Stanford sexual assault survivor pens powerful letter explaining why she is not a victim

Stanford sexual assault survivor pens powerful letter explaining why she is not a victim
Source: AP
Source: AP

"Emily Doe" sparked a national discussion in June about how sexual violence survivors are treated after she gave a powerful testimony to Stanford student Brock Turner on what it felt like to be sexually assaulted by him. Turner was found guilty of three felony charges for assaulting an unconscious woman and served three months in jail.

In response to her courageous statement, Doe was named one of Glamour's Women of the Year, the magazine announced on Tuesday. And Doe is coming forward once again with a new open letter in honor of sexual assault survivors. The letter is set to appear in the December issue of the magazine.

"Victims are not victims, not some fragile, sorrowful aftermath," she wrote. "Victims are survivors, and survivors are going to be doing a hell of a lot more than surviving."

Here are a few excerpts of the open letter:

On being perceived as a "sad example":


In the very beginning of it all in 2015, one comment managed to lodge harmfully inside me: Sad. I hope my daughter never ends up like her.

I absorbed that statement. Ends up. As if we end somewhere, as if what was done to me marked the completion of my story. Instead of being a role model to be looked up to, I was a sad example to learn from, a story that caused you to shield your daughter's eyes and shake your heads with pity. But when my letter was published, no one turned away. No one said I'd rather not look, it's too much, or too sad. Everyone pushed through the hard parts, saw me fully to the end, and embraced every feeling.

On victim-blaming:

If you think the answer is that women need to be more sober, more civil, more upright, that girls must be better at exercising fear, must wear more layers with eyes open wider, we will go nowhere. When Judge Aaron Persky mutes the word justice, when Brock Turner serves one month for every felony, we go nowhere. When we all make it a priority to avoid harming or violating another human being, and when we hold accountable those who do, when the campaign to recall this judge declares that survivors deserve better, then we are going somewhere.


On what it means to be a survivor:

So now to the one who said, I hope my daughter never ends up like her, I am learning to say, I hope you end up like me, meaning, I hope you end up like me strong. I hope you end up like me proud of who I'm becoming. I hope you don't "end up," I hope you keep going. And I hope you grow up knowing that the world will no longer stand for this. Victims are not victims, not some fragile, sorrowful aftermath. Victims are survivors, and survivors are going to be doing a hell of a lot more than surviving.

You can read her entire open letter in full here.

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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

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