The Story of Jane Doe


363 pages
ISBN 0-679-31275-7
DDC 362.883'092





Reviewed by Christine Schmidt

Christine Schmidt specializes in law and sociology at Laurentian


This story by an anonymous Toronto woman is both a memoir and a
socio-political critique of policing and justice concerning women’s

Jane Doe was raped by a man whom the police knew was in her
neighbourhood. The police chose not to inform potential victims because
they didn’t want women to get “hysterical” or the perpetrator to
realize how close they were to apprehending him. When Jane discovered
that women in her vicinity had been used as virtual bait to catch the
rapist, she launched the largest lawsuit against a police force in
Canadian history—and won.

Before the verdict, she posted a description of the rapist in the
community. That action, police contend, led to the rapist’s arrest,
and it started a change in the process of investigating rape cases. Jane
also exposed another police error—a case in which the police did not
believe a woman who had been raped, when in fact her rapist was the same
man who had raped Jane.

Jane paid a heavy price for exposing the shoddy and sexist police work.
Police lawyers, psychiatrists, and so-called experts all argued that her
rape had not been “violent” and that the damage actually caused by
police actions was minimal.

This memoir is sometimes sad, sometimes funny, always hopeful, and full
of insight. It is already making its way into university classrooms, and
should be read by anyone interested in justice, women’s, and equality


Doe, Jane., “The Story of Jane Doe,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024,