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Know My Name: The Survivor of the Stanford Sexual Assault Case Tells Her Story

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THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD

'A beautifully written, powerful, important story. It marks the debut of a gifted young writer' New York Times

'A searing, beautiful book by a supremely talented writer' Sunday Times

'Extraordinary woman turning pain into power. Chanel Miller, it's a privilege to know your name, and to celebrate it' Thandie Newton

'You are a brave soul. You are more than the identity given to you by the media and those in power' Monica Lewinsky

'Incredibly moving and haunting' Roxane Gay

She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford's campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on Buzzfeed, where it instantly went viral - viewed by eleven million people within four days, it 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. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.

Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways - there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.

Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. It also introduces readers to an extraordinary writer, one whose words have already changed our world. Entwining pain, resilience, and humour, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.

'In a world that asks too many survivors to keep their experiences to themselves and shrink their suffering to preserve someone else's potential, Know My Name stands unapologetically large, asking others to reckon with its author's dazzling, undiminishable presence. To read it, in spite of everything, inspires hope.' Guardian

'A skilled writer... Miller tells [her story] beautifully, caring enough for her reader to spin golden sentences from her pain' Vogue

'Powerful, honest and necessary. Chanel Miller is amazing' Marian Keyes

'I read this book cover to cover and it stunned me: Chanel Miller is such a lushly talented writer, with such beautiful instincts, that she does the nearly impossible by making this book easily surmount its origin point.' Jia Tolentino

365 pages, Paperback

First published September 24, 2019

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About the author

Chanel Miller

3 books3,604 followers
Chanel Miller is a writer and artist who received her BA in Literature from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She lives in San Francisco, California.

(source: Amazon)

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 21,764 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
March 17, 2020
This book was amazing.

And I want you to know I'm not just saying that because this is the memoir of the woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner and it was always going to be important. True, I expected the book would be important, probably powerful and moving, but I didn't realize what an incredible writer Miller actually is.

Her words are arresting, gripping, and poetic. She takes us back to that night and through all of the horror and humiliation of the aftermath and trial. But mostly, she takes us inside her state of mind and what it was like to wake up and discover someone, a stranger, had taken advantage of her unconscious body. She goes into a lot of detail, so take this as a warning to those especially sensitive to graphic depiction of sexual assault.

Know My Name is not just one thing. It's tinged with frustration that America's legal system fails to punish predators if they are wealthy and accomplished. It's a woman saying I'm not just a body; not just some faceless Emily Doe. You should know my name. It's an attempt to change things for other women. And also, sadly, it is Miller's attempt to reclaim her own story and become the hero of it once again. As she said in an interview that still rips my heart out:
My dream is to write children's books. I felt no parent is going to want me as a role model if I'm just the discarded, drunk, half-naked body behind a dumpster.

Ms Miller, I will read any books of yours to my children.

I don't normally comment on book covers, but there was one detail here I really appreciated. The gold veins on the hardcover of Know My Name are there to represent kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with powdered gold and lacquer. It is a celebration of breaks and scars, instead of an attempt to hide them, and shows how even broken things can be made whole again. A perfect visual representation of this powerful memoir.

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Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews109k followers
August 31, 2020
This is the best memoir I've read so far. Miller thoroughly combs through the exhausting process of reporting rape and reliving trauma through frustratingly slow and dehumanizing trials. I appreciate that she makes connections to how victims of police brutality are treated and similarly blamed and put through the wringer of the justice system. I am amazed by how she is able to articulate all of her thoughts, memories, and gut-wrenching emotions in such a beautiful and metaphorical way. The writing is incredibly thoughtful and so many lines made me go “wow”. Seriously amazing.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,403 reviews8,134 followers
December 31, 2019
Stunning. An absolutely stunning memoir, one of the best I have ever read. In Know My Name, Chanel Miller reclaims her identity after the press described her as “unconscious intoxicated woman” in the aftermath of when rapist Brock Turner assaulted her. I remember feeling inspired, impressed, and in awe of Miller’s victim impact statement as Emily Doe when it came out in 2016. Miller brings that same level of strength and eloquence to this memoir.

When I read my favorite memoirists, I get this feeling of familiarity, this sense of okay, I know who this person is, I can really see them. That’s how I felt throughout reading Know My Name. Miller takes back her power – after having been reduced to an unconscious victim – by writing beautifully and vulnerably about herself and her life, both before and after the assault. She includes so many heartwarming details that paint a picture of a woman who’s a loving sister, a witty artist and creator, as well as a person who has insecurities like all of us do. When I read details about her family, like how she caught her younger sister’s vomit in her hands to take care of her as a child or how she would listen to her dad sing along to music while cooking, I felt this immense sense of gratitude and closeness, like I wanted to thank her for making us remember that victims of trauma and assault are more than just what happened to them. Miller does a thorough job of detailing the impact of her trial itself, too, like how her sister had to continuously rearrange her school and work schedule because of court dates that kept getting delayed, and how Miller drained her bank account to cover expenses such as buying appropriate clothing for court.

