Trigger Warning: This article contains references to sexual assault.
I remember exactly where I was when I read her statements against Brock Turner, and maybe you do too. Buzzfeed had published a letter from an anonymous victim referred to as Emily Doe, which she had written and read aloud to her assailant in court. I sat at my kitchen counter and watched her powerful words blur out of focus as hot tears ran down my face. I remember feeling a rage rumble in my stomach. It was familiar, yet new. I had felt fury over the injustice sexual assault survivors endure many times before, but this felt like a tipping point. This woman’s bravery to speak up for herself and directly to her assailant felt like a call to action. As I read it, the silence I knew my friends, myself, and countless others lived with rang in my ears. It was time for change.
Now, the woman who wrote these words has named herself. Chanel Miller has come forward as the woman who was assaulted by Brock Turner, and she is writing a book about her experience. The memoir, entitled Know My Name, will detail Miller’s life since the assault and trial that occurred in 2016.
For years, Chanel Miller was known only as "Emily Doe," the anonymous woman who brought a sexual assault case against Brock Turner. In an upcoming memoir, she'll tell her story under her own name.https://t.co/pr7CrXVGHE
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 4, 2019
Chanel Miller’s assault ignited a conversation about sexual violence and how it is treated in both our society and the criminal justice system. People were outraged by the outcome of the trial, as Brock Turner received six months in county jail, of which he served three, despite the fact that he was found guilty on three counts of felony sexual assault. There were also two eyewitnesses in the case. It was obvious that this scum-sucking trash sack was guilty, and yet there was barely — and I mean barely — any justice to be served.
She has been known to the world as “Emily Doe,” the sexual assault victim of Stanford swimmer Brock Turner. Now she’s revealing her name and face. Chanel Miller, here reading her victim impact statement, gives her first interview to "60 Minutes" https://t.co/U4GDOofVj6 pic.twitter.com/cpVMwCZ4Sk
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 4, 2019
As one can imagine, the trial, along with its publicity, was grueling for Chanel Miller. Her letter made that apparent, and now we will get an entire book to hear her side of the story. Excuse me while I pre-order on Amazon, and purchase approx. 5 million tissues, as I will be sobbing uncontrollably while reading.
Chanel Miller’s letter was beautifully written, so we can only imagine that her book will be incredible. The editor of the book, Andrea Schultz, told The New York Times, “I jumped out of my chair to acquire it, because it was just obvious to me from the beginning what she had to say and how different it was and how extraordinarily well she was going to say it. She had the brain and the voice of a writer from the very beginning, even in that situation.”
According to the New York Times piece, the writing process for Know My Name was a way for Miller to piece together what happened to her the night of the assault. Miller read pages of court documents and transcripts of witness testimonies she had not been allowed to hear during the trial, and had weekly calls with Schultz to discuss what she was discovering.
The cover art for “Know My Name” is inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi or “golden repair,” in which broken pottery pieces are restructured using lacquer and powdered gold. In this sense, it creates something beautiful from something that has been broken, emphasizing where it has cracked. The visual is meant to represent Chanel Miller’s process of healing and recovery from both the assault and the trial. Brb while I go drown in my own tears.
Know My Name will be released on September 24.
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House