Trigger warning: This article discusses rape and sexual assault.
The cast of HBO comedy series Girls has released a public service announcement about sexual assault in the wake of the Stanford rape case verdict where 20-year-old Stanford University student Brock Turner was sentenced to 6 months in prison for sexually assaulting a woman outside a college party last year.
The PSA follows the publication of a letter written by the victim and read out in court, detailing her harrowing experience and the pain of reliving the trauma over and over again. Another letter to the judge was also made public this past week, one written by Turner’s father appealing for leniency in his son’s sentencing and claiming that the verdict is “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.”
It is this culture of denial that the PSA addresses, the video dedicated to “the brave survivor in the Stanford rape case who gave so much to change the conversation.” Starting with some lighthearted jokes between the cast members about how they often disagree, the one thing they can all agree on is the incredibly high rate of sexual assaults against women.
Quoting the frightening statistics that one in five women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, 80 percent of those attacks will be perpetrated by someone she knows and one in four girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18, the cast then asks, “Why is there a default reaction in society to disbelieve, or to silence, or to shame?”