Miller’s writing itself is superb. The way she details the moments after she woke up in the hospital, how she describes her panic attacks and emotional outbursts in private and when she testified in court, her narration of the painstaking climb to heal and recover herself in a world with so many people who sought to discredit her – I felt like I was right there with her. Her prose is incisive and gets to the point without embellishment, and yet, she still captures the full emotional rollercoaster of her lived experience. I cried several times reading this memoir, both because of the anguish her rapist and the patriarchal legal system put her through, as well as because of how inspired and moved I felt by Miller’s self-awareness, her fortitude, and her courage in sharing her story. She’s put in hundreds and thousands of hours into processing this trauma and it shows in her insightfulness. I highlighted so many quotes from this book so it feels hard to choose just a couple to show in this review, but here’s one I loved, in which Miller describes her response after receiving kind letters from people who read her victim impact statement:

"For the past year I had been raking through comments looking for signs of support. I dug through opinion pieces in local newspapers searching for someone to stand up for me. I locked myself in my car in parking lots crying into hotlines, convinced I was losing my mind. All year the loneliness had followed me, in the stairwell at work, in Philly, in the wooden witness stand, where I looked out at a near-empty audience. Yet all along there had been eyes watching me, rooting for me, from their own bedrooms, cars, stairwells, and apartments, all of us shielded inside our pain, our fear, our anonymity. I was surrounded by survivors, I was part of a we. They had never been tricked into seeing me as a minor character, a mute body; I was the leader on the front line fighting, with an entire infantry behind me. They had been waiting for me to find justice. This victory would be celebrated quietly in rooms in towns in states I had never been to. For so long, I’d imagined myself wandering across a dry, empty plain. This card was the puddle. The realization that just below the surface, more water led to streams to rivers to oceans. That this was only the beginning. I was not alone. They had found me.”

Miller gets political in this memoir too, which is unsurprising given how intertwined her individual experience is to the political realities surrounding sexual assault and misogyny in the United States. She calls out the legal system for its awful treatment of survivors, she gently yet firmly describes Stanford’s complicity and refusal to take action on behalf of survivors, and she acknowledges her own Asian American identity that often got erased when the media described her as Emily Doe. Again, Miller’s skill as a memoirist shows, as she incorporates commentary about these broader systemic injustices while still sticking close to her truth and her own story. As the feminist rallying cry goes, the personal is political, and Miller writes with precision and power about how the political landscape surrounding sexual violence affected her, as well as how she herself altered the political landscape through her own perseverance and courage.

Overall, I recommend this memoir to literally every human on this planet. Again, I cried several times, mostly in reaction to Miller’s profound pain, perseverance, and power. While Miller does not go into the details of her assault, some parts of this book may be triggering for those with similar trauma and assault-related experiences. Though I was not sexually assaulted, I found Miller’s voice and experiences a healing salve in my own journey with PTSD. I can only hope that this book goes down as a classic. Thank you to Chanel Miller for your voice and your courage. I’ll end the review with the last passage in the memoir, a testament to Miller’s beautiful heart:

“I survived because I remained soft, because I listened, because I wrote. Because I huddled close to my truth, protected it like a tiny flame in a terrible storm. Hold up your head when the tears come, when you are mocked, insulted, questioned, threatened, when they tell you you are nothing, when your body is reduced to openings. The journey will be longer than you imagined, trauma will find you again and again. Do not become the ones who hurt you. Stay tender with your power. Never fight to injure, fight to uplift. Fight because you know that in this life, you deserve safety, joy, and freedom. Fight because it is your life. Not anyone else’s. I did it, I am here. Looking back, all the ones who doubted or hurt or nearly conquered me faded away, and I am the only one standing. So now, the time has come. I dust myself off, and go on.”
Profile Image for jessica.
2,481 reviews29.8k followers
December 12, 2019
‘i am a victim, i have no qualms with this word, only with the idea that it is all that i am.’

previously known as emily doe when her victim impact statement was released, chanel miller reclaims her name and identity, proving that she is more than just a victim, in this powerful and (heartbreakingly) necessary memoir.

this is one of the most difficult books i have ever read. i was completely beside myself, not just because of the sensitive content, but because of the injustice of it all. i cant even begin to describe the depth of my anger and hatred towards the unfair treatment sexual assault victims receive.
‘my pain was never more valuable than his potential.’
this sentence should NEVER be someones reality. and the grace with which chanel copes with and elegantly narrates such an unfathomable trauma is truly inspiring. it shows us that we must do better, we must be better, in a society that so corruptly mistreats survivors of sexual assault.

for those of you who have suffered sexual assault and have been failed or discredited by a system that is suppose to protect you - you matter, you are believed, your life is just as important as anyone elses, and you are not defined by the worst thing that has happened to you. you are more than just a victim.

