Justice for Rae! Appeals Court Upholds Civil Charges in Sexual Assault Case

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#BelieveSurvivors is a plea, a demand, - and for Gender Justice, a call to action. 

Yesterday, our client got justice. 

It's an all-too-familiar story by now: a woman is raped by someone she knows -- her boyfriend, her date for the evening, even her husband -- and yet her experience is diminished or explained away by something she did or didn't do. 

Or, worst of all, people simply don't believe her.

Well yesterday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals brought a measure of justice to our client, Renee "Rae" Florek , upholding a previous, unanimous ruling in her civil lawsuit against ex-boyfriend Randall Lee Vannet, who admitted to raping her in 2013, while she was unconscious due to prescribed medication to relieve symptoms of throat cancer.

We are grateful to the Court of Appeals for their ruling. And we applaud Rae's incredible determination and courage. We're hopeful that she can begin to close this long and painful chapter of her life.

But this justice is imperfect at best. Rae's only path to hold her abuser accountable was through civil litigation. She came to Gender Justice for help after going to great lengths, struggling against indifferent law enforcement and a county attorney who refused to press charges. The broken criminal justice system failed Rae Florek.

And still, she is one of the few to have this path to justice available to them. Many others in her shoes will never see justice because the financial barriers are too high -- they can't afford to pay a lawyer's hourly rate to bring a lawsuit like this. 

As you know, there are few nonprofit legal organizations anywhere in the country like Gender Justice willing to bring civil sexual assault cases for no cost to the victim. And we were only able to offer Rae legal representation because of people like you -- our donors and supporters -- who give generously to make our work possible.

So, as we cheer today's ruling, we hope that it also highlights the urgent need to reform how society and the justice system addresses sexual assault and survivors.

We are so grateful for your friendship and support that makes it possible. On behalf of everyone here at Gender Justice, Rae and all our mighty clients, thank you for your friendship and support.


You can hear Rae’s story on the Reveal Podcast

"He seemed to confess to the crime, twice to his ex-girlfriend, once to police. But prosecutors never charged him. The reasons why show how rape myths continue to influence how justice is meted out in America. Reported in partnership with Newsy and ProPublica."