Pathway proposed for sex assault complaints against city workers

Supervisor Hillary Ronen introduced legislation Tuesday at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to hold city departments accountable on cases of sexual assault and harassment.

Survivors of sexual assault spoke out Tuesday at City Hall during a press conference to tell their stories of alleged mistreatment of officers from the Police Department and hospital employees when reporting a rape.

The proposed legislation would create the Office of Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention, SHARP, which would be part of the Human Rights Commission.

Ronen said the goal of the proposal is to resolve complaints from the public about the city departments handling of sexual assault and harassment cases.

A three-person team will work with survivors, advocates, city departments and provide mediation between survivors and city department staff, said Ronen:

“I have heard enough stories that it is clear to me that these are not just a few isolated incidents.”

Ronen added:

“There is a pattern of negligence and mistreatment that is abusive towards rape victims.”

One survivor of rape, who identified themselves as Jane Doe, is a San Francisco resident and an employee with the Human Rights Commission.

She went to the Special Victim’s Unit and told officers she wanted the rapist arrested and prosecuted.

She said a SVU officer told her that “these things are so hard to prove” and “it’s complicated.”

The officer then asked her if she really wanted the person who raped her to be arrested:

“I had to fight just to be interviewed and began my nightmare.”

She said she had to beg the officer to check video footage and to get statements from witnesses but was told to just focus on “healing.”

These are just one of several stories told by survivors of sexual assault on Tuesday and at a hearing two weeks ago at a Board of Supervisors committee

Supervisor Catherine Stefani said it was devasting to hear the stories from survivors at the hearing:

“We have to do more to take care of people when they come to us and they tell us their horrible stories and they are hurting.”

A board committee will hear Ronen’s proposed legislation in June.