SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — In a show of solidarity, all five women on the San Jose City Council held a special press conference to bring attention to the alarming increase in sexual assaults in the city over the past decade.
“We are here today to discuss a rapid and sustained increase in the number of sexual assaults in San Jose,” said Councilmember Sylvia Arenas.
The councilmembers says reported rape cases in San Jose have nearly tripled over the past decade, increasing from 220 in 2008 to 615 in 2018. Councilmember Pam Foley noted it’s a crime that often goes unreported.
“If it’s someone they knew, they’re embarrassed. They were told or intimidated, ‘Don’t tell your parent. Don’t tell your loved one because I’ll make it very difficult for them. I’ll make it very difficult for you,'” said Foley.
That was certainly the case for Santa Clara University student Devon Cable who spoke at the news conference as a survivor of an abusive relationship.
“It definitely was emotionally abusive and became physically abusive in college,” Cable said. “I think what my experience made me realize is that it can happen to anyone. I have the perfect family. I have the most amazing father figure.”
The councilmembers have vowed to work with the city and county to come up with a plan to address sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking.
“The way that we create a climate where victims feel comfortable enough to come forward is by showing them that we will support them when they do. By showing them that we take this issue seriously,” Councilmember Dev Davis said.