People
My Name Is Channel This Is My Story Image Credit: People
My Name Is Channel This Is My Story Image Credit: People

My Name Is Chanel. This Is My Story

MORE THAN 20 MILLION PEOPLE READ THE LETTER ‘EMILY DOE’ WROTE TO HER ATTACKER. NOW, THE WOMAN BEHIND THOSE SEARING WORDS TAKES BACK HER NAME— AND HER LIFE

Sandra Sobieraj Westfall

“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me....” With those words, a sexual-assault victim addressed her convicted assailant at his sentencing on June 2, 2016—to no effect. Brock Turner, a Stanford University freshman facing up to 14 years in prison, was given just six months in Santa Clara County jail. It could have been almost any case in any courtroom. But the leniency, in this case, sparked international outrage, thanks to the woman’s victim-impact statement—a raw indictment not only of the man caught on top of her while she lay unconscious but also of a culture and a justice system that put the victim on trial. As the world read the searing words of Emily Doe, she remained anonymous even to many of her closest friends.

In the years since, the judge in the case, Aaron Persky, was recalled by county voters. Turner served only three months in jail. And Chanel Miller, who always imagined herself an author and illustrator of children’s books, worked at making sense of her own story. Now she’s introducing herself to the world, she says, in part because her story began with no identity. “I was found as a half-naked body, alone and unconscious. No wallet, no ID,” Chanel, 27, tells People. “Policemen were summoned, a Stanford dean was awakened to come to see if he could recognize me, witnesses asked around; nobody knew who I belonged to, where I’d come from, who I was.” Know My Name, excerpted here,


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