Sexual assault survivor's powerful message heard worldwide

Convicted sex offender Brock Allen Turner
Convicted sex offender Brock Allen Turner

A sexual assault victim's powerful statement to her attacker on the day of what many are calling his lenient sentencing is gaining worldwide attention.

Brock Allen Turner, a 20-year-old former Stanford University student, attacked the now 23-year-old woman in January 2015 while she was unconscious and in a public place. He only stopped when two other students came to the victim's aid.

Although he faced a maximum of 14 years in state prison, Turner was sentenced to six months in a county jail and probation.

The judge said handing down a longer sentence would have a "severe impact" on Turner, a champion swimmer.

Turner blamed his own intoxication for the attack and claimed that the encounter was consensual, despite being convicted of three felonies: assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.

The woman calls his "gentle" sentence a "mockery" and hopes releasing her statement will "wake people up".

Printed in full on, reprinted partially on multiple websites and shared thoroughly on social media, the more than 7000 word statement sheds light on what advocates say is an epidemic of sexual violence and rape culture on US college campuses.

"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 ... is appalling, is demented, is selfish, is damaging. It is enough to be suffering. It is another thing to have someone ruthlessly working to diminish the gravity of validity of this suffering," she writes.

"A year or less in county jail is a soft time-out, a mockery of the seriousness of [the] assaults, an insult to me and all women. It gives the message that a stranger can be inside you without proper consent and he will receive less than what has been defined as the minimum sentence."

The woman had almost no recollection at all of the attack and only learned about many details in a news article, in which Turner claimed she "liked it".

"It's like if you were to read an article where a car was hit, and found dented, in a ditch. But maybe the car enjoyed being hit. Maybe the other car didn't mean to hit it, just bump it up a little bit. Cars get in accidents all the time, people aren't always paying attention, can we really say who's at fault," her statement reads.

"After I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he's really good at swimming."

The statement concludes with thanks to her rescuers and supporters, before a final message of solidarity to other victims.

"To girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought every day for you," she writes.

"Never stop fighting."