-- At least 30 members of Congress will come together to read aloud a much-discussed letter from a woman to the former Stanford University student who was convicted of sexually assaulting her.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, will lead the reading of the more than 7,000-word letter on the floor of the House of Representatives next week. Excerpts of the letter were already read aloud by several members of Congress earlier this week.
“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today,” the victim wrote to her attacker, Brock Turner, in the letter.
A spokeswoman for Speier said the significance of reading the full letter, in which the woman addresses her attacker directly, is twofold: One, it enters it into the congressional record and thus it becomes “part of American history,” the spokeswoman, Tracy Manzer, told ABC News. Second, Manzer said, it will help ensure the woman’s voice is heard after the judge sentenced Turner to what many viewed as a lenient six-month county jail sentence. Prosecutors had requested a six-year prison sentence.
“She really didn’t achieve justice in the case considering the sentence,” Manzer said.
It will also help raise awareness of and support for victims of sexual assault, an issue Speier has highlighted during her congressional tenure.
Speier and Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, a former prosecutor himself, read portions of the statement aloud Thursday morning.
“There's an archaic philosophy in some courts that sin ain't sin as long as good folk do it. In this case, the court and the defendant's father wanted a pass for [Turner] because he was a big-shot swimmer. The judge should be removed,” Poe said on the floor.
The reading of the letter, which Manzer said will involve both men and women, Democrats and Republicans, will happen after the House’s last votes on Wednesday.