Marcio Jose Sanchez—AP
Wellness

Read the Powerful Letter a Sexual Assault Victim Wrote to Her Attacker

June 4, 2016

"Assault is not an accident"

A woman who was sexually assaulted by a Stanford University student while she was unconscious addressed him directly in court on Thursday, describing the devastating impact the attack and the ensuing trial has had on her life.

The incident happened in January 2015. Two Swedish graduate students who were biking through campus intervened when they said they saw a man “thrusting” on top of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, the Guardian reported. In March, a jury found Brock Allen Turner, 20, guilty of three counts of sexual assault.

At a hearing on Thursday, Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail, by a judge who said he worried that a longer prison sentence would have “a severe impact on him,” the Guardian reported.

The victim, who told BuzzFeed News she was upset the sentence wasn’t longer, read an emotional statement in court directed at Turner.

“This is not a story of another drunk college hook­up with poor decision making. Assault is not an accident.” she said in the statement, which was published by BuzzFeed News.

“To sit under oath and inform all of us, that yes I wanted it, yes I permitted it, and that you are the true victim attacked by Swedes for reasons unknown to you is appalling, is demented, is selfish, is damaging,” she said. “It is enough to be suffering. It is another thing to have someone ruthlessly working to diminish the gravity of validity of this suffering.”

The woman concluded her statement with a message to other survivors of sexual assault.

“As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, ‘Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.’ Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you,” she said. “To girls everywhere, I am with you.”

Read her complete statement at BuzzFeed News.