The survivor of the Brock Turner sexual assault case has written an incredibly powerful essay — and everyone needs to read it immediately
The Stanford sexual assault case, in which former student Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at a frat party, forced us to have a desperately needed national conversation about rape culture and our judicial system’s reluctance to hold rapists accountable. This was largely due to the eloquence and courage of the anonymous survivor Emily Doe, who has released an essay, publicly speaking for the first time since Turner’s horrifically light punishment was handed down.
In June 2016, Emily Doe’s profound victim statement went viral as she boldly criticized rape culture, Judge Aaron Pesky’s pathetic six months sentence for Turner (which ended up being only three months), the court’s urge to protect Turner because he can swim fast, and Turner’s inability to recognize what he had done.
Now a Glamour Woman of the Year, Emily is speaking out in an essay for the first time since Turner was sentenced and her words ignited a movement.
Emily begins the essay by explaining that she was told she was “best case scenario” — she had witnesses of her attack, after all. But then Turner was sentenced — and that all changed.
"I yelled half of my statement. So when it was quickly announced that he’d be receiving six months, I was struck silent. Immediately I felt embarrassed for trying, for being led to believe I had any influence. The violation of my body and my being added up to a few months out of his summer."
Emily also recalls the surreal moments that followed the initial publication of her victim statement — and the reach that her experience had:
"I remember thinking, what have I done, making myself exposed and vulnerable again. I texted my sister when it hit 20,000 views, thinking that was it, the comments were actually quite nice, and I closed my computer... I started getting e-mails forwarded to me from Botswana to Ireland to India. I received watercolor paintings of lighthouses and bicycle earrings. A woman who plucked a picture of her young daughter from the inside of her cubicle wrote, This is who you’re saving."
Emily specifically remembers one comment she read about her story: “Sad. I hope my daughter never ends up like her” — a comment that reduced her to the attack she survived, that reduced the rest of her life to victimhood. In response, she delivers one of the most powerful statements on surviving sexual assault that you will ever read:
"So now to the one who said, I hope my daughter never ends up like her, I am learning to say, I hope you end up like me, meaning, I hope you end up like me strong. I hope you end up like me proud of who I’m becoming. I hope you don’t “end up, I hope you keep going. And I hope you grow up knowing that the world will no longer stand for this. Victims are not victims, not some fragile, sorrowful aftermath. Victims are survivors, and survivors are going to be doing a hell of a lot more than surviving."
You can read the entirety of Emily Doe’s essay here — and you need to read it (and share it) immediately.