When talking about the Stanford woman who provided the letter she read to her attacker during sentencing to be published for the world to see, it's easy to get caught up in the details of the case. But how can you show support for the woman sexually assaulted by Brock Turner in this time steeped in milquetoast analyses of affluenzic sentences and callous, tone deaf op-eds? Is there any action that we, as women, as supporters, or as people who generally respect human dignity — who fought back tears and uncontrollably fist-pumped the strength etched into her 12-page impact letter to Turner and the judge who was so dismissive of her suffering — can do to express our solidarity with her and with other survivors?
The answer is a confounding yes and no. We can shout. We can try to educate people on the absolute ubiquity of women being sexually targeted. We can post on social media and share the daylights out of the stories surrounding this case. We can condemn the flippant language of rape culture used by Turner’s father, lamenting his son’s forever-lost love of ribeye in the wake of being caught raping an unconscious women behind a dumpster. But in light of the obvious holes in our culture's understanding of rape and sexual assault, what else can we do to divine any sort of awareness or progress from this woman’s experience of suffering and grappling with life after assault?
1. Speak up
It's important to show the world that we will not tolerate sexual assault of any kind, no matter who is involved. Apparently, the world will never take the glaring problem of rape culture seriously until we stand up and admit that no person ever deserves to be a victim. Speak up. It should not be embarrassing. We’ve all got your back.
2. Change your Facebook or Twitter picture
Twibbon has a Sexual Assault Awareness ribbon that you can add to your Facebook or Twitter picture much like people did with the French flag after the November attacks in Paris. Use your most visible images on social media to express your solidarity with this Stanford rape survivor and others, and show that you emphatically do not support victim-blaming posts.
3. Sign a petition (there are a lot)
Did you know that Aaron Persky, the Santa Clara County judge who issued the six month county jail sentence for Brock Turner’s felony rape conviction, is running unopposed for his seat, Seat 18 in an election tomorrow, Tuesday June 7? If you believe that a judge who thinks that convicted sex offenders should be spared the “severe impact” of serving real jail time, you can sign this petition to have Persky removed. If you believe that the sentencing in this case should be reviewed, there’s a petition for that as well. Other petitions on this subject are available on change.org.
4. Send a letter to The Stanford Daily... or any newspaper for that matter
The Stanford Daily published an op-ed by a senior on May 26 which opposed Turner’s incarceration on account of the fact that prison time “too often causes massive trauma and psychological damage,” and that there’s already been a “huge blow to his reputation online, which will haunt him for the rest of his life.” If that doesn't exactly sit well, send your own opinion piece to media outlets and see if they’re as open to publishing a piece highlighting the “massive trauma and psychological damage” brought on by being assaulted while unconscious.