sexual assault

New Transcripts Reveal the Invasive Questions the Stanford Sexual Assault Victim Was Asked in Court

Stanford University.
Stanford University. Photo: Mark Miller/Getty Images

Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner is currently partway through serving his jail sentence for sexual assault — he was convicted of three counts after he was discovered assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster in January 2015. Back in June, the case gained national attention, due to what many felt was Turner’s lenient sentence, as well as the victim’s powerful (and viral) impact statementAnd now, new court transcripts reveal the questions the victim, identified as Jane Doe, was asked in the courtroom — specifically how she was probed about her drinking habits.

Turner’s lawyer, Mark Armstrong, emphasized her drinking at the fraternity party that preceded the sexual assault, asking “when you drank the quantity of vodka in the red cup. You drank it all down at once, right?” When she replied that she did, he followed with, “Like, chugged it? And that was a decision you made, right?” She was later asked if she had blacked out from drinking in the past.

The victim, who was 22 years old at the time and a college graduate (she attended the party with her sister, who was still in school), was also pressed about her drinking habits in college. “And you did a lot of partying in college, right?” Armstrong asked. When she said, “I would not consider myself a party animal.” He countered, “Well, you did tell the police when you were interviewed that you did a lot of partying there too, right?” to which she replied, “I’m a social person.”

Finally he referenced her dinner prior to incident, asking her to confirm that the dinner consisted of “broccoli and rice.” 

In her victim-impact statement, Jane Doe referenced the exchange she had with Armstrong, writing: “The sexual assault had been so clear, but instead, here I was at the trial, answering questions like: How old are you? How much do you weigh? What did you eat that day? Well what did you have for dinner? Who made dinner? Did you drink with dinner? No, not even water? When did you drink? How much did you drink? What container did you drink out of? Who gave you the drink? How much do you usually drink?” She added,To listen to your attorney attempt to paint a picture of me, the face of girls gone wild, as if somehow that would make it so that I had this coming for me.”

New Transcripts Released From Brock Turner Case