UPDATE -- March 7, 6:30 p.m.: Erin Andrews has been awarded $55 million in her lawsuit over the 2008 peeping Tom video. The jury found the hotel operator, the hotel owner and the man who shot the videos all to be partially responsible.
It all began with a college football game, a well-known, talented female sportscaster and a costly lapse of judgment on the part of the Nashville Marriott staff. You see, none of the emotional and psychological wounds that Erin Andrews has suffered over the past 80 or so months had to have happened. All she did was check into a generic chain hotel for a work event.
But when a stalker made his way into the room next to Andrews' and altered a peephole so he could film her naked, a chain of reactions began that ended with the 37-year-old Andrews in a courtroom Tuesday, having to hear the opposing legal team insinuate that the peeping Tom contributed to the success and money she's earned since that fateful night. That series of events ended with Andrews on the stand this week, retelling and reliving her trauma as her mother broke down into sobs in the gallery just yards away.
Let's say this once, and let's say this clearly: In no way, shape or form is Erin Andrews responsible for what happened in Tennessee all those years ago. And it is both unfathomable and undeniably cruel that anyone would suggest that it was her deeds that ultimately led her to this trial, this particular brand of fame and, most important, this shame.
So in the midst of this shockingly out-of-touch victim-blaming we're seeing as we follow Andrews' journey for justice, here is a reminder of all the bullshit this woman has had to deal with through no fault of her own.
1. She had her privacy invaded as the apparent negligence of the hotel staff enabled a stalker to secure a room adjacent to her and watch her at her most vulnerable.
"This could’ve been stopped," she said in court Tuesday, per The New York Times. "The Nashville Marriott could’ve just called me and said, 'We’re putting this man that requested to be next to you, is this OK?' And I would’ve called the cops and we would’ve gotten him. I’m so angry. I’m so mad."
2. She was then exposed against her will another 17 million times after the video was posted online, according to a computer expert who testified in court last week.
3. After viewing the recording for the first time, she became physically sick and began to vomit.
She described a month-long "glazed over" state in the aftermath that left her emotionally scarred.
4. Nude images of herself -- with black bars selectively placed -- smattered the front pages of big-time newspapers.
5. She had to explain to her parents that their daughter had been stalked and compromised, and watch them deal with the pain as well.
“I called my parents," she explained this week. "I was just screaming that I was naked all over the Internet and I didn’t know what it was."
6. She says she was told by ESPN that if she wanted to get back onto the air, she'd have to relive and relay the trauma in a sit-down TV interview.
Andrews discussed that near ultimatum on Monday in a gut-wrenching part of her testimony.
7. Why? Because people believed that this was all a "publicity stunt" that she did for attention or for endorsements.
Thereby blaming the victim and shaming the woman, for the unsolicited, unwanted, abusive acts of another.
“Probably for, like, three months, everybody thought it was a publicity stunt," she said Monday, per Deadspin. "The front page of the New York Post said ‘ESPN Scandal.’ To Fox News and CBS, everybody put up that I was doing it for publicity and attention, and that ripped me apart.”
8. During trial, she could do nothing to help as her mother began to cry when Andrews was questioned about that night in Nashville.
According to The Tennessean, "[Andrew's] attorney asked her to talk about what happened on Sept. 4, 2008. Andrews' composure broke. Her father and mother, Steve and Paula Andrews, sat in the front row. Paula Andrews sobbed into her husband's shoulder."
9. It was suggested on Tuesday that she has the whole traumatic experience -- and the peeping Tom himself -- to thank for her ensuing success.
10. Even now, all these years later, she deals with social media harassment whenever she turns on her computer.
“I feel so ashamed,” she said. “This happens every day of my life. Either I get a tweet, or somebody makes a comment in the paper, or somebody sends me a still of the video to my Twitter, or somebody screams it at me in the stands. And I’m right back to this.”
11. Because of the video, she's "scared to meet new people or go on a date," per The New York Times.
In new settings, interacting with unfamiliar people, she now finds herself hesitating, thinking, "Has he seen the video?"
12. To this day, she has to switch rooms whenever she arrives at a hotel, checking for "booby traps" and recording devices, while barring anyone from stepping inside.
She lives with her emotional duress -- the constant, nagging worry and pain -- each and every day.
Say it with us now: It's not fair. It's not right. And, oh so crucially, it is not her fault.