Chanel Miller Opens up about Brock Turner Case in Memoir

Photo Courtesy/ The Penguin Random House Miller's memoir "Know My Name" recounts the Brock Turner Trial.

Elizabeth Deczynski 

Contributing Writer 

Her name is not Emily Doe or the “unconscious intoxicated woman” in the 2016 Brock Turner case. Her name is Chanel Miller and she is now coming forward with her story in her memoir “Know My Name.”

The book, which is set to release Sept. 24., will explore Miller’s life before, during and after the Turner trial. According to the New York Times, Miller began working on the book in 2017 and it served as a way for her to “to piece together the totality of what happened the night she was assaulted.”

Penguin Random House, the book’s publisher wrote in a press release that Miller’s story “illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.”

Originally, Miller did not want the public to know who she was. On January 18, 2015, fellow Stanford University student, Brock Turner, raped an unconscious Miller behind a dumpster.

The case caught media attention especially when Judge Aaron Persky claimed “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him” and sentenced him to six months in county jail with probation. He was originally facing 14 years.

Turner only served three months.

To the world, Miller was Emily Doe: the woman who was found half-naked behind a dumpster “with her underwear six inches away from her stomach.”

“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me and that’s why we’re here today,” Miller said in her victim impact statement delivered at Turner’s hearing on June 2, 2016.

Her statement went viral after Buzzfeed published it the following day, having been viewed by 11 million people in just four days.

“I think that’s ridiculous,” said Shelby Jimcosky, president of ESU’s Feminist Alliance club. “There are people who have nonviolent drug offenses that spend more time in prison than Brock Turner did for putting somebody through something so horrible.”

Miller said in her statement that what Brock Turner did to her doesn’t expire, and neither does his status as a lifetime sex offender.

“It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life,” Miller stressed in her victim impact statement.

Though many people showed support of Miller on the internet, some wondered what she did not come forward sooner.

“People need to respect the people who experience rape and when they are ready to come forward with their name,” said Dr. Andrea McClanahan, professor of women and gender studies. “I think she was smart to wait because of the way the media is now, she would have been crucified in the media.”

The trial preceded the “Me Too” movement, which reignited in 2017.

“I feel like if women feel comfortable telling their story and they want to use that to help other women come forward then go for it,” Sarah Pomales, vice president of the Feminist Alliance club, said, “but I also feel like it isn’t on that woman, in particular, to hold everyone else upon her shoulders. Every woman’s experience and what they have gone through is different. Any woman shouldn’t feel pressured to have to share their story.”

Miller’s story and memoir comes during the Red Zone, a six-week period between late August and November where colleges across the country see a spike in sexual assaults.

“Our message should be don’t rape, not don’t get raped.” Dr. McClanahan said. “We need to teach not just consent, but enthusiastic consent. It shouldn’t be a lukewarm yes. It needs to be an excited yes.”  

Andrea Schulz, editor-in-chief of Viking Books, told The New York Times that “Know My Name” is “one of the most important books that I’ve ever published,” hoping that it will “change the culture we live in and the assumptions we make about what survivors should be expected to go through to get justice.”

“Know My Name” will be available for purchase on Sept. 24, 2019.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted contact ESU University Police: (570) 433-3064, ESU Counseling and Psychological Services: (570) 422-3277, ESU Health and Wellness Center: (570) 422-3553 or National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1 (800) 656-4673.

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