Read the Powerful Letter the Vanderbilt Gang Rape Survivor Wrote to One of Her Rapists

Read the Powerful Letter the Vanderbilt Gang Rape Survivor Wrote to One of Her Rapists
Source: AP
Source: AP

Last Friday, former Vanderbilt University football player Cory Batey was sentenced to 15 years in prison for gang raping an unconscious woman three years ago. 

Batey and teammates Brandon Vandenburg, Brandon Banks, and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie, gang raped the then 21-year-old student in June 2013. Batey urinated on the survivor's face while the others penetrated her with "random objects," filming the entire thing. The survivor didn't know she was raped until the District Attorney's office provided her with evidence of the assault.

Before Batey was read his sentence, the woman, now 24, read a powerful and emotional statement to her attacker.

"You will never understand what this has done to me if you aren't standing in my shoes," she read. "The humiliation, the pain, the isolation, being reduced to nothing but a piece of flesh right before your eyes, it does something to you that is truly impossible to describe. I also know that it's hard to encapsulate the impact this has had because it is still ongoing. The attack on me didn't end that day because I relive it in every proceeding and experience additional attacks every time I am in court."

She eloquently described the pain and dehumanization, and elaborated on the trauma she continues to experience:

I've seen with my own eyes what I was when Mr. Batey was done with me: a piece of trash, face down in a hallway covered in his urine and palm prints. A photograph he took himself. There are no words to describe the horror of the images from that night and how it feels to watch yourself be dehumanized.

I wanted to run away and never stop running. At one point I saw what I first thought was a dead woman's face. I was suddenly overwhelmed by my memory of a family member's corpse, and then I realized that it's me. They had taken a picture of my face during the rape. I was lifeless and my face was covered in something shiny. I didn't recognize myself. Something permanent snapped that day. I felt myself detach from my body. Now, I feel like I'm walking around in the shell of someone else. A part of me went numb, a sense of being a whole person with hopes and dreams about what's possible in the world was now gone.

Batey is the first among the four indicted for rape and sexual assault to be officially sentenced. Judge Watkins said this case was the saddest one he's seen within his 32 years as a criminal court judge.

Read the letter in its entirety here.

Read More:
• Cory Batey, Convicted in the Vanderbilt Rape Case, Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison
• Ask This Student How Her College Is Protecting Her Rapist
• A New Study Finds Campus Sexual Assault May Be Even More Prevalent Than We Thought

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Sarah A. Harvard

Sarah is a staff writer covering religion, race and politics. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, and VICE. Send tips and feedback: sharvard@mic.com

MORE FROM

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.

Why pro-life doctors want the First Amendment to protect their right to lie to patients

Crisis pregnancy centers believe they should be exempt from a law saying they should inform patients about all their medical options, including abortions.

‘Brown Girls’ wants to tell women of color’s stories in all their messy, complicated glory

Creators Fatimah Asghar and Sam Bailey want to let their characters break free of the neat identity categories people are wont to place them in.

One woman living in R Kelly’s alleged “sex cult” says everything is fine. That doesn’t mean it is.

Jocelyn Savage says she's "happy" and "totally fine" in her arrangement with R. Kelly. Experts say that's common behavior among abuse survivors.

Black women warned us about R Kelly's behavior for years. Was nobody listening?

Black women and girls have been telling people for years about the singer's behavior. And yet too few people have deigned to listen.

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.

Why pro-life doctors want the First Amendment to protect their right to lie to patients

Crisis pregnancy centers believe they should be exempt from a law saying they should inform patients about all their medical options, including abortions.

‘Brown Girls’ wants to tell women of color’s stories in all their messy, complicated glory

Creators Fatimah Asghar and Sam Bailey want to let their characters break free of the neat identity categories people are wont to place them in.

One woman living in R Kelly’s alleged “sex cult” says everything is fine. That doesn’t mean it is.

Jocelyn Savage says she's "happy" and "totally fine" in her arrangement with R. Kelly. Experts say that's common behavior among abuse survivors.

Black women warned us about R Kelly's behavior for years. Was nobody listening?

Black women and girls have been telling people for years about the singer's behavior. And yet too few people have deigned to listen.