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Kuster voices support for sexual assault victims

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

June 21. 2016 8:06PM
In this image taken from video, U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-NH, recounts incidents of assault from her own past to recognize the bravery of the Stanford rape case victim and condemn acts of sexual assault she said countless women experience. (c-span.org)



U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-NH, took to the House floor Tuesday night in support of Emily Doe, describing incidents of assault from her own past to recognize the bravery of the Stanford rape case victim and condemn acts of sexual assault she said countless women experience.

A bipartisan group of colleagues joined Kuster in sharing their own personal stories about sexual assault.

Former Stanford University varsity swimmer Brock Allen Turner was found guilty earlier this month for sexual assaulting a woman identified only as Emily Doe, though the sentence handed down by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky against him drew outrage. Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail and then probation, and ordered to register as a sex offender over three sexual assault convictions.

In court, Emily Doe read a 7,244-word letter against sexual assault to her assailant.

“How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of what happened to me, and should not lessen the severity of his punishment,” the victim wrote in her letter.

Supporters of the victim, including about 1.1 million who signed an online petition, have called for Persky’s removal from the bench and accused him of protecting Turner.

On Tuesday, Kuster stood on the House floor and relayed her own experiences with assault, including one 40 years ago.

“I was an 18-year-old student, going to a dance, at a fraternity, to enjoy the evening with friends,” said Kuster. “We danced, we listened to music, we enjoyed the party. Until one young man assaulted me in a crude and insulting way, and I ran, alone, into the cold dark night. I have never forgotten that night. I was filled with shame, regret and humiliation, while he was egged on by everyone standing by.”

Kuster also spoke about being assaulted while working as a 23-year-old legislative assistant on Capitol Hill, and about being mugged.

“Tonight, my colleagues and I rose to show our support for Emily Doe to ensure that her voice was heard,” said Kuster in a statement. “Tonight, we are all Emily Doe.”

pfeely@unionleader.com

Kuster's address can be viewed below:



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