This post contains affiliate links. In January 2015, Chanel Miller went to a party with her younger sister at Stanford. There, like many young adults attending college parties, she drank too much. The next thing she knew, she was in the hospital facing an invasive exam. Her hair was embedded with pine needles. Unbeknownst to her, Miller is about to become part of the public domain. She is about to become Emily Doe, Brock Turner’s victim. Know My Name by Chanel Miller is a memoir of that experience.
About Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Miller is brutally honest about her behavior the night of the party. She drank too much, to the point of blacking out. Many people will see that as her culpability in Brock Turner’s sexual assault of her. But, Miller asks, does a woman drinking too much give a man the right to assault her?
In many ways, Miller’s case was clear cut. Turner assaulted her behind a fraternity house near an alley dumpster. Miller was unconscious during the assault. The only reason she wasn’t raped was because two Swedish exchange students stumbled upon the scene and startled and restrained Turner. The police were called immediately, and they photographed Miller in a state of undress. She submitted to invasive tests at the hospital. And yet, during the trial, the defense lawyer tried to place the blame with Miller because she drank frequently. The lawyer portrayed Turner, on the other hand, as the all-start student and athlete who would never do such a thing.
Know My Name is Miller’s chance to tell her side to the world and to shine a glaring light on our societal acceptance of rape. She points out the many times our country accepts the boys-will-be-boys adage and turns their fury on the women the men assault.
My Thoughts on The Book
This book is not an easy read. Miller’s humiliation is constant. She’s humiliated when she’s unconscious, naked in an alley by a dumpster having her photos taken by the police. Then again when she has to have a sexual assault examination at the hospital. And yet again when her naked pictures are shared in the court room as evidence.
Pressing charges in a sexual assault case is difficult because often the victim is put on trial. Miller’s case, because of the eyewitnesses, should have been open and shut, but it wasn’t.
A friend who recommended this book to me argued that it should be required reading for all 18-year-olds headed to college, whether male or female, and I agree. What happened to Miller, and Turner, who let’s face it, ruined his own future, happens far too often with young adults.
My only critique of the book is that I felt it could have been shorter. I understand her points, but I felt that it could have been condensed.
I give Know My Name by Chanel Miller 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.