GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – A Twin Cities woman knows all too well what the victim in the Stanford sexual assault case has gone through.
Sarah Super was raped by her ex-boyfriend, Alec Neal, last February. Super said she was horrified to see that former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
“It actually made me sick to my stomach to see how this person could be found guilty and be obviously guilty of a human rights abuse and be let off so easily,” said Super.
"I've been pleased to see the amount of outrage surrounding this. But, I can also say that it is very representative of what most survivors experience; actually, that even in my own experience, I watched my own rapist's family ask their community to write letters about Alec's good character. And, so, it goes beyond just loving a son and saying ‘I'm going to stand and support the rapist,’" described Super.
Brock Turner’s father, Dan Turner, wrote a letter to the judge that said his son shouldn’t be penalized for “20 minutes of action.”
"I think when we fail to support the survivor, when we use words like ‘20 min of action’ instead of just naming that my son raped someone, that we are that is the perpetuation of rape culture," said Super. "With the invalidation and the words used to describe the experience. When you see people standing with the perpetrator it's not only standing with Brock Turner, it's standing with all our perpetrators."
Super worries about the impact the Stanford case could have on other women if they’re sexually assaulted.
"I think it is experiences like this where, why would survivors expect the courts to hold people accountable? And, in the very rare experience, that three percent, where a perpetrator is actually held accountable, we see there is a lenience towards people who fall under specific social identities such as being white, such as being from a wealthy family," expressed Super.
“Race plays a huge component. The outcome of so many court cases, and particularly sexual violence, people want to believe that white men aren't criminals. The nature of white privilege seems to be that whiteness equals goodness. And, that's simply not true," said Super.
Super said reading the Stanford victim’s impact statement was excruciating.
"I think her words are powerful beyond measure and I would say she is strong and courageous and inspiring to so many of us," described Super.
Sarah’s assault was February of 2015. Since then she has been rallying for other survivors. She started a project called Break the Silence Day, a photo project which allows survivors to be public about being a survivor.
The night of Wednesday, June 8 there will be an event at Cornerstone. It is free to take part. Women can have their pictures taken and share their personal stories.
She also has a private Facebook page for those who wish to make their journey in a more silent way. Sarah is also working on a memorial to sexual violence victims that will be placed in Boom Island Park in Minneapolis. That project should be complete before 2017.