'Emily Doe' in Brock Turner Sexual Assault Case Reveals Identity Ahead of Memoir Release
A woman formerly known as “Emily Doe,” who was attacked by a Stanford University student athlete, made history in 2016 when her powerful victim impact statement was published online and fueled an ongoing conversation about sexual assault and the flaws of the criminal justice system.
However, after three years of anonymity, “Emily Doe” is sharing her story again — this time as herself: Chanel Miller.
Miller’s case began to attract attention three years ago when the then-23-year-old read her statement aloud in court. Her attacker, 20-year-old Brock Turner, was charged with sexually assaulting Miller while she was unconscious.
Unlike other controversial cases of sexual assault, this one included witnesses.
In 2015, two men found Turner on top of Miller, then 22, behind a dumpster on campus. They reported that her bra was pulled off and her dress was pushed up around her waist and pulled off her shoulders.
The witnesses confronted Miller’s attacker and chased after him when he ran, holding him until authorities could reach the scene.
In her statement, Miller wrote that one of the witnesses was “crying so hard he couldn’t speak” by the time the police arrived to interview him.
Turner had never met the victim before, and he didn’t even know her name.
He would later be found guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault. However, while the maximum sentence was 14 years, the Stanford swimmer received a sentence of only six months, sparking public outrage.
The presiding judge on the case, Aaron Persky, made the ruling after Turner’s father told the court his son should get probation since his life and reputation had already been destroyed for “20 minutes of action,” The New York Times reported.
According to Buzzfeed News, which first published Miller’s statement online, Judge Persky claimed that he was concerned that a more drastic sentence would have a “severe impact” on Brock Turner.
The victim’s response — a frank, compelling and graphic confrontation directed at Turner — detailed the level of impact his assault, along with the ensuing trial, months of anxiety, and grueling aftermath, had on her.
The statement critiqued the criminal justice system’s willingness to protect an attacker from “severe impact” without acknowledging that a victim of assault will carry the impact for the rest of their life.
“Sometimes I think, if I hadn’t gone, then this never would’ve happened,” Miller said, referencing the frat party she and Turner attended. “But then I realized, it would have happened, just to somebody else.”
Her statement gave a voice to the countless victims of sexual assault who have wrestled with the same struggle to recapture one’s true self.
“In newspapers my name was ‘unconscious intoxicated woman’, ten syllables, and nothing more than that,” Miller wrote in her statement. “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.”
Her letter to her assailant instantly went viral, being viewed by over 11 million readers within four days. Almost immediately, the story sparked a national debate about sexual assault and over-leniency and bias in the criminal justice system.
Eventually, Judge Persky was recalled by voters in 2018.
What’s more, Miller’s statement was read before Congress, inspiring changes in California law. During the four years that followed her sexual assault, “Emily Doe” chose to stay anonymous. But now, Miller has decided to reveal her identity and discuss the People vs. Turner in a memoir entitled “Know My Name.”
For years, the woman sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus, was known anonymously as “Emily Doe.”
Tonight, we know her name: Chanel Miller speaks publicly for the first time to @60Minutes.
@Jerickaduncan reports https://t.co/76yiA8tpaO pic.twitter.com/AKXcWtEpBv
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 4, 2019
Penguin Random House describes the book as a story of “trauma, transcendence, and the power of words,” and says that Miller’s words will “forever transform the way we think about sexual assault.”
The decision to share her true identity prior to the book’s release is being applauded as a show of confidence and an acknowledgment of her value as a person, not as a victim.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.