The 'Girls' Cast Supports The Stanford Assault Survivor With A PSA That Powerfully Echoes Her Sentiments — VIDEO
On Thursday, June 2, there was an uproar across the nation as California Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Brock Turner to six months in county jail and probation for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman at Stanford University in January 2015. The sentence is viewed by many as too light, as Turner faced a maximum 14-year sentence. According to the judge, "A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him … I think he will not be a danger to others." The disappointing sentencing garnered negative attention and showed how alive rape culture is. Now, many individuals are speaking out in support and defense of sexual assault victims. For example, the Girls cast is supporting the Stanford sexual assault survivor with an extremely powerful PSA that echoes the Stanford survivor's own message.
Girls star and creator Lena Dunham took to Twitter Wednesday and tweeted about the PSA, "I dedicate this to the brave survivor in the Stanford case who has given so much to change the conversation." Alongside Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, and Jemima Kirke take a stand for sexual assault victims. They open up the video by stating how, according to the CDC, 1 in 5 girls are sexually assaulted in their lifetime, with 80 percent of those cases committed by somebody they already know. They also reveal another astonishing statistic in that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
"So, why is our default reaction as a society to disbelieve, or to silence, or to shame?" they ask. Mamet adds, "What if we chose to turn toward those in need, instead of away?"
All four women are there to represent the solidarity and support all sexual assault survivors should be able to find. As Williams says, "You already have the power to create a safer, healthier environment for women to come forward." They also emphasize that you shouldn't just support, listen, or take action because a sexual assault victim is someone's daughter, girlfriend, or sister, but because "she is someone" herself.
Sexual assault victims are people who have a voice, should be respected, and should be heard. On Tuesday, the Stanford assault survivor spoke out via the prosecutor of the case in a statement released to KTVU. It reads:
I remain anonymous, yes to protect my identity.But it is also a statement, that all of these people are fighting for someone they don't know.That's the beauty of it. I don't need labels, categories, to prove I am worthy of respect, to prove that I should be listened to.I am coming out to you as simply a woman wanting to be heard.Yes there is plenty more I'd like to tell you about me.For now, I am every woman.
Thanks to both the Girls cast and the Stanford sexual assault survivor, an important step is being taken when it comes to changing the conversation about rape culture. If you've yet to read the Stanford assault survivor's letter she read to Turner in court, please take the time to do so. Like the above PSA, it speaks volumes about sexual assault, especially since it comes from a firsthand account. Here's how she concludes her letter:
And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.
Before being sentenced to six months in jail, in March 2016, a jury convicted 20-year-old Turner and found him guilty on three accounts of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.
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