This Powerful Letter from a Sexual Assault Survivor to Her Attacker is a Must-Read
One of the most difficult things a rape survivor will ever have to do is face her attacker and relive the experience in court, knowing that lawyers and law enforcement will try to brand her as irresponsible, slutty and “asking for it.”
A Stanford University student went through the worst of that ordeal as she faced Brock Allen Turner, a freshman who was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault after he was caught forcing himself on her behind a dumpster while she was drunk, unconscious and half-naked, Buzzfeed reports.
The crime could have landed Turner in prison for 14 years, but instead the judge gave him six months in jail because a longer sentence would have “a severe impact” on Turner, a champion swimmer who once dreamed of competing in the Olympics.
The idea that we should be worrying about the rapist’s dreams and future after a woman’s life was completely derailed by his actions has sparked outrage across social media this weekend — but the pain and frustration is balanced somewhat by the powerful letter the woman read out loud in court. She shared the letter in full to Buzzfeed, and it’s become a rallying cry for sexual assault survivors everywhere.
The letter may be difficult and triggering for some, but it’s important to read the entire Buzzfeed article if you can and share it online.
The woman finishes her statement with this:
”To girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you.”
The letter has brought hope and renewed determination to countless survivors and their allies.