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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Emily Doe Speaks out as Glamour's Woman of the Year

The following is Emily Doe's Exclusive Statement to Glamour Magazine

*It started with a simple sentence: “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.” Maybe you read the powerful words—part of a “victim’s impact statement” the young woman who’d been sexually assaulted at Stanford University had prepared to read to her attacker in court. The facts of the case were harrowing: On January 18, 2015, after a party, “Emily Doe,” as she came to be called, had been sexually assaulted by freshman Brock Turner as she lay unconscious behind a dumpster; two men passing by on bicycles saw the crime and tackled Turner as he ran away.

But it was Doe’s take-no-prisoners telling of what happened afterward—the relentless victim-blaming; the favoring of Turner, a student athlete—that changed the conversation about sexual assault forever. “Future reference, if you are confused about whether a girl can consent, see if she can speak an entire sentence,” she wrote to Turner. And this: “I am not just a drunk victim at a frat party…while you are the All American swimmer at a top university…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.”

After Turner was convicted last spring, the judge sentenced him to just six months, saying anything more would have “a severe impact on him.” But Doe’s words circled the globe. Within four days her statement had been viewed 11 million times; it was read aloud on CNN and the floor of Congress. Rape hotlines experienced surges in both calls and offers of volunteer help. And importantly, California closed the loophole that had allowed lighter sentences in cases where the victim is unconscious or severely intoxicated. We all know the statistics: One out of every six females will have someone rape her—or attempt to. Doe sent those women a message: I am with you. Glamour is honored to name Emily Doe a Woman of the Year; here, for the first time, she tells what happened next. —Cindi Leive

From the beginning, I was told I was a best case scenario.

I had forensic evidence, sober un­biased witnesses, a slurred voice mail, police at the scene. I had everything, and I was still told it was not a slam dunk. I thought, if this is what having it good looks like, what other hells are survivors living? I’m barely getting through this but I am being told I’m the lucky one, some sort of VIP. It was like being checked into a hotel room for a year with stained sheets, rancid water, and a bucket with an attendant saying, No this is great! Most rooms don’t even have a bucket.

After the trial I was relieved thinking the hardest part was over, and all that was left was the sentencing. I was excited to finally be given a chance to read my statement and declare, I am here. I am not that floppy thing you found behind the garbage, speaking melted words. I am here, I can stand upright, I can speak clearly, I’ve been listening and am painfully aware of all the hurt you’ve been trying to justify.

I yelled half of my statement. So when it was quickly announced that he’d be receiving six months, I was struck silent. 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. The judge would release him back to his life, back to the 40 people who had written him letters from Ohio. I began to panic; I thought, this can’t be the best case ­scenario. If this case was meant to set the bar, the bar had been set on the floor.

The morning after the sentencing, my phone screen was stacked with texts and I turned it over saying, not today, on this day I deserve to sleep. My phone kept ringing and I learned that BuzzFeed was waiting for my permission to publish my court statement in full. As soon as it was posted, I remember thinking, what have I done, making myself exposed and vulnerable again. I texted my sister when it hit 20,000 views, thinking that was it, the comments were actually quite nice, and I closed my computer.

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.

When I received an e-mail that Joe Biden had written me a letter I was sitting in my pajamas eating some cantaloupe. You are a warrior. I looked around my room, who is he talking to. You have a steel spine, I touched my spine. I printed his letter out and ran around the house flapping it in the air.

There was, of course, the wee sprinkle of trolls. Some photos of me leaked and someone said, “She’s not pretty enough to have been raped.” In response I say, damn I wish the world could see me. I wish you could see my big, beautiful head and huge eyes. Perhaps now you are at home imagining me looking like some sort of bloated owl. That’s all right.

When Ashleigh Banfield read my letter on the news I sat stunned watching her speak my words, imagining them being spoken on every television set in the nation. Watching women and men at Gracie Mansion, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, girls in their rooms, gathered together to read each segment, holding my words in their voices. My body seemed too small to hold what I felt.

In the very beginning of it all in 2015, one comment managed to lodge harmfully inside me: Sad. I hope my daughter never ends up like her.

I absorbed that statement. Ends up. As if we end somewhere, as if what was done to me marked the completion of my story. Instead of being a role model to be looked up to, I was a sad example to learn from, a story that caused you to shield your daughter’s eyes and shake your heads with pity. But when my letter was published, no one turned away. No one said I’d rather not look, it’s too much, or too sad. Everyone pushed through the hard parts, saw me fully to the end, and embraced every feeling.

If you think the answer is that women need to be more sober, more civil, more upright, that girls must be better at exercising fear, must wear more layers with eyes open wider, we will go nowhere. When Judge Aaron Persky mutes the word justice, when Brock Turner serves one month for every felony, we go nowhere. When we all make it a priority to avoid harming or violating another human being, and when we hold accountable those who do, when the campaign to recall this judge declares that survivors deserve better, then we are going somewhere.

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.

“Emily Doe” has chosen to remain anonymous.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sexual Assault at the Smithsonian

On June 3rd 2011, Angie Doe went to student/Staff happy hour. This is where she encountered Miguel Pinto. The two didn't know each other well but after a bit of conversation Pinto asked to borrow her phone. Angie agreed and went to use a nearby bathroom. When she returned she found Pinto accessing the internet on her phone. She angrily asked for the phone back. According to reports from The Verge
"He suddenly grabbed her buttocks. Shocked, she grabbed the phone and ran back into the happy hour. "It was absolutely terrifying to have a near stranger’s hands on my body," Angie says. "He had lured me into an isolated space. I was overtaken by fear since I had no idea what was going to happen next. When I ran away I didn’t know if he was going to follow me."
In emails to the publication Pinto admits to the details of the evening. He even admits to using the phone as a lure to get her away from other party goers. Pinto asserts that Angie was laughing and chatting with him, and that she was flirting with him. According to pinto
"I got nervous on how to respond to her flirting signals and I grab her behinds."
Angie however was not flirting. Laughing and chatting are what social events are for and even if she was flirting, why did he not ask for her phone number or ask her on a date instead?According to other female scientists who know him Pinto is very socially awkward and creepy. A former student even went so far as to say
" he had a reputation as a man you didn't want to be cornered by at a party."

