The survivor of the Stanford University sexual assault first spoke out against her attacker in a court statement that became incredibly impactful for other survivors after it was shared online in June. Now, after being named one of Glamour magazine's Women of the Year, the survivor, who has chosen to remain anonymous, has spoken out once more in a powerful essay that nails the problem with the way we, as a society, think of sexual assault.
"From the beginning, I was told I was a best case scenario," Emily Doe (the name she chooses to go by) began her letter. Doe explains that the fact that she had forensic evidence, sober unbiased witnesses, and police at the scene meant that she was seen as "lucky." "It was like being checked into a hotel room for a year with stained sheets, rancid water, and a bucket with an attendant saying, No this is great! Most rooms don’t even have a bucket," she wrote. But despite being the "best case scenario," Doe's assaulter was sentenced to only six months of jail — and was even released early after serving only three months of his sentence. "I thought, if this is what having it good looks like, what other hells are survivors living?" she said. In her essay, Doe says that we, as a society, need to do better when it comes to sexual assault and rape culture. "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," she wrote. "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." Read Emily Doe's full essay on Glamour.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).