She’s not a victim. She’s a survivor.
That’s what the woman who was sexually assaulted by former Stanford University student Brock Turner wants you to know about her.
The woman known as Emily Doe broke her silence in an essay for Glamour magazine, which named her its woman of the year.
It’s the first time she’s spoken publicly since she delivered her gut-wrenching impact statement at Turner’s June sentencing. The outcome sparked widespread outrage, a campaign to recall the judge in the case, a change in California sentencing law, and a hard alcohol ban on Stanford’s campus.
Doe was excited to face Turner in court and declare “I am here,” she wrote. She knew that despite having forensic evidence and unbiased witnesses her case was not quite a slam dunk.
When Judge Aaron Persky announced the sentence she was “struck silent,” she said.
“I was embarrassed for trying, for being led to believe I had any influence.”
Then, her statement went viral.
She received messages from Vice President Joe Biden and people as far as India and Botswana. She also got gifts of paintings, pictures and bicycle earrings, a symbol of the men on bicycles who interrupted the attack.
Her words were read aloud on the floor of the US House of Representatives and on CNN.
“My body seemed too small to hold what I felt,” she wrote.
Amid the support, one comment from the beginning of her ordeal haunted her: “Sad. I hope my daughter never ends up like her.”
But, she said, as the reaction to her letter shows, the assault did not mark the end of her story.
“… 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,” she said.