Perigo shared some of the reasons why she's choosing not to pursue legal action against Jacobo: the trauma of retelling the incident, her distrust of the criminal justice system and the absence of a sense of justice she believes she would feel.
"There's a lot of reasons that victims of sexual assault don't go to the cops. That's actually quite common," Perigo said. "To say that we don't take this seriously, unless people talk to the police, to me shows a misunderstanding of the crime of sexual assault and the trauma that follows."
Perigo was referencing remarks made by San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí last week before Jacobo resigned: "We can't try people via social media. Regardless of what information is presented, I think everyone is afforded due process." He also indicated that only if criminal charges were filed would he see it as a strong indication of evidence warranting Jacobo's resignation.
For many sexual assault survivors, the experience of having to retell their experience multiple times within the legal system is retraumatizing. "That is not something I want to do," Perigo said.
Perigo also acknowledged what she sees as her own position of power within the justice system. "I'm a white woman, he is a dark-skinned Latino man," Perigo said. "[Pressing charges] doesn't feel like justice to me, and doesn't make me feel any better."
"I do not trust the cops ... I genuinely believe that we should abolish and defund the police. I don't think justice is brought forward through our current criminal justice system."
Perigo said her Twitter post marked a moment of letting go. "This was kind of like the end for me," Perigo said. "This was my closure. This isn't the beginning of a campaign to get justice."
But even without Perigo's involvement, a rape case against Jacobo could still proceed. Rachel Marshall, a spokesperson for San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin's office, told Mission Local this week that Boudin's office is investigating the case in cooperation with SFPD.
“We prosecute violent crimes even without witness cooperation when we can prove the case,” Marshall said.
Perigo's experience indicative of larger systemic issues
Tinisch Hollins, the executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice, told KQED that Perigo's experience is part of a larger systemic failure of the criminal justice system when it comes to rape and sexual violence.
“When communities of color experience crime and violence, there’s a perception that we somehow contribute to our own victimization,” Hollins said, “rather than looking at the systemic issues and things that contribute to violence and crime in our communities, especially when it comes to sexual assault.”
Hollins shared some of the reasons she's observed that people choose not to report sexual assault: “One is obviously the trauma of having to relive and retell your experiences to systems that are often not equipped to help you deal with the trauma,” she said. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), two out of every three sexual assaults go unreported.
Another reason Hollins said people choose not to report is that the process of prosecution can be lengthy. In California, rape kits were severely backlogged for several years. Some sexual assault survivors had to wait over two years for the results. Hollins also said that while folks are waiting to go through the legal system, the people that assaulted them may not have been charged or prosecuted. "Some people just don't feel safe,” she said.
According to RAINN, of the sexual violence crimes not reported to police from 2005 to 2010, the top three reasons given were fear of retaliation (20%), belief the police would not do anything to help (13%) and the belief that it was a personal matter (13%).