image: Stanford University

Brock Turner’s Sexual Assault Victim Ignored by Stanford in Creation of Memorial Plaque at the Site of Her Own Rape

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Lest you think that, in the era of #MeToo, organizations and institutions are getting better at handling the victims of sexual assault and ensuring that their anti-harassment/assault efforts are victim-focused, institutions are are proving that we still have a long way to go on that front.

Stanford University, home of the Cardinals, a respected academic press, and one of the most ignominious sexual assault cases of recent years, has decided to try and “commemorate” the site where student Brock Turner raped “Emily Doe” behind a dumpster by installing decorative paving stones where the dumpster used to be, two benches, and a fountain.

“Doe” was going to supply a quote for a “memorial plaque” (what died? Her “virtue?” Her ability to trust anyone? America?) that would be placed at the site. Her involvement is the only reason why I would think any of this is remotely acceptable. It seems strange to me to begin with to mark the spot where a rape happened with benches and a fountain. The only way this move makes sense is if it stands as the continued survival and thriving of “Doe,” who will hopefully move forward from this harrowing experience as best she can and go on with her life.

Except that she’s now no longer involved, because Stanford rejected her attempts at a quote.

As reported by Jezebel, “Stanford reportedly rejected two of her suggested quotations, both pulled from her famously heart-rending victim’s statement.” After those rejections, the university decided to just choose the quote from her statement themselves. The quote they went with?

“I’m okay, everything’s okay.”

image: 20th Century Fox Famke Janssen as Jean Grey

So, they discount the actual victim’s actual contribution to the site marking the spot of her own rape, then choose the most milquetoast, inoffensive quote from her statement completely out of context? What the hell is going on over there at Stanford?

Professor Michele Dauber, who is spearheading this re-landscaping, said to the Stanford Daily, “Stanford instead suggested their own alternatives including one that featured the out-of-context phrase ‘I’m okay, everything’s okay.’ Given the situation, Emily felt the best course was to decline to participate in the memorial plaque.”

So, they’re gonna stop this, right? They’re gonna just let it be an empty space, sans dumpster? Were they just looking for an excuse to get to put a fountain there?

This entire thing just feels weird to me. “Memorial” sites are generally reserved for, you know, people we’re memorializing (ie: they’re dead). Emily isn’t dead. So, what exactly is this for? Whom or what purpose is this supposed to serve?

I get wanting to re-landscape the area. No one necessarily wants THE dumpster around reminding all passersby of THE area where IT happened. However, to treat it like a “memorial” with a plaque just feels macabre and cheap to me. Especially without Emily’s participation.

Should Stanford put up a plaque at all? What do you all think?

(via Jezebel, image: Stanford University)

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Author
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.