San Jose

San Jose Officials to Address Spike in Reported Sexual Assaults

Reported rapes have more than tripled in San Jose in the past decade, and on Thursday, a group of South Bay legislators came together to demand that more be done to fight the crime and the root causes.

The numbers are disturbing, especially considering Santa Clara County says there are still significant delays in processing rape kits.

One sexual assault victim told her story in front of the five female members of the San Jose City Council. Devon Cable says she still has flashbacks of a physically and sexually abusive boyfriend.

"I’ll kind of tear up and think about everything because three years is a long time to be abused," Cable said.

Cable said telling her story helps a lot.

"He would force me to do sexual things I had no intention of doing," she said. "If he saw me talking to a guy, he would call me a slut."

The council members say reported rapes have tripled in San Jose over the past 10 years, and they’re pushing legislation to find solutions and to examine the root cause.

"My council colleagues and I have joined forces to address this issue head on," Councilwoman Sylvia Arenas said.

Numbers recently released by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office show it reviewed 1,070 rape cases last year. Of those, the DA prosecuted fewer than half.

"Our decision to file criminal cases is a really hard one because we have to prove each case beyond a reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury," Assistant DA James Gibbons-Shapiro said.

The backlog in processing rape kits at the county crime lab also persists. As of last month, more than 100 cases were still waiting to be examined.

"We need to address strategically the issue and see all those stats," Arenas said.

Cable said she’s moved on with her life, stronger for speaking her truth and hopeful that no one else has to endure her pain.

Last week, the county Board of Supervisors authorized $5 million to combat sexual assaults. They hope that eliminates the backlog in processing rape kits.

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