The very next day Angie went to her adviser at the Smithsonian and reported the allegations against Pinto. Both Angie and the Adviser thought that their report to the EEO specialist Shandella Davis would constitute an official report. It did not. The Smithsonian follows federal guidelines for sexual assault reporting and Angie was supposed to have been referred to a specific SI office within 45 days to report her assault officially. Angie and her adviser were not aware of this stipulation and no one including the EEO officer Shandella Davis informed them of this. The lack of an official report would cause many problems for Angie in the upcoming months.

Over the next few months Angie met with several administrators and to her dismay the administrators ganged up on her. She met with Sangray, Cones and other administrators including Eric Woodward former Hillary Clinton aide. She was repeatedly told it was a misunderstanding. Angie recalls that Woodward even cited his association with Clinton as proof he was pro woman while repeating Pintos excuse that it was all a misunderstanding. She was then referred to Chandra Heilman, The Smithsonian ombudsman. Heilman told Angie repeatedly that Miguel Pinto is a great scientist and that this was his only incident of misconduct.

According to The Verge
"The administrators eventually realized they had to do something. In a lengthy email dated August 13th, 2014, Sangrey laid out a series of restrictions that could be put on Pinto’s movements in the museum, including specifying certain exits and entrances that he would use. But she also cautioned Angie to "avoid the areas where you would most likely find Miguel." Sangrey told Angie to "give us a heads up" if she wanted to attend an event where Pinto might be present. And on January 5th, 2015, after Angie told Sangrey that she would be in the museum for most of the following March, Sangrey emailed her that security would be alerted, "so you’re covered."

However on March 8 just before Angie was supposed to return to the Smithsonian Helgen sent an email to the administrators involved stressing the incident of sexual assault as "poor judgement and a mortifying misunderstanding" Helgen also included that he does not believe Miguel would act inappropriately again and that he had advised pinto to stay away from Angie however according to Tracey Cones the administration cannot restrict what events people could and could not attend at the Smithsonian.

On March 13, Angie attended another social gathering thrown by the institute and suddenly found Miguel standing right behind her. Angie reported the incident and Pinto was made to meet with Helgen. In this meeting he was reminded to adhere to professional behavior and was given a copy of the SI's harassment guidelines. This wasn't the end of the Smithsonian Institutes leniency for Pinto. According to reports from the verge
"The following June, when NMNH administrators realized that she would soon be returning, there was another flurry of emails. Brian Huber — then the chair of the paleobiology department, where the happy hours were held — wrote to Angie on June 8th, assuring her that "Miguel will be told he cannot set foot in Paleo again and that this issue will not just go away."
But by June 19th, Huber had apparently changed his mind. In an email addressed to Angie’s adviser and copied to Sangrey, Cones, and Helgen, he wrote: "Your statement assumes that Miguel Pinto is a sexual predator, but we don’t really know what happened. The fact that [Angie] did not file a report with the security office or police and did not claim that a ‘sexual assault’ occurred until long after their encounter is problematic." Huber added that "we need to be careful that we do not go too far and violate Miguel Pinto’s rights while at the same time [helping Angie] feel that she should not feel threatened when she is here."
Angie reported all these incidents to the Smithsonian's office of the inspector general who found no violations of Smithsonian policies had occurred.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Victim Impact Statement from Sean Salaber Rape Case

(File photo courtesy of the Orange County Sheriff's Department)

The inconsistencies in his story are unmistakable, and at times, laughable.
So when it has been confirmed that he has lied countless times, why are we now taking him at his word when he said he intended to rob me? ... ...

It was not my imagination, or an exaggeration, that caused me to fear rape. It was living through the nightmare of having a monster wait for me, chase me, tackle me from behind, grope me, hold a gun to my head, and try to cover my mouth while on top of me. Assault is not an accident. -- Setting him free before he steps foot in a prison misses the mark on justice substantially. Releasing someone like him with a slap on the wrist falsely communicates that he is the victor. Men like him are never the victors.
In fact, neither perpetrators nor victims have victory when the justice system fails to react justly. - But guess what? He underestimated me. He saw a lean 5’7 woman and he saw someone he could dominate. Think again. I outwitted him at his own game. I felt his gun pressed against my head, and without a weapon, I fearlessly fought back anyway. I out-screamed him when he tried to cover my mouth. I drew the attention of the witnesses by refusing to believe that this was my fate. And better yet, I refused to buy into the idea that he wins today or ever. He chose the wrong girl.

Not only did he choose a fighter, he chose an advocate.

I never knew how strong I was until strong was the only choice I had. Seven months to the day after my back surgery, I completed my first marathon. Less than a year after he assaulted me during my
jog, I chose to make running my victory, outlet, and testimony. I’ve taken away his power and now it’s in my hands, and my feet. I will continue to use my strength to fight against evil like him. And I will use my strength to empower other victims, prevent future attacks, and ensure that sociopaths like him serve the time they have earned while wearing the lifetime “Sex Offender” badge they deserve. I am asking you today to ensure that he wears that badge.