Chanel Miller is the Stanford rape survivor formerly known publicly as Emily Doe who has come forward and revealed her identity in a new book in an effort to help others who have been sexually assaulted. Miller drew national headlines in 2016 when she confronted Brock Turner during sentencing with a powerful statement about the impact he had on her.
Miller’s powerful words and the lenient sentence given to Turner sparked a nationwide discussion about rape on college campuses and how survivors were not being heard. Turner was sentenced to six months in jail. The judge in the case, Aaron Persky, was recalled in 2018 because of the outrage over Turner’s sentence.
Miller, then a 22-year-old recent college graduate from Palo Alto, was sexually assaulted by Turner at a party at Stanford University while unconscious in 2015. Turner was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault and faced up to 14 years in prison, but was given a much lighter sentence after his family, friends and those who knew him as a college swimmer came forward to claim that a severe sentence would ruin his life. Miller changed the narrative during sentencing on June 2, 2016, during sentencing when she read a 7,100-word statement about how Turner had devastated her life.
Miller has now come forward once again and her book, “Know My Name,” will be released on September 24. Her publisher, Viking, said, “Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. It also introduces readers to an extraordinary writer, one whose words have already changed our world. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.”
Here’s what you need to know about Chanel Miller and her book, “Know My Name”:
1. Chanel Miller Said in Her Powerful Statement That Brock Turner, ‘Dragged Me Through This Hell With You’ & Said He Had Taken Away Her Voice Until That Day
Chanel Miller was raped after a party at Stanford University on January 18, 2015. She had met Brock Turner at a fraternity party earlier that night and became sick from drinking alcohol. She stopped behind a dumpster, where Turner began sexually assaulting her as she fell unconscious. Two Swedish graduate students saw him on top of her and intervened, chasing him down as he ran away and then pinning him down until police arrived. He was arrested and later charged with rape.
During his sentencing in 2016, Miller chose to read a statement and directed it to Turner, rather than to the judge. “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today,” she began.
Miller said, You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again. You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did. If you think I was spared, came out unscathed, that today I ride off into sunset, while you suffer the greatest blow, you are mistaken. Nobody wins. We have all been devastated, we have all been trying to find some meaning in all of this suffering. Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
She finished her statement by addressing survivors and “girls everywhere”:
And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, ‘Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.’ Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.
Miller’s statement was read millions of times after it was published by Buzzfeed and then re-published by news sites around the world. It was read in full on TV by CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield and on the floor of the House of Representatives by members of Congress, who took turns reading sections.
Turner was sentenced to six months in prison, but served only three. He also received three years of probation and is required to register as a sex offender for life. He has since returned home to Ohio to live with his parents.
Alaleh Kianerci, who prosecuted the case for the Santa Clara District Attorney’ Office said during her closing argument in Turner’s trial, “He may not look like a rapist, but he is the face of campus sexual assault.”
2. She Was Born & Raised in Palo Alto & Graduated From Gunn High School
Chanel Miller was born and raised in Palo Alto, California, as the daughter of Chris Miller and May May Miller, a documentary filmmaker. She has a younger sister.
Miller graduated from Gunn High School in Palo Alto in 2010, where she was a star volleyball player.
Miller wrote in her impact statement about how her life changed after the case began. She wrote, “You bought me a ticket to a planet where I lived by myself. Every time a new article come out, I lived with the paranoia that my entire hometown would find out and know me as the girl who got assaulted. I didn’t want anyone’s pity and am still learning to accept victim as part of my identity.”
3. Miller Attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, & Is Now a Writer & Artist in San Francisco
Miller graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in literature, according to her publisher.
She now lives in San Francisco and is a writer and artist.
Along with her book, Miller also sat down for an interview with “60 Minutes” that will air later in September, and read part of her statement on video.
4. She Is Reclaiming Her Name to ‘Tell Her Story of Trauma, Transcendence & the Power of Words,’ Her Publisher Says
Chanel Miller’s publisher, Viking, wrote, “She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral–viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.”
The publisher added, “Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways–there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her 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.”
Andrea Schulz, Viking’s editor in chief, told The New York Times about Miller’s victim impact statement, “I just remember being in my kitchen and reading this incredible, riveting piece of work.” She said Philippa Brophy, Miller’s literary agent, later reached out to her and said Miller was interested in writing a memoir.
“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,” Schulz told The times. “She had the brain and the voice of a writer from the very beginning, even in that situation.”
Schulz told the newspaper, “It is one of the most important books that I’ve ever published,” saying it can, “change the culture that we live in and the assumptions we make about what survivors should be expected to go through to get justice”
5. Miller’s Family, Friends & Then-Boyfriend Also Spoke Out During Sentencing About the Impact the Rape Had on Her & Them
Chanel Miller’s impact statement during Brock Turner’s sentencing sparked a discussion nationwide about how survivors are often left without a voice. She also spoke about how the rape destroyed not only her life, but also the lives of those around her. Miller was not the only one to speak out during the sentencing process, as several of her family members, friends and her then-boyfriend also wrote letters about the impact Turner had on them by sexually assaulting her.
Miller’s sister wrote, “An entire part of my brain has been permanently warped and an entire part of my heart has been permanently broken. … My message to Brock Turner is that the damage that you inflicted is irreversible. What has affected me most is that you did something to someone I love that I cannot take back.”
Miller’s then-boyfriend wrote that she, “has responded with impressive strength, given the circumstances, with the defiance of a woman who respects her body. Please do not confuse that strength with the deep, negative and permanent impact that comes with a man publicly sexually assaulting a woman while unconscious and the year-long, media-ridden trial that has followed.”