A few weeks ago, Chanel Miller bravely named herself as the ‘Emily Doe’ in the Brock Turner case, the person whose powerful victim statement read before the court. The news came with the announcement of her memoir, Know My Name, where Miller takes back the narrative and tells her side of the events.
In case you need a refresher, Brock Turner made headlines after he was sentenced to six months in jail for three counts of felony assault. He would serve just 90 days for assaulting an unconscious woman (Miller) behind a dumpster. The judge (who has since been recalled), felt as though Turner had too much much to lose as a white man young person with impressive swimming times. The scientific term for this sentencing is “TRASH,” and many were rightfully outraged when Buzzfeed released the powerful, heartbreaking letter that “Emily Doe” read to Brock Turner in court.
And now that Miller’s book is out, she will continue to change the world and make me ugly cry into my coffee with her beautiful words. She’s spoken generously with media throughout the week, sharing details of her experience and journey towards healing. Miller is also an artist and created a stunning short film called “I Am With You.”
‘Nobody wants to be defined by the worst thing that’s happened to them.’ — Chanel Miller opens up about her short film ‘I Am With You’ and how art helped her heal pic.twitter.com/ncAsWkf5vf
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 28, 2019
She also sat down for an interview on CBS to talk about her book and her experience as a survivor, and everything that she said was perfect. We pulled some powerful moments from that interview:
“I thought that if anyone ever knew that I was this body behind the dumpster, they would think that I was just dirty or irresponsible or reckless; that I wasn’t capable of handling myself and that I should just be embarrassed when really I’ve learned that I’m extremely brave for asserting myself. I feel more confident, I feel more capable, I feel like anything I encounter in the future I now have the tools to handle them.”
Miller’s vulnerability and the strength that she has found within it are so unbelievably inspiring. She’s not afraid to say how bad and dark things got, how ashamed she felt, but she is also willing to share her journey about getting back up. Her resilience is incredible and I’m not crying, you’re crying.
“We need to work on creating an environment where survivors feel comfortable feeling supported, so when they do, some sort of justice can be attained.”
Louder for the people in the back! Miller is clearly determined to take her experience and use it as a way to make change, which she has already done. She watched justice fail her, and now she wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. She’s a GD angel.
“There’s violence everywhere, it’s not just during these parties; it’s when you’re walking down the street, it’s in the workplace, it’s in the strawberry fields…and you want me to believe that it’s the drunk victims who are bringing it on themselves?”
Miller says this when being asked about people (read: idiots) who try to say that she brought the assault upon herself by getting too drunk. Miller cuts through the bullsh*t and points out that alcohol is just an easy way to blame the victim, when the victim is clearly not the problem. Sexual violence happens everywhere, whether or not alcohol is involved. So let’s attack the problem, not the victim.
“There’s a lot of power in anger. Anger is usually discouraged. We want to tame the victim and have her be composed, but really, for me, it was wonderful. I was depressed for so long, so when I finally felt anger, it was a sign that I was stepping on my own side and ready to fight for myself.”
Ugh, yes. Victims — often women — are made to feel like anger disqualifies their experience, like if they display it they will diminish their credibility. But that’s a bunch of horsesh*t. You are allowed to feel anger, and your anger can help lift you up. It’s a powerful emotion and it doesn’t need to be suppressed for other’s comfort.
“Nobody is allowed to hurt you, period. That is the baseline, and I will not make excuses around that sentence.”
Put this on my tombstone.
Image courtesy of Penguin/Random House
Trigger Warning: This article contains details about sexual assault and rape.
A new study in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found some deeply upsetting and frustratingly unsurprising information about American women’s experience with rape. According to the study, more than 3.3 million American women ages 18 to 44 were raped the first time they had intercourse. That is…a huge number, and absolutely heartbreaking.
What’s more, which pulled data from 2011 to 2017, the data comes from surveys given between 2011 and 2017. Since 2017 and the dawning of the #MeToo movement, many women have felt more comfortable coming forward with experiences of assault, suggesting this already-shocking number could be even higher.
Rape is disgustingly common for women. In fact, earlier research has found that 40% of women experience sexual violence in their life, and half of those experiences are rape. And now, this new study reveals that for many women, rape is the first thing they experience when it comes to having intercourse.
The study revealed some more statistics, and I am going to break them down here, but again want to warn you that they are upsetting and triggering.
- 6.5% of women or surveyed had an unwanted first sexual intercourse that was forced or coerced. Researchers estimated that to be 1 in 16 US women.
- The average age of women who experienced forced sexual initiation was 15.6.
- The average age of the partner or assailant at the time was 6 years older. (Some 50% of women surveyed said the perpetrator was larger or older.)
- More than 46% of the women were held down.
- In 56% of the instances, men used verbal pressure.
- Men used physical threats more than 26% of the time.
- Men caused physical harm in more than 25% of the instances.
- Some 22% of the women were drugged.
- More than 30% of the survivors said they had an unwanted first pregnancy.
- Some 24% of survivors said they had ever had an abortion in their lifetime, which is a higher percentage than women whose first sexual intercourse was consensual.
These numbers solidify what we already know: American women are experiencing sexual violence at an alarming and upsetting rate, and having to live with the trauma of the experiences for the rest of their lives. Doctors should be prepared to deal with this trauma, and men should be prepared to do better.
Yesterday, the Pentagon released its biennial report on sexual assault in the military and gals, it ain’t good. Since 2016, there’s been a 38 percent rise in military sexual assaults reported.
In 2018, there were 20,500 instances filed, compared with 14,900 in 2016. The report shows that 85 percent of victims knew their perpetrator and booze was involved in 62 percent of the cases. Uhm, to borrow military terminology: Sir, no, sir!
Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ), who earlier this year revealed she is a survivor and was raped during her time in the military, responded to the alarming figures on Thursday. “Just like when we have other readiness issues where we need bombs and bullets and training hours, we need to invest more resources into this process to make sure we’re addressing the shortfalls we’ve seen throughout the different bases I’ve visited,” she said.
If we need to smoke out all of the rapists and pervs in the military, I’ll start learning to do pushups so I can help out.
Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan expressed alarm at the figures, stressing that the military “must, and will, do better.”
“To put it bluntly, we are not performing to the standards and expectations we have for ourselves or for each other. This is unacceptable,” he said. “We cannot shrink from facing the challenge head-on.”
Director of the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Navy Rear Adm. Ann Burkhardt, noted that she thought this was a leadership issue and that the armed forces need to re-evaluate at every level how people are being treated.
“It can be the smallest things we say when people aren’t being treated right, when you hear a sexist comment or a racial slur or any way that somebody is not being treated appropriately,” she said. “It’s on all of us to take action, to say something, step up or to notify somebody that they can take action.”
Okay, so while none of us thought that the military would be exactly like Cadet Kelly, this news is still incredibly alarming. An almost 40 percent rise in sexual assault amongst our nation’s “finest men” is obviously unacceptable. If this trend keeps up, the Marines with their slogan ‘The Few, The Proud, The Marines” are going to have even fewer recruits by strong, admirable women. Because who in their right mind is going to enter an environment with so much sexual assault prevalent?
Of course, part of this alarming increase in assaults may be partly due to the #MeToo movement, and to people’s willingness to come forward. But that doesn’t solve the problem. The assaults are still happening. The Army ought to lean hard on their own slogan and do “whatever it takes” to make sure women and men serving our country aren’t being assaulted. Until then, the enemy is within the gates. Get ’em out!