Stanford: Chinese women come out in support of rape victim, posted photos on social media
Mugshot of Brock Turner after his arrest in January 2015 Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

Stanford University has scrapped plans to place a plaque on the site where a former athlete assaulted a woman, raising questions about whether sexual violence should be commemorated in public spaces as done with other horrific crimes.

The university floated the idea of turning the garden on campus where Brock Turner assaulted an unconscious woman into a contemplative space with a commemorative plaque.

However, the institution abandoned the project after it could not agree on the wording of the plaque with the survivor, who has been identified using the pseudonym Emily Doe. She distanced herself from the plans after Stanford refused two quotes she put forward from the statement she made during the sentencing of her attacker, EJ Miranda, a spokesman for the university told NBC News.

Miranda said that sexual assault counsellors were concerned that one of Emily Doe's chosen statements could trigger trauma in other survivors of sexual violence. Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor and friend of Emily Doe's family first suggested the plaque, and accused the university of handling the issue poorly. IBTimes UK has contacted Stanford University for a comment and is awaiting a response.

"I'm right here, I'm okay, everything's okay, I'm right here," was one alternative floated by the university. Other quotes presented were; "You are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you" and "On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought every day for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you."

The situation highlights the difficulty of recognising and commemorating sexual violence in a way that is respectful of survivors' abuse that doesn't sanitise the horror of such crimes. Around 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year, according to figures from Rape Crisis which include assaults by penetration and attempt rape. And one in five women aged between 16 to 59 have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16. In the US, someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds figures cited by Rape and Sexual Abuse Helplines (RAINN) show. Issues surrounding consent and sexual violence on campuses have been put under the spotlight following Emily Doe's case, after Turner was released halfway through is six-month prison sentence.

"I myself was violently raped in a park by a complete stranger on a Saturday afternoon in Belfast in April 2008," Winnie M Li, author, activist and academic dedicated to improving media narratives around sexual assault and abuse told IBTimes UK.

"That particular geographical spot in the park is still a place I don't think I could bring myself to visit — even 10 years later. It has haunted me a great deal through the aftermath of my rape, and that is a theme I explore in my recent novel Dark Chapter," she said.

"I think it is important to commemorate a place a where sexual assault took place, so long as it is done in a respectful, collaborative way with that particular victim," she added. Li argued that a plaque acknowledges the lifelong impact crimes such as sexual assault can have on a person's life.

"It can also be a useful reminder of how frequently crimes like this occur and how many of us in our population are affected. If you think about the kind of historical mass traumas that are often commemorated in a monument... well, there are just as many victims of sexual violence out there (billions over the course of human history), but their traumas often go hidden or unrecognised.

"A public monument can help to make that more visible, and honour the stories of these victims and survivors," she added.

Tanaka Mhishi, a survivor of sexual violence whose play This Is How It Happens examines the lives of male survivors told IBTimes UK: "Often the place where sexual assault takes place can become charged for the victims and survivors, so I think the idea of commemorating the site - taking that grief out of the shadows and sharing it - is a wonderful one and it's a shame it won't happen in this case.

"We need to face the fact that sexual violence happens on campuses, in houses, in spaces both public and private. We need to face the fact that both horror and healing are part of this story and any public memorial should be carefully calibrated to encompass both those things," he added.

Mhishi argued that commemorations of sexual violence must shy away from being "too real".

Li added: "That notion of being haunted by a past trauma, and of having the potential to recover from it — it's important to bring these issues out into the open, for people to realise how fundamentally an act of sexual violence can change a person's life, and how there are many of us who have had these experiences."