Sexual Assault Survivor Writes Letter to Stanford Rape Victim: ‘I Understand’
Sexual Assault Survivor Writes Letter to Stanford Rape Victim: ‘I Understand’

In the aftermath of the public outrage and media storm over a judge’s decision to hand down a 6-month sentence to Stanford University student Brock Turner who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, a sex crime survivor spoke out in a letter to the victim.

Delaney Henderson, 21, wrote an emotional letter, which she then posted on her Facebook, remembering the trauma she experienced and offering support to the 23-year-old Stanford victim, who has not identified herself.

“I know what it feels like to have a school and the justice system completely fail you. I felt like my attacker, like yours, only received a slap on the wrist for raping me,” Henderson wrote. 

Turner was convicted in March of sexually assaulting the woman behind a dumpster on campus after a party. He was sentenced to 6 months in county jail and 2 years probation earlier this month.

“There was not enough justice for you when your attacker received such a lenient sentence. They took so much from us, and justice has not been served for the pain we continue to feel every day,” Henderson added.

Henderson said she was 16 when two fellow classmates assaulted her. “I know nothing can change the way you feel or the way you have been hurt. I know this because on June 3, 2011, I was raped, taken advantage of, humiliated, and robbed of my self-worth and innocence,” Henderson said in the post.

She related her own experience to the unnamed victim’s experience.

“Two older, wealthier and more popular boys from my Catholic high school in California assaulted me in my own bedroom. The physical pain was bad enough, but the emotional toll I endured after the assault is what truly broke me,” she wrote.

What helped her, Henderson wrote, is finding solidarity in the organization Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment (PAVE), which is a non-profit organization for sexual assault victims.

Henderson thanked the Stanford victim: “I admire you for your relentless spirit and noble voice. I hope you realize that you’ve given a sense of hope to every survivor out there, who has never thought they could win. Your courage and strength will continue to change lives.”

This week, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen proposed legislation that would toughen penalties for sexually assaulting an unconscious person, The San Jose Mercury News reported.

“Why—under the law—is a sexual assault of an unconscious woman less terrible than that of a conscious woman?” Rosen asked in a news conference outside the Palo Alto courthouse where Turner’s trial took place. “Is it less degrading? Is it less traumatic?”

His proposal would be a mandatory prison sentence of 3 to 8 years for the rape or sexual assault of a conscious person by force.

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