Prosecutors have released the compelling statement read aloud in court by the rape victim of a former Stanford University swimmer whose six-month jail sentence has been decried as a paltry punishment.
The 12-page, single-spaced letter went viral on Friday after the victim gave it to the media. Candid and graphic, it offers specific details about her experience after the January 2015 night Brock Turner was seen assaulting an unconscious, half-naked woman behind a dumpster near a fraternity house.
She describes the first time she came across an in-depth article about what had happened.
“I read and learned for the first time about how I was found unconscious, with my hair disheveled, long necklace wrapped around my neck, bra pulled out of my dress, dress pulled off over my shoulders and pulled up above my waist, that I was butt naked all the way down to my boots, legs spread apart, and had been penetrated by a foreign object by someone I did not recognize. I learned what happened to me the same time everyone else in the world learned what happened to me. … After I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he’s really good at swimming. Throw in my mile time if that’s what we’re doing. I’m good at cooking, put that in there, I think the end is where you list your extra-curriculars to cancel out all the sickening things that’ve happened.”
The woman said she can’t sleep alone without having a light on and that she has nightmares about being touched. For three months, she would stay awake through the night, only able to fall asleep when the sun rose. She worried people in her hometown would find out she was the victim in a much-publicized trial. She had trouble connecting with friends, family members, her boyfriend.
Turner, a three-time All-American high school swimmer, had been found guilty of three felony counts after a two-week trial in March.
Prosecutors requested that Turner, who withdrew from Stanford after his arrest, be given six years in prison. But Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky handed down a much shorter sentence, stating that a harsher penalty would have a “severe impact” on the 20-year-old.
The victim said in her statement that she was shocked Turner had even insisted on going to court.
“I thought there’s no way this is going to trial; there were witnesses, there was dirt in my body, he ran but was caught. He’s going to settle, formally apologize, and we will both move on. Instead, I was told he hired a powerful attorney, expert witnesses, private investigators who were going to try and find details about my personal life to use against me, find loopholes in my story to invalidate me and my sister, in order to show that this sexual assault was in fact a misunderstanding. That he was going to go to any length to convince the world he had simply been confused. 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.”
Read the entire statement here.