Her letter has been read and shared millions of times online and now the anonymous victim of a 20-year-old star swimmer from Stanford has gained more notoriety than she ever could have imagined, and has inspired a nationwide movement to decry college campus rapes.
The victim of Brock Turner, who was convicted on three counts of rape, read a 12-page letter directly to him at his sentencing. Now her gut wrenching description of how he forever scarred her and changed her life are being recited by others as a powerful statement of solidarity with the anonymous woman.
“Because we are her allies,” starts New York City’s first lady Chirlane McCray. Then her staffers appear on-screen, each reading a piece of the letter. “I had dried blood and bandages on my hands and elbows.”
“My underwear were missing when I woke up.”
“The night after he said he didn’t know my name.”
A group of New York City high school freshmen also organized their own protest of the lenient six month sentence, holding signs repeating some of what the young woman wrote. One freshman recited for the cameras, “I wanted to take off my body like a jacket, and leave it like everything else.”
The letter’s messages have been seared into the nation’s collective consciousness, being read millions of times on line. And politicians are also using it as a platform for victim awareness. Congressman Ted Poe, a Texas Republican addressed the House.
“The judge said a prison sentence would have a severe impact on [Turner]. “Well isn’t that the point?” Poe said in his speech to the House. “The punishment for rape should be longer than a semester in college.”
Vice President Joe Biden, who’s championed rape victim protections, decried the one in five rape statistic that has persisted on college campuses for 20 years, while standing up for the victim.
“You are a warrior — with a solid steel spine,” he said in part. And continued on, “And I am filled with furious anger — both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken that you were ever put in the position of defending your own worth.”