CNN “Legal View” host Ashleigh Banfield spent the majority of her show on Monday reading, live on the air, a first-person account of a rape victim.
“This young woman’s words were more powerful than anyone else’s I had read before … including advocates, documentarians, journalists and lawyers,” Banfield told TheWrap. “She spoke more eloquently and pointedly about the crisis of campus rape and consent then I ever possibly could have. The star today was her words.”
The letter was originally published on BuzzFeed and details a now 23-year-old woman’s horrible ordeal of being raped while she was passed out after a party.
“We will spend most of this special and highly unusual hour sharing with you,” Banfield said to open the show. “It is a rape victim’s letter to her attacker. And I will warn you now this is graphic, this is difficult to hear, it is lengthy, but stick with us because it is riveting and it is important.”
The case involves 20-year-old former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, who was sentenced last week to six months in jail and three years’ probation for three counts of sexual assault.
Two Stanford students spotted Turner forcing himself on an unconscious, half-dressed woman behind a dumpster back in January 2015. Banfield calls the students who tackled Turner “heroes,” for holding Turner until police arrived.
Turner was found guilty. He faced a maximum of 14 years in state prison, but the judge selected a lesser sentence because he feared anything longer would have a “severe impact” on Turner.
“But what about the impact the crime has had on the victim?” Banfield said before she started to read the victim’s first-person account of the events. Banfield’s decision was met with mostly positive feedback and many viewers took to social media to express their thoughts.
Check out the video above.
@CNNAshleigh is remarkable. How incredible that she read the Stanford rape victim's entire statement on air. That's using air time wisely.
— Sharalyn Orr (@SharalynOrr) June 6, 2016
— edward john harrison (@1vegasjack) June 6, 2016
— Cydney Soignet (@cydney_joben) June 6, 2016
— Bones Supporter (@SupportBones) June 6, 2016
Anchor @CNNAshleigh made tv powerful as she dedicated half an hour of news to read Stanford's rape victim's letter to the disgusting rapist.
— Capie (@CapieChat) June 6, 2016
Just blown away by @CNNAshleigh's reading of THE LETTER. It was so powerful and raw. Thank you for giving her one more voice to be heard!
— Brianna (@brilittlebit) June 6, 2016
— Lindsey Brooke (@EelleBee) June 6, 2016
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) June 6, 2016
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) June 6, 2016