true crime

A woman investigated her own rape, and now her attackers are in prison.

A sexual assault survivor who investigated her own rape case is celebrating after the last of her attackers was recently jailed for the crime.

His sentencing marks the conclusion to a several-years-long saga for the US woman, whose California court case was closely followed and extensively reported by The Daily Beast.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was raped while she was drunk and unconscious in a San Diego apartment in October 2013, the news site reports.

Her attackers, Jason Berlin, 28, and Jonas Dick and Alex Smith, both 27, were given jail time, with Berlin sentenced to eight years jail – the maximum possible term in the US state – earlier this month.

Jason Berlin. (Image via San Diego County Court)

When police failed to investigate her case properly, "Claire" — as she is referred to by The Daily Beast — took matters into her own hands and did some digging online that lead to their arrests.

Claire's investigation also uncovered an entire underground community of so-called pickup artists, a feat she hopes will help "break the cycle" of victims being assaulted and never finding justice.

Dick and Smith worked as instructors for a company called Efficient Pickup that offered courses in picking up women with "rejection proof" techniques.

It was at a bar in San Diego that a heavily intoxicated Claire and her friend were approached and soon after taken to their apartment, where "student" Berlin was waiting.

Alex Smith. (Image via San Diego County Court)

Claire began to feel sick and passed out in Smith's room, where he raped her. He then called Berlin in to do that same, while Dick distracted her friend.

Claire and her friend soon after left the apartment, called the police and filed an immediate report. She also underwent an invasive rape kit test.

Yet, a month after the attack the police had made no arrests and had not questioned any suspects.

According to The Daily Beast, Claire began looking for the men online, finding their profiles on Efficient Pickup’s now-defunct website.

She also made the painful discovery of Smith and Berlin's "field reports" - the men's blogs about the attack.

Listen: The person who fought back after being sexually abused as a child. (Post continues after audio.)

"It’s indescribable to explain what it’s like to read about your own rape in journal format," Claire said in a statement at Berlin’s sentencing.

According to the article, Claire printed out the blogs and created a detailed infographic showing her rapists' relationship to the underground pickup community and handed it over to police investigators.

It was thanks to this action that a search warrant was issued, and blood samples were taken to match DNA collected during Claire's post-attack examination. All three men were arrested soon after arrested.

"I thought about just burying this deep down, trying to forget about it and move on the best I could with life," she told the Daily Beast.

Claire almost gave up on seeing her attackers brought to justice. (Image via iStock.)

"But knowing that there were other victims associated with these three men and the thought of countless future ones from not only them but other pick-up instructors and students, I felt I had to do my part to break the cycle."

Dick and Berlin both pleaded guilty to Claire’s attack in 2015. Smith pleaded not guilty, claiming Claire had consented. He was tried last year, found guilty and sentenced to eight years jail, along with Dick.

Berlin testified at Smith's trial, revealing details about the company's methods and trying to minimise his involvement in the attack, The Daily Beast reports.

However, his cooperation with police did not result in leniency.

Judge Jeffrey Fraser commented at his sentencing, "They both raped her and both laughed about it and blogged about it afterwards. This is for a woman he does not know. There was a high, high degree of callousness. He made the victim into a sex object."

Claire said the emphasis on women needing to stick to strict measures to stay safe angered and saddened her.

The emphasis is on women keeping their drinks from being spiked, not for men to stop drugging women. (Image via iStock.)

"It again places the responsibility on women to 'Don't get raped' when really, as a society we should be teaching, 'Don’t rape'."

Claire told the Daily Beast she would continue to fight to bring awareness to the dark depths of the pickup artist industry.

"All the spare energy I've had since that terrible night has been spent on fighting for this case to be considered and battling to seek justice for not only myself, but for the other victims, both known and unknown, and for any future ones."

You can read the report in full here.

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