Glamour just named Emily Doe, the Stanford sexual assault survivor, one of the magazine’s Women of the Year. (Doe is an anonymous pseudonym to protect her identity and safety.)
She first garnered the public’s attention with the moving victim-impact statement she gave at the sentencing for her attacker, Brock Turner. In the statement, she said, “This is not a story of another drunk college hookup with poor decision making. Assault is not an accident.” Sadly, we all know how the sentencing went. Turner spent just three months behind bars.
As Doe reflected on all the media coverage from the high-profile sexual assault case, she says one comment really affected her. It’s when a mother said, “I hope my daughter never ends up like her.” She writes about that comment in another stunningly candid essay in Glamour. Here’s an excerpt:
I absorbed that statement. Ends up. As if we end somewhere, as if what was done to me marked the completion of my story. Instead of being a role model to be looked up to, I was a sad example to learn from, a story that caused you to shield your daughter’s eyes and shake your heads with pity. But when my letter was published, 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.
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. When Judge Aaron Persky mutes the word justice, when Brock Turner serves one month for every felony, we go nowhere. 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.
So now to the one who said, I hope my daughter never ends up like her, I am learning to say, I hope you end up like me, meaning, I hope you end up like me strong. I hope you end up like me proud of who I’m becoming. I hope you don’t “end up,” I hope you keep going. And I hope you grow up knowing that the world will no longer stand for this. 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.”
To read the entire essay, click here.