Joe Biden pens letter to Stanford sex assault victim: 'You are a warrior - with a solid steel spine'

US Vice President Joe Biden has written an open letter to the woman who was sexually assaulted by a former Stanford University swimmer after an emotional message she read to her attacker in court gained widespread attention.

Biden, who wrote the 1994 Violence Against Women Act and is involved in the White House's "It's On Us" campaign against campus sexual assault, sent the letter to BuzzFeed News.

It draws attention to the six-month jail sentence for 20-year-old Brock Turner, which drew outrage.

The vice president wrote to the victim: "I do not know your name - but your words are forever seared on my soul." He says her statement should be required reading, though they're "words that I wish with all of my heart you never had to write."

Biden said 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.

"You are a warrior - with a solid steel spine."

Biden wrote that she has been failed by "a culture that promotes passivity".

"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.

This January 2015 booking photo released by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office of Brock Turner. Photo / AP
This January 2015 booking photo released by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office of Brock Turner. Photo / AP

The Vice President went on to praise the actions of the two men who intervened.

"Thanks to you, I know that heroes ride bicycles," he wrote.

"Those two men who saw what was happening to you - who took it upon themselves to step in - they did what they instinctually knew to be right.

"They did not say "It's none of my business."

"They did not worry about the social or safety implications of intervening, or about what their peers might think.

"Those two men epitomise what it means to be a responsible bystander."

Biden goes on to say that he sees "limitless potential" in her.

"You will never be defined by what the defendant's father callously termed '20 minutes of action'," he wrote.

"His son will be."

Biden wrote that we live in a culture that continues to ask the wrong questions.

"What were you wearing? Why were you there? What did you say? How much did you drink?

"Instead of asking: Why did he think he had license to rape?"

Biden finishes by saying: "I do not know your name - but I will never forget you."

"The millions who have been touched by your story will never forget you."

Read the full letter here.

- Additional reporting: AP

- NZ Herald

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