PALO ALTO, Calif. (KTVU) - Students on the campus of Stanford University are reacting with emotion and admiration to a letter written by a rape victim which was published online. This past Thursday, the victim read the letter out loud to her rapist in court, former Stanford swimmer, 20-year-old Brock Turner, at his sentencing hearing.
In the letter, the victims says, “I [didn’t] want my body anymore. I was terrified of it... I didn’t know what had been in it... if it had been contaminated... who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”
She goes on to thank the two graduate students who saw the assault happening behind a trash bin, interrupted it, and then held Turner down until the police arrived. However, of the legal process that followed, she said, “I was not only told that I was assaulted... I was told that because I couldn’t remember, I technically could not prove it was unwanted. And that distorted me, damaged me, almost broke me.”
Turner was convicted of three felonies in connection with the attack of an unconscious woman outside of a fraternity house in January of 2015, but was only sentenced to 6 months in county jail. The District Attorney had been pushing for 14 years in state prison, but the judge decided on the more lenient penalty, citing Turner’s age and lack of a criminal record.
In addition to expressing outrage at the more lenient sentence, students on the Stanford campus said they were overwhelmed by admiration for the victim’s bravery. “I was just shocked and horrified... I know that these things happen but seeing her raw emotions in the letter, it just moved me,” said Pooja Rao a graduate student at Stanford.
Other students expressed a recognition of why so many other rape victims choose not to come forward. “I’ve heard stories of other girls who didn’t even go forward because they heard there were so many problems with the process and it intimidated them from even bringing the issue up,” said Freshman Christina Huber.
The victim ended her letter with an encouraging message, writing, “Finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. You are powerful and no one can take that away from you.”
The father of the boy has written a letter to the judge who heard the case. Read it below in its entirety.