Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.
In a society increasingly defined by social media scrutiny and the 24-hour news cycle, privacy can often feel like a luxury—especially for victims of sexual harassment who choose to seek legal recourse. While technological advancements have enabled victims to share their stories and find solidarity, they also bring the risk of unwanted attention and added trauma.
In an exclusive interview, Navruz Avloni, a committed trial attorney and social justice advocate, sheds light on this pressing question.
“The trauma associated with sexual harassment cases is not just physical or professional—it’s emotional. When victims come forward, they’re concerned that retelling their experience to authorities, lawyers, or even friends and family, will reopen emotional wounds,” Navruz explains.
“That’s why it’s so important for victims to know about all the options available to them, such as the ability to file as a ‘Jane Doe’ to protect their identity,” she adds.
Under this provision, victims may be permitted to proceed anonymously where there are allegations of sexual assault, and protect their identity from public disclosure. Proceeding via pseudonym can be particularly helpful when the perpetrator involved is a well-known or influential figure, as such lawsuits often generate publicity. “As courts shift to digital filing, news about high-profile cases can spread like wildfire, especially on social media. Before you even file any legal papers, it’s vital to weigh every option for the person involved. Sometimes, using a pseudonym in the filing can be the deciding factor when it comes to the victim coming forward.”
“Given the sensitive facts, there are sexual assault victims who would have never filed their lawsuits if they were not given the chance to proceed anonymously. The option to file as ‘Jane Doe’ isn’t just a legal workaround; it’s a mental safety net that allows victims to seek justice,” Navruz says warmly. “Sometimes, just knowing they can proceed anonymously lifts a weight off clients’ shoulders. It frees them to concentrate on the legal battle ahead, rather than stressing over the possibility of public judgment or backlash.”
“Whether you’re swinging a hammer on a construction site or leading meetings in a Silicon Valley boardroom, you deserve a shot at justice without having to open yourself up to further emotional harm. You’d be amazed how many clients decide to come forward after learning they can file as ‘Jane Doe.’ It just makes a tough legal road feel a little easier to navigate.”
With over a decade in the courtroom and a history of successful resolutions for her clients, Navruz stresses the importance of educating victims of sexual assault about their options, including the option to file as “Jane Doe”. “Often the victims of sexual assault that reach out to us carry the weight of their experiences, sometimes for years, tangled up in guilt and shame, often unaware that they have choices like filing under a pseudonym.”, she says. “Part of my job is to educate them, to guide them through what the process really involves.”
While Navruz and her team at Avloni Law are experts in employment law, their focus is on tackling sexual harassment cases. With offices spread throughout California and mentions in major outlets like Business Insider and TechCrunch, the firm is making waves. But what really sets them apart is their boutique approach. At Avloni Law, it’s not just about winning cases; it’s about forming meaningful connections with clients and tailoring an approach that best meets the needs of the specific client.
Navruz has her sights set on a future where legal information is not just for those who can afford it. She mentions that her firm is in the process of developing an open-source project to make these vital resources available to everyone. “The goal is really to educate people on their rights. A lot of folks shy away from taking legal action because they’re afraid of reliving the trauma. I want to flip the script on that. I want people to know that they can fight for justice without putting their identity at risk,” she says, wrapping up our conversation.
From her own deeply personal motivations—inspired by her grandmother’s work as a lawyer in Uzbekistan—to her firm’s commitment to representing clients from all walks of life, Navruz Avloni brings a unique blend of compassion and expertise to the table. As an advocate for justice and civil rights, she reminds us that while the legal system has its complexities, it also has provisions like “Jane Doe” filings to protect those who need it most.