FORT MYERS, Fla.- The decision of a California judge to sentence a Stanford University athlete to six months in jail for sexual assault sparked outrage around the country, including here in Southwest Florida where a group of women are advocating on behalf of the victim.
Brock Turner, 20, was convicted last week of attacking a woman he met at a fraternity party in January 2015. In court, the now 23-year-old victim read a powerful statement directed at Turner that has since gone viral online.
In the letter, the victim begins by saying:
Your Honor, if it is all right, for the majority of this statement I would like to address the defendant directly.
You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.
“We’re all Emily Doe,” said Caitlynn Crawford of Naples. “My mother, my sister, my grandmother, your mother, your sister, your grandmother.”
Together, the group of women recorded themselves reading portions of the impact statement that has been shared thousands of times on social media.
On that morning, all that I was told was that I had been found behind a dumpster…
“It was very emotional,” said Annette Trossbach who often holds social outreach nights at the Laboratory Theater in downtown Fort Myers. “They were stunned at how well-written the letter was and how heartfelt and how detailed.”
I learned what happened to me the same time everyone else in the world learned what happened to me.
The words and emotions in the victim’s letter which Tamara Paquette described as “eloquent” and “dignified” were felt by women across the country.
Wednesday night, the group helped give a voice to survivors of sexual assault.
“The sad statistic of one in four women by the time they graduate college will be sexually assaulted is deplorable,” Crawford said.
“Women should feel safe walking down the street on their own. They should feel safe going to college. It’s a learning institution, not somewhere where they have to protect themselves,” Crawford added.
If you’d like to join the movement, the women will also be reading the victim’s statement on Saturday outside a number of public places throughout the day.