Know My Name by Chanel Miller is the memoir from the survivor of the Stanford sexual assault case that created waves in America. Chanel walks us through her journey from the moment she wakes up in the hospital after the assault, to finding out what happened to her in the media, her experience with the court system, the lenient sentence given to her assailant and the viral impact statement that sparked uproar. This story is an emotional rollercoaster, but most importantly it is a big ‘F*** you!’ to the system, and Chanel Miller is leading the charge for all who don’t get to say their piece.
The reason this case made waves was because Chanel’s assailant, a 19-year-old Stanford student on a swimming scholarship, was celebrated in the media and in court for the bright future he had ahead of him. Meanwhile Chanel, known as Emily Doe until the release of this memoir last year, was scrutinised for her level of intoxication. That Chanel’s actions of being too drunk, were more condemnable than his of assault, is another systemic case of victim blaming that we continually see worldwide stemming from a twisted bias towards privileged men with ‘potential’, resulting in lenient sentences at the expense of their victims right to justice. Chanel rightfully puts it in the book “My pain was never more valuable than his potential”.
Chanel’s ability to articulate the injustices in the system and in society towards victims of sexual assault will literally have you fist pumping the air. The writing is beautiful and impactful and when times get tough the incredible support system of Chanel’s family will become your support system too.
The viral victim impact statement written by Chanel is included in the back of the book, however I recommend after reading the book, to grab a box of tissues and watch her read this herself (I streamed this on YouTube).
And finally, thank you to ‘The Swedes’, the millions who read and shared Chanel’s impact statement and those who petitioned in favour of change. You are all more important than what’s wrong with this story.