[trigger warning] Dear Brock Turner’s Assault Victim

longform-original-20743-1464984300-5TRIGGER WARNING This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.

I’m not ready to share my story, but reading yours helps me and, no doubt, countless others who have experienced something similar.

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I’m not ready to say that the criminal case never went to trial, thrown out just after a judge deemed there was enough evidence to move forward, but the Tennessee Shelby County District Attorney decided there wasn’t.

I’m not ready to talk about how the civil case stopped because I ran out of money.

I’m not ready to speak on the details of the rape. Of being unconscious. Of being hospitalized. Of being cross examined. Of nightmares and triggers and trauma and weakness and breaking.

But you did.

And I’m so relieved that you did.

One night in January 2015, two Stanford University graduate students biking across campus spotted a freshman thrusting his body on top of an unconscious, half-naked woman behind a dumpster. This March, a California jury found the former student, 20-year-old Brock Allen Turner, guilty of three counts of sexual assault. Turner faced a maximum of 14 years in state prison. On Thursday, he was sentenced to six months in county jail and probation. The judge said he feared a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner, a champion swimmer who once aspired to compete in the Olympics — a point repeatedly brought up during the trial.

On Thursday, Turner’s victim addressed him directly, detailing the severe impact his actions had on her — from the night she learned she had been assaulted by a stranger while unconscious, to the grueling trial during which Turner’s attorneys argued that she had eagerly consented.

The woman, now 23, told BuzzFeed News she was disappointed with the “gentle” sentence and angry that Turner still denied sexually assaulting her.

“Even if the sentence is light, hopefully this will wake people up,” she said. “I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire. If anything, this is a reason for all of us to speak even louder.”

Thank you for speaking out. For reporting it. For following through. For fighting back. For continuing the conversation. For inspiring others.

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For helping me speak even louder.

Soon.

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