Stanford sexual assault survivor reveals identity

Chanel MillerImage copyright
Mariah Tiffany

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Chanel Miller, revealing her identity for the first time. She stands in front of her own artwork

As “Emily Doe” her victim impact statement, in the sexual assault trial of then Stanford University student Brock Turner, went viral.

She has now revealed her identity as 27-year-old Chanel Miller, a writer and artist from California, as she prepares to have her memoir published.

The case sparked controversy when Turner was sentenced to six months in jail. He served three.

Ms Miller’s book, Know My Name, is being released later this month.

The memoir’s publisher said it would “change the way we think about sexual assault forever”.

‘You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me’

Ms Miller, a literature graduate, was known by the pseudonym Emily Doe during the trial of Turner, a former star swimmer from Ohio, in San Jose, California, for the 2015 assault.

He had attacked her while she was unconscious on the ground outside a university fraternity house party. Two Swedish students, cycling past, challenged Turner when they realised Ms Miller, who was found partly dressed near a dumpster, was not moving.

In 2016, a jury would find Turner – then 20 – guilty of three charges: sexually assaulting an intoxicated victim, sexually assaulting an unconscious victim and attempting to rape her. He was sentenced to six months and three years’ probation. Prosecutors had sought a six-year sentence.

The trial sparked a national debate about sexual assault and whether white men from wealthy backgrounds were treated more favourably by the US justice system.

At Turner’s sentencing, Ms Miller addressed him directly with her statement, beginning with the words: “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.”

The full statement was later published by Buzzfeed, garnering 11 million views in four days. Translated into different languages, it spread across the world, and was the subject of public readings, including being read on the floor of Congress.

In it, Ms Miller said she only learned the full horror of what happened when reading the news on her phone.

She wrote: “At the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position.

“By the way, he’s really good at swimming.”

During the trial, she set out in the statement, she faced a barrage of questions: “What were you wearing?”, “Why were you going to this party?’, “Did you party at frats?”, “Are you serious with your boyfriend?”

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Brock Turner’s case garnered notoriety in 2016 when Ms Miller’s statement went viral

She would later receive letters from women from across the world, saying she had given them courage to reveal their own stories of sexual assault for the first time.

While writing Know My Name, published on 24 September by Viking, she found out further details of her own case, through court documents and witness statements she had not had access to during the trial.

The case happened before the #MeToo movement, but Ms Miller – who started writing her book in 2017 – added to her memoir and expanded its scope as the spotlight was shone on sexual violence.

Venetia Butterfield, publisher at Penguin General, said: “It is an immense privilege to share Chanel Miller’s honest, eloquent and emotional story with readers. Here is a book that will change the way we think about sexual assault forever.”

Aaron Persky, the judge in the case, was criticised for being too lenient with his sentencing of Turner and was removed from office by voters last year after a recall campaign. During the case, he had expressed concern about how going to prison would affect Turner.

As well as having an impact on the recall campaign, Ms Miller’s statement also inspired changes in California state law on sexual assault.

Last year, Turner had an attempt to have his felonies overturned rejected. He will remain on the sex offenders register.

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