A dumpster site at Stanford University where infamous swimmer Brock Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious young woman, who goes with the pseudonym “Emily Doe,” has been transformed in a tranquil memorial to honor the rape survivor and serve the community.
Turner attacked Doe outside a fraternity party in 2015, attacking her so violently he had to be pulled off by witnesses. He was sentenced to six months in jail — this was an insignificant punishment to say the least, when compared to the atrocious crime he committed. He was released within three months, leaving Doe devastated.
“I am not just a drunk victim at a frat party,” the survivor, who chose to keep her identity a secret, wrote in her 12-page statement during the trial. “I am a human being who has been irreversibly hurt...You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
“You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again,” she wrote.
“You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did. If you think I was spared, came out unscathed, that today I ride off into sunset, while you suffer the greatest blow, you are mistaken. Nobody wins. We have all been devastated, we have all been trying to find some meaning in all of this suffering. Your damage was concrete? stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
Although Turner’s victim will suffer through the trauma of the ordeal forever, the dumpster site where she was raped is no more there. Instead, it has been transformed in a beautiful garden, marked by benches and fountains, serving as a memorial for Doe.
The tranquil site was proposed by Michele Landis Dauber, a professor of law and sociology at Stanford who was a family friend of the survivor.
"I felt that the dumpster had become a symbol of campus rape and that to leave the space without interpretation would invite fear and confusion on the part of vulnerable students," Dauber told The HuffPost, noting the new space "invites a response that centers on the experience of the survivor and allows students to grapple with those events in a meaningful way.”
Dauber wanted to do something positive for the survivor. Stanford approved her idea and the dumpster was removed, soon a sign will be featuring a portion of Doe’s letter.
“While many students are holding back to speak up about this memorial, I am very in favor of its construction,” said Alexis Lynn Kallen, a student at Stanford University, who supports the new site, while speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle. “I think building the memorial in the form of a park was successful in serving as a reminder of the dangers of violence, but will not be too triggering to survivors or people walking by.”
“Many parties happen in this area, where sexual assault often occurs, and I think it is important to remember the horrible sexual assaults that have happened and continue to happen at Stanford. It is my hope that this will be a reminder of the importance of consent and respect that we need to work towards on this campus, and the battle we are constantly fighting against campus sexual assault,” she added.
For Dauber, the project’s leader, the contemplative space not only helps promote healing but also serves as a reminder of what happened for years to come.
“This marker will remain as a reminder of both what happened here and the impact it had on her and on Stanford,” she said.
Thumbnail / Banner : Reuters, Elijah Nouvelage