Stanford turned the Brock Turner assault site into a memorial to honor survivor Emily Doe

Almost three years ago, Brock Turner raped a woman known as “Emily Doe” behind a dumpster after a fraternity party at Stanford University. Now, the site where the horrific assault took place is being turned into a garden and reflection space, to honor the survivor and to create a memorial space for the community.

Though Brock was convicted in March 2016 on three counts of sexual assault and was sentenced to six months in prison, he only served three months. It was during sentencing that Emily Doe stepped forward, penning a twelve-page letter that described her immediate experience after the assault. The compelling letter is a reminder of the severity of sexual assault and the strength it takes for survivors to recover.

It was this strength that inspired Michele Landis Dauber, a professor of law and sociology at Stanford University, and a family friend of Emily Doe’s, to propose the idea of a garden and memorial site to honor Emily and to give students the opportunity to reflect. With Emily and Stanford’s permission, the dumpster was removed and a contemplative space put in its place.

In an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, Dauber says,

"I felt that the dumpster had become a symbol of campus rape and that to leave the space without interpretation would invite fear and confusion on the part of vulnerable students. By interpreting the space as we have with a calming area and a plaque, Stanford admits that this happened here but invites a response that centers on the experience of the survivor and allows students to grapple with those events in a meaningful way"


The memorial plaque isn’t up yet, but it will be, and it will be inscribed with a portion of Emily Doe’s letter.

Dauber says this is an integral part of the space, serving as a reminder that it’s up to each of us to intervene when we see and sense injustice. Although what happened to Emily Doe was horrific and should never happen to anyone, this garden can provide an outlet for students.

More than anything else, this memorial is a touching tribute to Emily Doe, a survivor. We hope that this space helps the Stanford community heal, while acknowledging that we all — boys and men included — need to be held accountable for our actions.