After she was brutally raped behind a dumpster at Stanford University, only a few things could bring her any comfort. A chat with her sister, a hug from her boyfriend and the picture of two bicycles pinned above her bed.
That picture – which she sketched herself – was a reminder that “there are heroes in this story.”
This was the glimmer of positivity in an otherwise chilling and heartbreaking impact statement delivered by the victim at the centre of the rape case that has captivated the world.
The unidentified woman delivered the statement during last week’s sentencing hearing for Brock Turner, the all-star swimmer and college freshman convicted of raping her on the Stanford campus in January 2015.
The prosecutor said it was the “most powerful” victim impact statement he had read in his 20 years as a prosecutor.
Turner was given just six months in prison and his lawyers plan to appeal even this short sentence.
“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me.” You can read the woman’s entire statement here.
The reason for the picture of the bicycles above her bed was simple. Two men – who it’s been revealed were Swedish graduate students – were cycling past the Kappa Alpha fraternity at the time of the attack.
They saw Turner behind the dumpster, laying on top of the woman’s unconscious, partially-clothed body. When Turner tried to flee, they tackled him and pinned him down until authorities arrived.
The identity of the two Swedish heroes remains a mystery. As of last Thursday’s hearing, the woman never met them.
According to the woman’s powerful statement, when one of these students was later interviewed by police “he was crying so hard he couldn’t speak because of what he’d seen.”
“I don’t sleep when I think about the way it could have gone if the Swedes had never come,” she wrote. “What would have happened to me?”
The university has this morning echoed the woman’s appreciation for the heroism of the two men.
“Stanford urges its students to do the right thing and intervene,” the university said in a statement, “and we are proud of our students for stopping this incident.”