Speaking Truth to Law’s Power: Legal Judgements and the ‘Powerful Letter’ of Emily Doe

  • Tanya Serisier


This chapter considers the complicated relationship of the criminal law to women’s speech about sexual violence. It discusses the Victim Impact Statement of Emily Doe, produced for the criminal trial of Brock Turner, and distributed publicly as a political statement condemning both Turner and the legal system that minimised his actions. Doe’s statement helps to elaborate the ways in which speaking out has worked to contest the law’s self-proclaimed ability to determine the ‘truth’ of rape by revealing legal investments in rape myths and its refusal to grant women’s speech a just hearing. Simultaneously, as I argue in the second half of the chapter, Doe’s story reveals a continuing commitment among survivors and many feminists to speaking through and within legal domains.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanya Serisier
    • 1
  1. 1.School of LawBirkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK

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