Over the past few years, more people have been standing up and sharing their experiences with sexual assault. That conversation is never an easy one to have, but now, the woman at the center of one of the most famous sexual assault cases in recent years is stepping forward. In 2016, the nation was furious when college student Brock Turner was sentenced to only six months in jail for sexually assaulting a woman referred to in court documents as "Emily Doe." Now, that woman, Chanel Miller, is coming forward with her real name and story. Chanel Miller's upcoming memoir, Know My Name, will revisit the case and put her name to both her experience and the powerful victim statement that captured everyone's attention in 2016. Listen up everyone, because this woman has something to say.
On Wednesday, Sept. 4, The New York Times revealed that Miller, known as "Emily Doe" in the case, was publishing a memoir and publicly revealing her name. However, even before her book was announced, she caused a stir among the public. In June 2016, Miller's victim impact statement against Turner went viral across the internet, when the 7,000-plus word statement was published in full by Buzzfeed. The statement, in which she detailed her experience waking up with no memory of being assaulted as well as the aftermath and her recovery, was hailed as a cri de coeur across the internet and a ringing denunciation of sexual assault and rape culture. Turner was convicted in June 2016 on three felony counts of sexual assault of an unconscious person and served three months of a six-month sentence in a California county jail.
While speaking to the Times, Miller revealed that she started working on her upcoming memoir in early 2017, and that it's a personal story about the night she was assaulted as well as the trial that followed. Miller also stated that hearing stories from other sexual assault survivors inspired her memoir even further, leading to a bigger conversation around sexual assault. Know My Name will be released on Sept. 24.
The name of the memoir is fitting, considering that Miller, as a survivor of sexual assault, remained anonymous in the media even as Turner's name made headlines. In her 2016 statement, she addressed the power of her name and the difficulty of seeing it erased. A part of the statement read,
See, one thing we have in common is that we are both unable to get up in the morning. I am no stranger to suffering. You made me a victim. In newspapers my name was 'unconscious intoxicated woman,' ten syllables, and nothing more than that. For a while, I believed that was all I was. I had to force myself to relearn my name, my identity. To relearn that this is not all that I am. That I am not just a drunk victim at a frat party found behind a dumpster, while you are the all-American swimmer at a top university, innocent until proven guilty, with so much at stake. I am a human being who has been irreversibly hurt, who waited a year to figure out if I was worth something.
On Sept. 22, Miller will appear on 60 Minutes and read her full victim statement, marking her first public interview.
The case inspired people across the country to speak out on sexual assault, and inspired the documentary The Hunting Ground, which spotlights sexual assault on college campuses.
Needless to say, Miller's memoir could inspire more individuals to share their stories, and kick the conversation around sexual assault into high gear. If you need me, I'll be hitting the preorder button.