The woman whose Stanford University attacker was sentenced to mere months in jail for sexually assaulting her as she lay unconscious has revealed her identity for the first time in the aftermath of a case that raised sharp criticisms around white privilege and rape culture.
Chanel Miller is her name, and in a memoir she’s written that’s coming out later this month, she says it took her years to reclaim her sense of self beyond that of the “unconscious, intoxicated woman” descriptor in media reports surrounding her attack by Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner.
“In newspapers, my name was ‘unconscious intoxicated woman,’ 10 syllables, and nothing more than that,” Miller said in the excerpt she read in the CBS video. “For a while, I believed that that was all I was. I had to force myself to relearn my real name, my identity. To relearn that this is not all that I am.”
But while the nation may not have known Miller’s name, it definitely heard her voice when her impact statement made before the judge handed down Turner’s sentence went viral.
“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me,” Miller told Turner at his sentencing in 2016, “and that’s why we’re here today.”
She powerfully laid out the impact of Turner’s crime on her life. Per CNN:
“My life has been on hold for over a year, a year of anger, anguish and uncertainty, until a jury of my peers rendered a judgment that validated the injustices I had endured,” she wrote in the impact statement.
She went to a frat party, drank and woke up in a hospital with pine needles in her hair, only to undergo a lengthy forensic exam that left her feeling traumatized and humiliated, she wrote.
“I had multiple swabs inserted into my vagina and anus, needles for shots, pills, had a Nikon pointed right into my spread legs. I had long, pointed beaks inside me and had my vagina smeared with cold, blue paint to check for abrasions,” she wrote.
So when a judge sentenced Turner to just six months in jail instead of the maximum 14 years he faced, saying basically that a harsher sentence would be bad for him, Miller said she was numb.
“I was embarrassed for trying, for being led to believe I had any influence,” she wrote in an essay later for Glamour.
Now, Miller has a memoir, Know My Name, in which she will tell her story in her own words.
The book is set to be released Sept. 24.