Jeanette Morelan wasn’t panning on going so public with her experience with sexual assault when she went to the Miss Tennessee pageant. But when she was asked about Brock Turner, she couldn’t stand idly by.
“As a survivor of sexual assault, I definitely do not agree with the sentence. Perpetrators, no matter how privileged, should be punished for their crimes,” she told the judges.
And while she may not have won the competition, she sure is making headlines for using the pageant circuit as a platform to talking honestly about sexual assault.
She told Cosmo,
I just realized that I had a unique opportunity. I’ve always been seen as someone who’s been incredibly successful; I really felt like me sharing my story would help inspire other women to share theirs — not necessarily get up on stage in front of a large audience but just to tell one person. There were those two months when I was suffering alone and I didn’t have any help. You can stop that by just reaching out to one person. There are so many women and men that have experienced something like that, and haven’t had the courage to reach out to someone and get help. If my story can help one person do that, it’s worth it to me.”
As for her own recovery, she said that while it’s been a painful road, she’s been lucky enough to have the support of her family, as well as a great therapist.