Trigger warning: This story discusses rape.
Brock Turner said he didn’t know the name of the woman he sexually assaulted on the Stanford University campus in 2015. In papers after the assault, she was known as “unconscious intoxicated woman.” When she gave her victim impact statement to BuzzFeed during his rape trial, she became famous as Emily Doe. Now, three years later, Chanel Miller is allowing the world to Know My Name, with a memoir coming out on September 24th of this year.
She has been known to the world as “Emily Doe,” the sexual assault victim of Stanford swimmer Brock Turner. Now she’s revealing her name and face. Chanel Miller, here reading her victim impact statement, gives her first interview to "60 Minutes" https://t.co/U4GDOofVj6 pic.twitter.com/cpVMwCZ4Sk— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 4, 2019
To recap that horrifying event, Miller had gone to a campus party with her younger sister in 2015, and somehow got separated from her when she was intoxicated. Turner took her from the party and assaulted her behind a dumpster, until two people on bicycles saw them and chased Turner away. Miller was half-naked and unconscious. When she woke up in a hospital hours later, she said she didn’t know what had happened.
Turner’s trial became headline news in 2016, sadly not because campus rape is uncommon, but because he fought the conviction so hard, blaming the campus culture of drinking and promiscuity. Judge Aaron Persky seemed convinced, giving him only a six-month sentence, of which Turner served only three months, followed by probation. Public opinion, on the other hand, was not on Turner’s side.
The woman we knew as Emily Doe came to stand for every sexual assault survivor whose suffering was discounted while authorities worried over the future of the promising young man who perpetrated the crime. And she became an icon for survivors of sexual assault who had to fight to get their voices heard.
Andrea Schulz, the editor-in-chief of Miller’s publisher Viking, told The New York Times she was riveted by the impact statement. Miller acquired a literary agent and sold her memoir to Schulz shortly after her story went viral.
To write the book, Miller told The New York Times that she went through an exhaustive process reading court transcripts and testimonies to gather the full story of what happened to her on the night of the assault.
But the book is also about what she did to put herself back together post-assault and post-trial.
Schulz hails the book’s potential to “change the culture that we live in and the assumptions we make about what survivors should be expected to go through to get justice,” she says to the Times.
After all these years of being Emily Doe, Chanel Miller is ready to attach her name to the fight to make that change.
If you are a sexual assault survivor and need help, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to speak to a trained counselor. You can also chat online with a counselor here. Both services are available 24/7.