Vice President Joe Biden wrote a powerful letter to the woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, a former Stanford University student, telling her that the statement she read at her assailant's sentencing is "forever seared on my soul."
Turner was convicted in March of the sexual assault, but was sentenced last week to just six months in jail -- although it's likely he'll spend even less time than that behind bars -- and three years probation. Turner has blamed his actions in part on feeling "peer pressure" to fit in at college.
The woman Turner assaulted addressed him in court last week, reading a statement detailing her pain after the incident and standing up for other women who have been sexually assaulted.
Biden said in his letter to the woman, which was provided to BuzzFeed, that he was "in awe" of her courage and angry.
"I am filled with furious anger—both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken that you were ever put in the position of defending your own worth," he wrote. "It must have been wrenching—to relive what he did to you all over again. But you did it anyway, in the hope that your strength might prevent this crime from happening to someone else. Your bravery is breathtaking."
Biden is a spokesman for the White House's "It's On Us" campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses and to encourage students to pledge that they'll intervene in cases where they think sexual assault could occur.
The woman has been failed by anyone who attended the party where she met Turner but didn't intervene, Biden wrote, as well as by anyone who has said the assault was her fault.
"You were failed by a culture on our college campuses where one in five women is sexually assaulted—year after year after year," he wrote. "A culture that promotes passivity. That encourages young men and women on campuses to simply turn a blind eye."
Biden also reacted to the fact that Turner's father has said his son's life has been defined by "20 minutes of action." The vice president called that response "callous."
"While the justice system has spoken in your particular case, the nation is not satisfied," he wrote in his letter to the survivor. "Your words will help people you have never met and never will. You have given them the strength they need to fight. And so, I believe, you will save lives."
"I do not know your name—but I will never forget you," he added.
Read the full letter at BuzzFeed.