Emily Doe named Glamour’s Woman of the Year
The Stanford sexual assault survivor focused on the aftermath in her most recent anonymous essay
by Grace Dong
Glamour has named Emily Doe a Woman of the Year in support of her candor that changed the conversation around sexual assault.
Emily Doe, who was sexually assaulted on January 18, 2015 at Stanford University by freshman Brock Turner while she was unconscious, released an essay about her experience following the rape and Turner’s short six-month sentence.
In the essay released yesterday, Doe’s words have a different focus than her previous in-court statement, highlighting the aftermath and reactions to Turner’s meager sentence.
Doe writes that much of the response was supportive and positive: “I started getting e-mails forwarded to me from Botswana to Ireland to India. I received watercolor paintings of lighthouses and bicycle earrings. A woman who plucked a picture of her young daughter from the inside of her cubicle wrote, This is who you’re saving.”
Similarly, Stanford student Lauren Zhu, 17, Undeclared, said, “Finally being a college student and experiencing frat party culture makes me truly aware that anything can happen. I feel connected to her and her mission. It was beautiful seeing how strong she is now, as not just a victim but a survivor with so much potential to grow. I think this conversation is only going to get more fired up as everyone rallies behind her. I mean, how could it not turn even more in her favor after this? Her writing is gut-wrenching. It strikes our hearts.”
However, Doe writes that she received comments like, “I hope my daughter never ends up like her,” that made her feel like an unfortunate outcome, a cautionary tale. In response, Doe comes back stronger than ever saying:
“So now to the one who said, I hope my daughter never ends up like her, I am learning to say, I hope you end up like me, meaning, I hope you end up like me strong. I hope you end up like me proud of who I’m becoming. I hope you don’t “end up,” I hope you keep going. And I hope you grow up knowing that the world will no longer stand for this. Victims are not victims, not some fragile, sorrowful aftermath. Victims are survivors, and survivors are going to be doing a hell of a lot more than surviving.”
Doe writes about how the words that made her feel powerful while speaking in court seemed to be ineffectual in the end:
“Immediately I felt embarrassed for trying, for being led to believe I had any influence. The violation of my body and my being added up to a few months out of his summer.”
Her words had far more weight outside of the courtroom than in — her letter to Turner was viewed 11 million times within four days and read aloud on CNN and in Congress. California passed a rape bill that closed the loophole that allowed Turner’s light sentence. Governor Jerry Brown approved it, along with several other pieces of legislation designed to help rape victims seek justice, in late September.
Read the entire essay here.