Last Thursday, Stanford student Brock Allen Turner received a six-month jail sentence and probation for raping an unconscious, 23-year-old woman that he met at a fraternity party. Two fellow students reportedly stumbled upon Turner moving over the woman’s body as she lay unconscious behind a dumpster. She awoke in the hospital with little recollection of what happened and later — since neither the hospital nor the authorities contacted her — learned the graphic details of her experience through media reports.
After Turner’s conviction, the court decided a six-month sentence was the maximum possible without disrupting his studies and Olympic swimming dreams. Turner’s father had written to the court and argued that any jail time for his son would be “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.” Likewise, one of Turner’s childhood friends penned an equally unfortunate letter to blame political correctness for the entire incident. Both of these parties seem to forget that there’s a real victim in this case, and it isn’t Brock Turner.
Fortunately, CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield gave some power back by revealing the survivor’s own letter — which she read aloud during sentencing — to her attacker. The letter is as harrowing as one can imagine, and Banfield devoted the first half of her Monday show to reciting excerpts from the devastating piece. The anchor even had to stop more than once to gather herself before continuing. The letter begins, “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.” The survivor describes in very graphic detail what happened to her after regaining consciousness and the humiliation she experienced during her rape exam. This particular passage is the least graphic but contains the full depth of emotion:
“After a few hours of this, they let me shower. I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it, I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”
The survivor’s entire letter can be read right here, but Banfield’s reading is gut-wrenching and deserves to be heard. Obviously, what you are about to witness is very harrowing.