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Even without a name, the woman who survived the now-infamous Stanford University rape and faced her attacker in court has rallied the support of millions across the globe and is being honored as one of Glamour‘s Women of the Year.
Emily Doe was raped in January 2015. Two witnesses on bicycles saw Brock Turner attacking her behind a dumpster, tackled him and called 911. Turner was convicted of three separate sexual-assault-related felonies — for which prosecutors recommended a sentence of six years in prison. Instead, in June Turner was sentenced to six months and he was released from jail in September after serving only half that time.
Now Doe is speaking out about how she felt hearing his sentence after bearing her soul in court.
“I was struck silent,” Doe writes in an essay for Glamour. “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.”
After the Buzzfeed post went live, Doe began receiving letters and support from around the globe — but she still recalls one comment that cut deep: “Sad. I hope my daughter never ends up like her.”
“I absorbed that statement. ‘Ends up,'” writes Doe. “As if we end somewhere, as if what was done to me marked the completion of my story. Instead of being a role model to be looked up to, I was a sad example to learn from, a story that caused you to shield your daughter’s eyes and shake your heads with pity.”
She says the real pity would be not assigning blame where it’s due.
“If you think the answer is that women need to be more sober, more civil, more upright, that girls must be better at exercising fear, must wear more layers with eyes open wider, we will go nowhere,” Doe writes. “When Judge Aaron Persky mutes the word justice, when Brock Turner serves one month for every felony, we go nowhere. When we all make it a priority to avoid harming or violating another human being, and when we hold accountable those who do, when the campaign to recall this judge declares that survivors deserve better, then we are going somewhere.”
Read Doe’s full essay here.
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