I don’t know you or anything about who you are as a person. All I know is that Brock Turner violated you in the most horrific, sad, disturbing, violent and upsetting way that I can ever imagine. What he did to you is unfathomable. What he took from you is something that can never be replaced. Who he is as a person is disgusting. But this letter isn’t about him or intended for him; it’s for you.
I don’t know your name, but calling you Faith seems fitting for so many reasons. I have faith that you will get through this. I have faith that you are strong and a survivor, and I have faith that somehow, through all of this, you have opened the world’s eyes to what rape really is and how it truly affects a person.
Your letter was heartbreaking and real and raw. You painted such a clear image of how traumatizing the violation was, and how you were violated over and over again by the legal system. Yet, despite all of that, you managed to connect with millions of people and explain exactly what rape culture is and how victims really feel on every level after being sexually assaulted.
Rape culture is a relatively new term for a thing that has been around for a long time. I never really knew there was a name for it but I’ve always known it has existed. I just saw an example of it recently in a movie I saw with a friend. The movie featured a party scene and two of the actors thought that someone had slipped roofies into their drinks. They tried to play it off as being funny and like they couldn’t feel their tongues. A few people in the theater laughed but all I could do was shake my head in absolute disgust. Why do we, as a society, think that it’s okay to laugh and joke about such a horrific and life altering assault?
And it doesn’t end there. It’s everywhere. It’s telling girls how to dress at school instead of teaching boys how to control themselves and treat women with respect. It’s the legal system implying that a victim of sexual assault somehow asked for it because she drank too much alcohol. It’s in the jokes we hear and the TV shows we watch and is all over social media. These ridiculous memes that imply that women are somehow asking for it, when the reality is, no one has EVER asked for it. Ever. It’s that simple.
Faith, I have an almost two year old daughter and I fear that one day she may be a victim of something awful. Statistics tell me that 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime and that for every 100 incidents of sexual assault; only 6 are reported to police. And of those six that are reported, most don’t even end up with a criminal record because of a lack of evidence.These statistics are sad, depressing and devastating. Our children deserve better than this. YOU deserve better than this.
As a mother, a daughter, a friend, a sister and a woman I know we need to change those dreadful statistics. We need to find a way to break the cycle and stop these senseless and needless assaults. Women should not have to live in a world where they fear what a man might possibly do to them. Women should not have to make the choice between having a few drinks or risk getting assaulted.Women should not be scared to run in the park or walk outside at night. No human should ever think that it’s okay to do anything to another human without consent. We need to change this, Faith.
What happened to you was horrible and unimaginable and unthinkable. I cried so many tears for you. Tears of rage, anger, hopelessness, frustration, shock, sadness and heartbreak. But Faith, your voice was louder. Your words were louder. You have touched me in a way I didn’t know I could feel for another human. A person I have never even met. And there are some things I want you to know.
Your worth is not defined by what he did to you. You will never be defined by another person. Your worth as a human comes from being kind, loving, respectful, strong, courageous and brave. Your worth is never going to be defined by what one coward tried to take from you. Please try to remember this on your darkest days. It will be tough at times, but you need to remember that who you were and who you are, are not defined by that incident.
There are so many people who are standing with you. I’m not a particularly religious person. I believe in a higher power and that life has a purpose. When I read about your story, I began to pray for you. I prayed you could find strength, I prayed that you had lots of family support. I prayed that one day you would be able to find closure. And I know that people all over the world have been doing the same. Please know that millions of people are on your side. We have so much love in our hearts for you and are hoping that you can feel that outpouring of love as you continue to heal.
You can get through this. The pain you are feeling must be crippling. And I know it’s more than just pain. Its fear, doubt, loneliness, depression, anger, rage and isolation. You world was shattered and you are trying to pick up the pieces. But the pieces can be picked up. With therapy, time and support from family and friends, you can move forward. You may not ever feel completely like yourself again, and that’s okay because maybe who you are is different now. But remember that you have strength in your heart, Faith. You have hope. You have love. You have so many amazing things to help you keep going forward. Please don’t ever stop going forward. And always remember that you are a survivor, not a victim.
Faith, I know that my words may not be the comfort you need right now, but I had to write them. I want you to know that there are people in the world who love you and care about you and want you to find some type of closure through all of this. The justice system failed you, Faith. And by failing you, it failed women everywhere. It failed every victim of sexual assault, it failed every woman who never bothered reporting because of such a flawed system and it failed a younger generation. But if there’s one thing I know, Faith, it’s that your message did not go unheard. Your words impacted millions of people. Your strength brought the entire world a message of hope. Hope that we can somehow, as a society, move forward and impose tougher sentences for sexual assault. Hope that we can end this disgusting display of rape culture and hope that our children, our babies, our daughters, can one day live in a world where they don’t have to worry about having their innocence stolen from them.
Faith, he stole 20 minutes from you. Don’t let him take one more.
With love and support from another survivor;