We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation and support for the survivor in the Stanford Rape Case. At the end of the trial resulting in a derisory 6-month sentence for the convicted Brock Allen Turner she read out a lengthy statement, most of it addressed directly to the rapist, describing her ordeal and the lasting impact it has had and continues to have on her and her family.
Sadly, her story is not an unusual one. It is also a very clear example of the appalling double standards that continue to colour perceptions of women who experience sexual violence and the way they are treated within the criminal justice system and, in society as a whole. The fact that both parties had used alcohol on the evening of the attack was used to discredit her and simultaneously to attempt to excuse him. Whilst her ordeal was talked about as something she could get past, his defence attorney and the media talked at length about the disproportionate damage to him and his glittering college career from his ’20 minutes of action’. These arguments appear to have been influential in leading the judge to impose 6-month sentence – something that shows an appalling lack of judgement for which he deserves to be recalled.
It could not have been an easy account to write and even less to stand up in court and deliver but in doing so she has taken a stand against sexual violence and shown solidarity with women all over the world who have experienced any form of sexual violence, recently or in the past. Every woman’s experience and emotions are different but by joining our forces, raising our voices and fight we can change the perceptions in society.
We have a long way to go but we thank this resilient woman for having the courage to speak her truth and not go quietly.
Please find the full statement from the survivor here.