Ever since her impact statement was read at the sentencing hearing in the sexual assault case against Brock Turner, millions have known her as "Emily Doe." Now, with a new memoir, Know My Name, Chanel Miller is reintroducing herself to the world.
Back in 2016, Miller's statement made headlines for its honest, powerful account of the dehumanizing nature of the trial and the effect the assault had on her life. In the statement, she wrote:
"You cannot give me back my sleepless nights. The way I have broken down sobbing uncontrollably if I’m watching a movie and a woman is harmed, to say it lightly, this experience has expanded my empathy for other victims. I have lost weight from stress, when people would comment I told them I’ve been running a lot lately. There are times I did not want to be touched. I have to relearn that I am not fragile, I am capable, I am wholesome, not just livid and weak."
At the time, Miller was an anonymous sexual assault victim. While the public didn't know her name, the facts of the case were pretty clear: In January 2015, Turner, a student at Stanford, had assaulted Miller behind a dumpster while she was unconscious. Two students found them and served as witnesses.
Though Turner was found guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault and could have been sentenced to up to 14 years in prison, according to the New York Times, he was sentenced to six months in county jail and only served three. The judge who sentenced Turner received public backlash and was later recalled by voters.
Andrea Schulz, the editor in chief of Viking, the book's publisher, told the Times, "I jumped out of my chair to acquire [the book] because it was just obvious to me from the beginning what [Miller] had to say and how different it was and how extraordinarily well she was going to say it. She had the brain and the voice of a writer from the very beginning, even in that situation."
In order to finish the book, which Miller began in 2017, and which discusses her life and recovery since the trial, she went back and tried to figure out all that happened the night of her assault. This included reading court documents and witness testimonies from the case.
The Times reports that the cover of the book is inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi, or "golden repair," in which pottery pieces are mended using lacquer and powdered gold. Schulz told the outlet the process makes a beautiful object out of something that's been broken, while still showing the cracks; it's supposed to represent Miller's recovery from the assault and the trial.
According to her author page, Miller received her BA in Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She will appear on 60 Minutes to tell her full story for the first times on September 22 at 7:30 P.M. EST.
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Madison is a staff writer at ELLE.com, covering news, politics, and culture. When she's not on the internet, you can most likely find her taking a nap or eating banana bread.
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