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Know my name : a memoir by Chanel Miller

Know my name : a memoir (edition 2019)

by Chanel Miller

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1818103,282 (4.72)13
Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting "Emily Doe" on Stanford's campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral, was translated globally, and read on the floor of Congress. It inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Now Miller reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. She tells of her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial, reveals the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios, and illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators. --… (more)
Title:Know my name : a memoir
Authors:Chanel Miller
Info:[New York] : Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, [2019]
Collections:Your library

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Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This book, although beautifully written, is a hard one to finish. That's due to the subject matter, a sexual assault and its devastating consequences for the person who was attacked: Chanel Miller.

In luminous and crystalline prose, Chanel Miller proudly reclaims her identity, while admitting that the courtroom alias, Emily Doe, helped her during the early days of the case to function somewhat normally. As Ms. Miller makes clear, however, she was not feeling normal, but hid her hurt from those around her as long as she could. The passages on the legal system and the court trial are riveting, so that the eventual sentence comes through clearly as a miscarriage of justice.

For anyone interested in the court system and how it struggles to protect victims, for anyone brave enough to share Ms. Miller's pain for a while, this book is highly recommended. ( )
1 vote barlow304 | Feb 11, 2020 |

“we all bear responsibility to speak up, wrestle down, make safe, give hope, take action.”
June 2016, I saw a trending Buzzfeed article, with Emily Doe's Impact Statement.
I cried reading it. Emily Doe's letter was, and remains, incredible. (read here)
At the time there is no way she could have known that her words were an echo of millions of other survivors of sexual assault. She had the "perfect" case. Her attacker was caught in the act, with two eye witnesses. There was evidence upon evidence that she was unconscious, unable to consent.
And yet, she was dragged through court as if she was the attacker- attacking a 'sweet innocent boy with so much potential'. Her case was a high-beam on the dark shame of the inadequate, sexist and victim shaming nature of the American "justice system", and set off a series of events causing massive changes - including the recall the soft and incompetent judge Aaron Persky.

“The judge had given Brock something that would never be extended to me: empathy. My pain was never more valuable than his potential.”

Know My Name is the memoir of Chanel Miller aka - Emily Doe. This is a raw and powerful recount of her life from 2015 to today, as she endured the trial and sentencing of her attacker (I loathe to use his name but to help those unfamiliar the rapist is Brock Turner... ring an alarm bell?), and came to terms with being "Emily Doe'.
Due to the nature of the trial, the book is very real and very triggering, not just for sexual assault but also depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress. I strongly recommend everyone reads this book because this is the truth, this is our society! But it is triggering and we need to respect our own boundaries - so be prepared.
It is very easy, especially as a woman, to read this book and start to feel utterly hopeless. When I joined the book discussion with Reading Women Patreons Members, it was a group acknowledgement that seeing how unjust and sexist the system was, really brought out a feeling of hopelessness, that the white male privilege beast is massive, old and terrifyingly strong. But I also took a lot of comfort from Chanel's words, from the changes that were made, and that this is not the end, that we can fight for accountability, we can fight for change.

“I was thankful to have Lucas. But it bothered me that having a boyfriend and being assaulted should be related, as if I alone was not enough. At the hospital, it had never occurred to me that it was important I was dating someone. I had only been thinking of me in my body. It should have been enough to say, "I did not want a stranger touching my body." It felt strange to say, "I have a boyfriend, which is why I did not want Brock touching my body." What if you were assaulted and you didn't already belong to a male? Was having a boyfriend the only way to have your autonomy respected?”

This memoir is beautifully written and powerful, and I really admired how open Miller was, how fair she was even to those who did her wrong.

She did not even bash on Turner, but pointed out a truth about people who did bad things - when friends and family of Turner testified to what a good person he was, Miller writes: “In fact I need you to know it was all true. The friendly guy who helps you move and assists senior citizens in the pool is the same guy who assaulted me. One person can be capable of both. Society often fails to wrap its head around the fact that these truths often coexist, they are not mutually exclusive. Bad qualities can hide inside a good person. That's the terrifying part.”
Miller speaks about her depression and anxiety, the impact that the assault had on her family and friends, as well as herself, and how long these impacts have lasted. How she started to find herself again, and highlights how this event did not define her, and is not her identity.
I listened to this partly on Audio through Libro.fm in which Miller narrates- and this made the story even more amazing for me, that she could directly tell me her story despite everyone that wanted to silence her.

“For so long I believed I needed permission to return to my life, waiting for validation. I promised myself I would never question whether I deserved better. The answer would always be yes and yes and yes.”

Know My Name by Chanel Miller - its a resounding "Yes!" from me!


