Why Erin Andrews deserves more

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Erin Andrews is a goddess. I developed my liking for her by watching her co-host ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” but other people may be more familiar with her from her career in sports casting on ESPN and Fox Sports. If you’ve seen her, you know that she is drop dead gorgeous; being named Playboy’s “America’s sexiest sportscaster” in 2007 and 2008 doesn’t do her justice. However, her beauty is only part of what constitutes her as a goddess because she’s an all around great human.

She has paired with major charities, such as Kraft Foods’ 2010 Huddle to Fight Hunger campaign, which raised money for Feeding America, and co-hosted the Music Builds: CMT Disaster Relief Concert to raise money for the 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes. Along with her charity work, she has started movements to shut down gender stereotypes when it comes to the world of sports. In 2011, she teamed up with StubHub and created a campaign entitled Girls Night Out that encouraged women to take pride in their love of sports and gave them the opportunity to win tickets to a game of their choice with their friends. Portions of the proceeds were donated to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a non-profit organization that aids family members of deceased American soldiers. Andrews became the face of Covergirl and created the #GameFace contest in which women uploaded photos of themselves with their best fan faces. Andrews selected a winner each week, and as if being personally selected by Andrews herself wasn’t a good enough prize, the winners were entered into a drawing for tickets to the 2015 Super Bowl.

Whether you have previous experience with her career or not, you most likely have seen her name in the headlines recently regarding the lawsuit she filed against the Marriott at Vanderbilt University and Michael David Barrett, a man who stalked her and filmed her in her hotel room.

In 2008, Michael David Barrett tampered with the peephole on the door leading into Andrews’ room and filmed a video of her naked. Barrett had phoned the hotel to find out if Andrews was staying there and requested to have the room next to hers.

In July 2009, he posted the video, and it quickly went viral. Two and a half months later, Barrett was arrested by the FBI for interstate stalking and plead guilty three months after that. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of probation, $5,000 in fines and $7,366 in restitution March 15, 2010. Barrett was released from Seattle Community Corrections July 3, 2012.

In October 2015, Andrews filed a $75 million lawsuit against the Marriott and Barrett. On March 7, 2016, the jury awarded her $55 million dollars to be paid by the two defendants: $28 million from Barrett and $27 from Marriott. However, it is expected that she will walk away with less. Barrett will undoubtedly be unable to pay the full amount, and the Marriott may appeal the ruling in an attempt to decrease their fees. Andrews will also have to pay lawyers and other fees.

Many people have been arguing over the amount of money she received, believing $55 million is too much for a case involving no physical damage. But let’s remember that this is $20 million less than what she asked for. How can we place a value on another being’s emotional harm when it is impossible for us to endure it ourselves? How can you look at a sobbing Andrews in the courtroom and claim that she made the whole thing up as a publicity stunt?

She has reported having anxiety and depression, trouble sleeping and issues forming new relationships since the incident. Some reports even claim she shows signs of post traumatic stress disorder. It all boils down to this. It shouldn’t be up to others to decide how much she is suffering within her own mind. Andrews asked for what she believed to be a fair amount, and in winning this case, she did more than receive what was justly hers. She made a statement for women everywhere showing that these actions are absolutely intolerable. A monetary amount may never be able to make up for what Andrews went through and continues to go through daily, but the case was a step in the right direction for women everywhere. It sent the message that we should have control over our own bodies and that we are more than just objects for other people’s pleasure.

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