Following re-landscaping outside the Kappa Alpha house, a stone-lined area with two benches and a fountain has replaced the dumpster by which Brock Turner raped a woman. The space was created in remembrance of the widely publicized 2015 crime.
Stanford plans to install a plaque on the landmark engraved with a passage from the viral 2016 letter that Turner’s victim — who has remained anonymous as “Emily Doe” — read to Turner at his sentencing.
“The quote, like the rest of the letter, is very powerful,” said Frederick I. Richman Professor of Law Michele Dauber, who proposed the project to the University and advocated for it with the consent of Doe, a family friend of hers.
“This is a letter that really affected, deeply, everyone who read it,” Dauber said. “I’m sure that it will be appropriate and powerful.”
Replacing the dumpster, which Dauber described as a “symbol of sexual assault,” was one factor that motivated her advocacy for the project around the time of Turner’s release from jail in September 2016.
Dauber also considered the marker’s future power, arguing that even when discussion of the Turner case subsides, it will serve as a reminder that sexual assault is still an issue on campus. Emphasizing the fact that two Stanford students intervened to stop Turner’s assault on Doe, Dauber said that the marker evokes not only the prevalence of sexual assault on Stanford’s campus, but also the power of bystander intervention.
“Using architecture to create historical memory can be a very powerful thing,” she said. “My hope is that other students who have experienced sexual violence will see this and realize that they’re not alone, that this does happen here, and that the University, by creating this, is expressing solidarity with those survivors and, in a sense, promising to do better.”
Kappa Alpha said in a statement that it “wholeheartedly agrees with the administration’s decision to place a contemplative space that brings awareness of sexual assault to the greater community.”
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