I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on Know My Name, but now I would love to hear what you think about this book!
Feel free to comment below or on my 'bookstagram' at @ReadWithWine .
 This review was originally posted on ReadWithWine ( )
1 vote readwithwine | Feb 3, 2020 |
I was struggling a bit to figure out how to approach reviewing this book, and then Washington Post columnist, Monica Hesse, helped me out with a new article today about the Harvey "MeToo" Weinstein trial. In the article, Hesse points out a hypothetical burglary trial where the alleged victim is asked by the defense attorney, "But what were you wearing that night your TV disappeared? Are you sure you didn’t say something that would make the defendant believe you wanted him to take the TV? Hey, didn’t you once have a dispute with a landlord?" It doesn't take a big leap to replace "burglary" with "rape" to see how ridiculous the defense attorney's questions for a rape suspect commonly are. I have some analysis of where this book fits with that WAPO column and other resources, but I must admit, for purposes of claiming any credibility, that I am so far removed from sexual interactions, of any type, I'm like a black rotary phone in the bottom of a big box up in the dusty attic of a house the city wants to buy, raze, and turn into a dog park. I'm working entirely from old memory here. There are good books with a more academic slant, such as Kate Harding's Asking for It, which try to examine the social and legal hurdles sexual assault victims must confront. And, of course, there is the often totally raw responses that the Roxane Gay anthology, Not That Bad, presents. From my limited perspective, this book absorbs all of what those books offer and expands on them, filling nearly every crack and crevice possible. It is a stunning work. The bulk of the book is the author's full journey through a devastating series of events where an actual sexual assault is but one of many abuses suffered. As if that deeply personal reporting to the reader is not enough, the author then goes beyond the confines of her own case into the Trump, Weinstein, Cosby, and myriad of other contemporary phenomena in the public consciousness. It is both painful memoir and a master class on sexual assault cases. I fully acknowledge my diminished qualifications to say so, but I would think that every female, every person, subject to potential sexual assault, or who has suffered sexual assault, or who has narrowly avoided sexual assault, should read this book. Even those males whose genital blood supply isn't directly connected to the power/hate portions of their brain cells could benefit from knowing the full depth of what their fellow humans have been confronting. ( )
1 vote larryerick | Jan 24, 2020 |
Know My Name

A gut-wrenching chronicle of Chanel Miller’s experience, thoughts and feelings about the night she was raped and the aftermath in the days, months and years that followed


A memoir of the unconscious woman who was sexually assaulted behind a dumpster on Stanford campus on January 15, 2015. Her rapist was apprehended by two graduate students who were biking across campus and incriminating evidence was immediately secured. After a grueling trial, her rapist Brock Turner, was sentenced to just six months in county jail on three counts of sexual assault. The judge ironically stated he feared a more severe sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner, a champion swimmer.

The woman’s victim impact statement was posted on the internet by Buzzfeed and went viral instantaneously. Within four days the statement had been viewed by eleven million people and gave a voice to millions of rape survivors. Her statement inspired changes in California law and resulted in the recall of the judge in the case.

She was known to the world as Emily Doe, but in this book she reclaims her true identity to tell her painful and traumatic story.

“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we are here today.”

KNOW MY NAME is the powerful and emotional story of CHANEL MILLER. Miller is shockingly honest about her experience, thoughts, and feelings surrounding the night of the rape as well as the aftermath in the days, months and years that followed.

I found the book very difficult read not only because of the rape but also because of Miller’s emotional pain and the immense sadness that enveloped her following the tragic event, all of which is very clearly delineated in her writing. It’s a horrendous story that is hard to forget, and I am so please that she has stepped out of the shadow of that dumpster and reclaimed her identity. I am please that she has spoken up and spoken out not only about that event, and her attacker, but also about how the justice system required her to be victimized again and again.

While somewhat repetitive in places, I really appreciated her honesty about the anger, pain and embarrassment she felt during the most difficult experience of her life. I am very glad Miller found the strength and fortitude to write this book. I hope it been a healing experience for her. I am thankful I had the opportunity to read her story.

CHANEL MILLER is a writer and artist who received her BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She lives in San Francisco, California.

“I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone, and I became isolated from the ones I loved most.”

“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”

Publisher Viking / Penguin Audio
Published September 25, 2019
Narrated Chanel Miller
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com ( )
  LisaSHarvey | Jan 12, 2020 |
Chanel Miller is the woman who was raped by Brock Turner and whose identity was hidden for years. Wow, did he pick the wrong woman! He thought she was just some drunk he could wipe himself on, and instead she's intelligent, perceptive and articulate. She describes what it is like to spend years trying to prove that you don't deserve to be raped - how can you possibly do that? She describes both the courtroom scenes and her recovery so that even those of us who can't understand how a person could still suffer from a rape years later finally get it. I recommend it to everyone, especially to judges. I googled what's going on with Brock Turner these days and found accounts of his working as a lawn man or in a manufacturing plant for $12 an hour. This rich guy with all his connections, how could that be true? Then I realized, he was on parole for 3 years, he had to hold a job and act like a good guy. Well, that's over now, so I imagine his family will cushion his damaged psyche, but he still has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. I imagine that could be an inconvenience. ( )
  Citizenjoyce | Jan 11, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Miller is an extraordinary writer: plain, precise and moving. The memoir's sharpest moments focus on her family and their grief over her attack.
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