Despite the incredibly powerful letter addressed to her attacker that was read in court and subsequently went viral, the anonymous victim of the infamous Stanford rape case was quickly buried by the media’s attention on her convicted rapist, Brock Turner. Frankly, this isn’t all too surprising since her identity remains sealed by the court, whereas Turner’s name and face have been splashed all over the place in an endless cavalcade of coverage. One could argue this is a form of justice, for it allows the public to condemn the former star swimmer in a manner that’s far more severe than his lenient sentence. Yet this also turns Turner into a celebrity of sorts, and that’s not a good thing.
Maybe that’s why, among many other personal and public reasons, Vice President Joe Biden implicitly acknowledged the Stanford rape survivor’s famous letter by writing an open one addressed to her, which was published exclusively by BuzzFeed: “I do not know your name — but your words are forever seared on my soul. Words that should be required reading for men and women of all ages,” he writes. “Words that I wish with all of my heart you never had to write.”
Biden, whose office drafted and spearheaded the signing of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act by President Bill Clinton, is no stranger to the cause. In addition to that particular law and its 2005 re-authorization, the vice president has also been one of the most public faces of the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign — President Barack Obama’s initiative against non-consensual sex, sexual assault and the current culture that accepts these and other injustices as commonplace.