She first made headlines for the emotional letter she read at her attacker’s sentencing — in which she described the “severe impact” she suffered as a result of her sexual assault. And now the victim of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner is speaking out again.
The unnamed woman, publicly known as “Emily Doe,” was this week named one of Glamour‘s “Women of the Year”. She penned a new essay for the magazine describing what happened after her statement about Turner went viral.
In her Glamour piece, Doe says she felt relieved after Turner’s trial was over, and she was excited to read her statement at his sentencing.
She says she wanted to declare, “I am here. I am not that floppy thing you found behind the garbage, speaking melted words. I am here, I can stand upright, I can speak clearly, I’ve been listening and am painfully aware of all the hurt you’ve been trying to justify.”
He was released just three months into his controversial six-month sentence for sexually assaulting Doe while she was unconscious outside a frat party in 2015.
When she learned Turner had only been receiving a six-month sentence, Doe says she was speechless.
“I was struck silent,” she writes in Glamour. “Immediately I felt embarrassed for trying, for being led to believe I had any influence. The violation of my body and my being added up to a few months out of his summer. The judge would release him back to his life, back to the 40 people who had written him letters from Ohio.”
The sentencing also brought on anxiety. “I began to panic,” Doe reveals. “I thought, this can’t be the best-case scenario. If this case was meant to set the bar, the bar had been set on the floor.”
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“I had forensic evidence, sober unbiased witnesses, a slurred voice mail, police at the scene. I had everything, and I was still told it was not a slam dunk,” Doe says in Glamour. “I thought, if this is what having it good looks like, what other hells are survivors living? I’m barely getting through this but I am being told I’m the lucky one, some sort of VIP.”
After media outlets picked up her statement at Turner’s sentencing, Doe says she felt nervous about making herself “exposed and vulnerable again.” But the supportive responses she received far surpassed the “trolls” — with letters coming in from across the world.
Even Vice President Joe Biden wrote her, calling her “a warrior” and telling her “you have a steel spine.”
“My body seemed too small to hold what I felt,” she says of her coverage. “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.”
Turner was found guilty on three felony sexual assault charges — each of which carried a minimum sentence of two years in prison. Prosecutors asked that Turner be sentenced to six years, but Judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to six months — stating that he feared a longer sentence would have a “severe impact on [him].”
Doe also addresses Judge Persky, whose decision was widely criticized, in her essay for Glamour. (He has not commented on his ruling.)
“When Judge Aaron Persky mutes the word justice, when Brock Turner serves one month for every felony, we go nowhere,” she writes.
“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.”
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Turner has returned to his hometown in Ohio for his three-year post-jail probation. The former college athlete has been barred from ever stepping foot on Stanford University’s campus and has registered as a sex offender.
He has also been ordered to attend drug and alcohol counseling and a sex offender management program – which requires him to participate in polygraph tests.
He has admitted to having sexual contact with Doe, but maintains that it was consensual.
But Doe’s final message in Glamour is not for Turner. It is for all sexual assault victims — she tells them, “I hope you keep going.”
“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,” Doe says.
“I hope you grow up knowing that the world will no longer stand for this,” she adds. “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.