“Emily Doe” Chanel Miller: Sexual Assault Victim Speaks Out
By: Katie Cherrix
It’s been almost five years since Brock Turner violently assaulted “Emily Doe.” It’s been almost five years since Judge Aaron Persky decided that Turner’s heinous rape outside of a Stanford University frat party deserved no more than a three-month sentence. It’s been almost five years since the media decided to focus on Brock Turner’s “good character” and his swimming career instead of the brutal rape that he committed that night in January 2015.
The victim, known up until recently as Emily Doe, has finally revealed her identity. Her victim impact statement went viral upon its release under this pseudonym. Friends, family, and even her therapist had forwarded the statement to her, not knowing that it was Chanel behind the words. Miller is a graduate of literature, an artist, stand-up comedian, and dog lover. She has recently written a book titled Know My Name.
Brave and well-spoken, Chanel describes what life has been like since that January night. She describes sleepless nights and days where she wouldn’t write or draw. She wished she could sleep all of the time so that she wouldn’t have to experience the pain that haunted her years after the assault. Miller describes the court case and feeling degraded throughout the entire process. With permission from her lawyer, her victim impact statement was released, garnering 11 million views in just four days.
By writing the book, Miller was granted access to transcripts that she would have otherwise never seen. She notes, “There is a lot of power in being able to craft the narrative again.” She talks about the empowering process of assembling her book and finally telling the world who she really is. Most people didn’t know her true identity until six months ago; Chanel adds that secrecy was important in the beginning, but over time she felt as if she wasn’t being true to herself. It was time to come out, and for the first time in almost five years, Miller felt at peace.
Miller also commends the two Swedish students who stepped in to save her while she was being attacked. Filled with gratitude she says, “On the same night I was assaulted, I was also saved.” She has since met her heroes, Peter Jonsson, and Carl-Fredrik Arndt, who didn’t think twice about coming to her rescue when they cycled by the scene of the attack.
Chanel strongly feels that Brock Turner didn’t learn his lesson. She is hopeful that her book will be a light in the darkness to other victims, and an eye-opener to the world about what life is like after sexual assault. She also wants to write children’s books for “ripe brains and juicy hearts.”
Know My Name will be published in the US and the UK on September 24th.