Posted On 24 Sep 2019
The woman who read a powerful statement at the sentencing of a college swimmer who sexually assaulted her at Stanford University is speaking out for the first time after revealing her identity earlier this month.
For years, Chanel Miller was known in legal proceedings as “Emily Doe,” the woman assaulted while unconscious by Brock Turner, a star swimmer at Stanford.
She now wants the world to know her name and her face, identifying herself in a memoir scheduled to be released Tuesday.
In an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Miller, 27, said she wanted to claim back her identity and write a book about her ordeal because she believed her story remained untold.
“In order to survive, you just shut everything down,” Miller said when asked about how she coped with what happened. “You have to function. You have to go to work in the morning. It was much easier to just repress everything.”
She was found by two students completely unconscious and half-naked behind a dumpster. Turner tried to flee, but the students tackled and pinned him down until police arrived.
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In Sunday’s interview, Miller revealed how she was left in the dark about the January 2015 assault for days before learning about what happened to her from an online news story.
Miller said some commenters questioned why she was so intoxicated that night.
“Rape is not a punishment for getting drunk,” she told “60 Minutes.” “We have this really sick mindset in our culture as if you deserve rape if you drink to excess. You deserve a hangover, a really bad hangover, but you don’t deserve to have somebody insert their body parts inside of you.”
Four years after the assault, she said the trauma remains just below the surface.
“I felt dirty and embarrassed,” she said.
“My dream is to write children’s books. I felt no parent,” she said, her voice breaking, “is going to want me as a role model if I am just the discarded drunk, half-naked body behind the dumpster.”
The emotional victim impact statement Miller read out at Turner’s sentencing went viral, serving as a rallying cry for those who suffered sexual abuse.
“I was in shock,” Miller said talking about Turner’s sentence. “So, you’re saying I just put aside a year and half of my life so he could go to county jail for three months. There are young men, particularly young men of color serving longer sentences, for nonviolent crimes.”
That year, California toughened its laws to broaden the state’s legal definition of rape and mandate prison if the victim was unconscious after the uproar generated by the case.
Last August, an appeals court rejected Turner’s bid for a new trial.
After her victim statement went viral, Miller said she received thousands of thankful letters from fellow survivors.
“It was really like medicine,” she said. “Reading these was like feeling the shame dissolve. You know, bringing all the light in.”