For the past four years, the woman known as “Emily Doe” who was raped by Stanford student Brock Turner in 2015 has protected her anonymity. Now, she’s stepping forward for the first time as she reclaims the story of her sexual assault.
UPDATED ON 4 SEPTEMBER 2019: For the past four years, “Emily Doe”, the woman who was sexually assaulted by Stanford University student Brock Turner in 2015, has shielded her identity from the spotlight. Now, that woman is ready for the world to know her name.
As reported in The New York Times, the anonymous rape survivor formerly known to the public as “Emily Doe” has courageously revealed her real identity to coincide with the publication of her memoir, Know My Name.
Chanel Miller, a California-based writer and artist who was 22 when she was brutally assaulted by Brock Turner behind a dumpster in 2015, will soon be sharing her version of events in a memoir that looks to “reclaim the story of her sexual assault”. In 2016, Miller sparked a nationwide conversation about campus sexual assault and white male privilege when her 7000-word victim impact statement, which she read at Turner’s sentencing hearing, went viral.
In a clip from her first public interview on 60 Minutes, Miller reads the powerful statement that captured the world’s attention when she addressed her assailant in a California courtroom. Turner might have dominated the narrative for the past four years, but Miller is now on a mission to make her voice heard, and let victims of sexual violence now they’re not alone.
“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me,” Miller reads. “In newspapers, my name was ‘unconscious, intoxicated woman.’ Ten syllables, and nothing more than that. I had to force myself to relearn my real name, my identity. To relearn that this is not all that I am. That I am not just a drunk victim at a frat party found behind a dumpster, while you are the All-American swimmer at a top university, innocent until proven guilty with so much at stake.”
AS REPORTED ON 10 JUNE 2016: The Vice President of the US has written an emotional open letter to the Stanford rape survivor who read a statement directly to her attacker in court.
The unnamed woman was raped by Brock Turner as she lay unconscious behind a dumpster in January 2015. In March 2016, Turner was convicted of three counts of sexual assault and given a six-month prison sentence – a punishment which has since been widely condemned for its leniency.
The survivor addressed Turner directly in court at the end of the case. Her 75,000-word victim impact statement has been read millions of times since it was published online, and has prompted widespread discussion in the US and around the world about the treatment of the survivors and perpetrators of sexual assault.
Now, US Vice President Joe Biden has written an open letter to the young woman. In the message, published on BuzzFeed, he praises her bravery and describes her as “a warrior – with a solid steel spine” and “limitless potential”.
“I am in awe of your courage for speaking out – for so clearly naming the wrongs that were done to you and so passionately asserting your equal claim to human dignity,” Biden wrote. “And I am filled with furious anger – both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken that you were ever put in the position of defending your own worth.”
Biden, who wrote the country’s 1994 Violence Against Women Act and backs the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign against sexual assault on college campuses, said that the young woman had been failed by a culture in the US where one in five women on a college campus is sexually assaulted. “And you were failed by anyone who dared to question this one clear and simple truth: Sex without consent is rape. Period. It is a crime.”
“The millions who have been touched by your story will never forget you,” Biden continued. “And if everyone who shared your letter on social media, or who had a private conversation in their own homes with their daughters and sons, draws upon the passion, the outrage, and the commitment they feel right now the next time there is a choice between intervening and walking away – then I believe you will have helped to change the world for the better.”
Since sentencing Brock Turner to just six months in county jail, Judge Aaron Persky has faced furious criticism and intense scrutiny. The maximum sentence for Turner’s three felony charges – assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object – was 14 years.
But the Stanford case is not the first time Persky has made a controversial ruling in a rape case involving college athletes. In 2011, he presided over a trial in which members of a California college baseball team were accused of gang-raping a 17-year-old. Persky allowed the defendants to show the jury photographs of the alleged victim wearing a revealing outfit and “making a sexually provocative gesture”, The Guardian reports.
Defence attorneys for the accused men argued that the photos contradicted the plaintiff’s claims that she had been harmed emotionally and psychologically by the alleged gang rape.
But the photos “were irrelevant” to the trial, and their “impact was very definitely prejudicial” against the young woman, one of her attorneys said. Barbara Spector added that the photos “had a positive impact for the defendants on the jury.” Four of the defendants settled, three had their charges dismissed, and two went to trial but were found not liable by the jury.
A petition for Judge Persky to be removed from the bench had received over 1 million signatures at the time of writing.
Images: Penguin, Getty