Chanel Miller’s “Know My Name” Transforms the Way We Think About Sexual Assault

Chanel Miller was initially known as Emily Doe, Brock Turner’s sexual assault victim. However, Miller reclaims her identity by recounting her experiences in her book, “Know My Name.” Miller opens up about her struggles with isolation and shame post-trial. Miller’s memoir is raw, and at times difficult to get through. Ultimately, her writing is phenomenal and this is a book I believe every individual should read. 

Girl Reading A Book In Bed Anna Thetard / Her Campus

Miller’s story is not about the man that assaulted her; rather, it immerses the reader into her life before, during and after the trial. The reader feels the anger, sadness and rollercoaster of emotions Miller writes about. Her writing is incredibly insightful I have a deep appreciation for how vulnerable Miller is in her book. It makes her writing relatable to victims of sexual assault and provides insight to allies. 

Although I ugly cried during “Know My Name,” I felt empowered afterward. Knowing that there are others that share my experiences is comforting. I listened to Miller’s audiobook where she reads the story out loud. It was validating to hear her voice tell me that as a survivor of sexual assault, I am not alone. Ultimately, her story is inspiring. 

Often times sexual assault cases go unreported for a multitude of reasons and unsubstantial justice is the result. While Miller had a trial, Turner was only sentenced for six months in county jail. After the trial, Miller wrote a victim impact statement which instantly went viral as 11 million people viewed it in four days. Her statement gained traction worldwide and led to changes in California law and the recall of the case’s judge. Arguably most important, Miller’s words empowered victims to come forward and share their experiences of sexual assault. 

I was always uncomfortable talking about my own experiences with sexual assault. Listening to others talk about what they went through made me incredibly sad, yet comforted knowing I was not alone. While I am not in a place to openly discuss the details of my experiences, “Know My Name” validates my emotions, and is an incremental aid in my journey of healing. Regardless if you are a victim of sexual assault, know someone who is, or want to learn more, Chanel Miller’s “Know My Name” is a must-read. 

woman holding up me too sign Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash