveal her name