STANFORD (CBS SF) – A woman’s story of her sexual assault at a Stanford frat party has now been read by millions, after her attacker was handed a punishment that many say didn’t fit the crime.
The victim read her statement when her attacker was sentenced last week. It had since been posted online and gone viral.
The letter describes in graphic detail, with unflinching emotional honesty, the hurt, pain and confusion of surviving a sexual assault.
After being poked and prodded and photographed for a rape kit, the victim reflected, “I don’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.”
“Her giving so many personal details, I could just feel the pain as she shared really, really gruesome details,” Stanford student Kate Camara told KPIX 5.
For more than a year, the victim said she suffered in silence. The nameless victim of a crime, in a case that was supposed to shine a spotlight on something happening largely in the shadows, campus sexual assault.
On Thursday, at the sentencing hearing, she found her voice. She addressed the court and her attacker, former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, directly.
“We were both drunk, the difference is I did not take off your pants and underwear, touch you inappropriately and run away,” the victim said.
Her words struck a nerve. And when her letter was posted online, millions read her story and urged others to do the same.
“You sympathize with her because she’s giving this heartbreaking account with details. It’s just heartbreaking,” said Jackie Tran, also a student at Stanford.
In the end, the judge sentenced Turner to just six months in county jail and probation. His victim argued against a light sentence, fearing it would, “create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error.”
“Alcohol can definitely impact your decision-making. It is still you making that decision,” said Stanford student Alex Nutkiewicz. “And his refusal to acknowledge that he made an error in judgment that night definitely should have resulted in him receiving more time than he actually did.”