5 stars
Profile Image for Mehrsa.
2,234 reviews3,663 followers
November 29, 2019
I'm going to be honest. This book was hard to get through. Not because of the topic, but because it was too long and too repetitive. I really respect Chanel Miller and I cannot believe how lucidly she analyzes her rape, the trial, and everything that followed. Like everyone else, I knew all the facts here, but her analysis is insightful. Still, I wish her editor had helped cut out some of the chapters that were superfluous.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.5k followers
December 31, 2019
“You took away
My worth, my privacy,
My energy,
My time,
My safety,
My intimacy,
My confidence,
My own voice,
Until today.”


This story is fucking incredible, moving, brilliant. I don't really have words to describe how this story moved me and how I think it's one of the best of the year and how everyone needs to read this. It's the true story of Chanel Miller, a girl who was raped behind a dumpster on Stanford's campus in 2015. I was moved to tears many times while reading this because I can't imagine the pain, the suffering and the horror of dealing with something like this. The way she describes the rigorous court process and how nobody believes you - they will question every little thing about you and what you were wearing or how much you were drinking and make you feel guilty because "he had so much potential" and you are "ruining his future" when he should be the one feeling guilty and ughhh. It was just so powerful and it made me feel such rage over how unfair the world is. Chanel Miller is so brave for sharing her story.

"Victims exist in a society that tells us our purpose is to be an inspiring story. But sometimes the best we can do is tell you we’re still here, and that should be enough. Denying darkness does not bring anyone closer to the light. When you hear a story about rape, all the graphic and unsettling details, resist the instinct to turn away; instead look closer, because beneath the gore and the police reports is a whole, beautiful person, looking for ways to be in the world again."


“My pain was never more valuable than his potential.”

“They seemed angry that I’d made myself vulnerable, more than the fact that he’d acted on my vulnerability”

“Most of us understand that your future is not promised to you. It is constructed day by day, through the choices you make. Your future is earned, little by little, through hard work and action. If you don’t act accordingly, that dream dissolves.”


I really love this quote about consent and how we shouldn't assume the answer is yes until they are told no: “When a woman is assaulted, one of the first questions people ask is, Did you say no? This question assumes that the answer was always yes, and that it is her job to revoke the agreement. To defuse the bomb she was given. But why are they allowed to touch us until we physically fight them off? Why is the door open until we have to slam it shut?”

“Cosby, 60. Weinstein, 87. Nassar, 169. The news used phrases like avalanche of accusations, tsunami of stories, sea change. The metaphors were correct in that they were catastrophic, devastating. But it was wrong to compare them to natural disasters, for they were not natural at all, solely man-made. Call it a tsunami, but do not lose sight of the fact that each life is a single drop, how many drops it took to make a single wave. The loss is incomprehensible, staggering, maddening—we should have caught it when it was no more than a drip. Instead society is flooded with survivors coming forward, dozens for every man, just so that one day, in his old age, he might feel a taste of what it was like for them all along.”


This book was a heavy, sad read that is so honest it breaks your heart, but it is so relevant and so important and one of the best nonfiction books I have ever read.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
903 reviews13.7k followers
October 6, 2021
this is one of the most beautiful books i've ever read. i hate that it had to be about this.

i was taking a women and gender studies course in college when the brock turner rape trial was occurring, and i remember all the women in the room commiserating over his sentence and the unfairness of it all. revisiting it all to hear chanel's story increased that pain tenfold, but the journey she takes the reader on through grief and recovery was stunning. i listened to the first half of this on audio, listening to hear recount her experiences, but switched to reading it physically since i found i preferred to soak in every word and reflect on the absolute power this book contains.

i really don't have the words to talk about how immaculate and soul-wrenching this book is-- i'm already having a hard time thinking of adjectives. you would really be doing yourself a disservice by not picking this up. it's a new top favorite of mine and i can't wait to see what chanel accomplishes next.
July 5, 2020

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Usually, I can finish a book in just a few hours. This book took me over twenty days to read. Reading it was a highly unpleasant, emotionally exhausting experience, and I kept having to put it aside. Chanel Miller, in case you don't know who she is, is the woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner whose victim impact statement went viral when she was still "Jane Doe." Like many other women, I was following that trial closely and was shocked and disgusted at how many people leaped to Turner's defense because he was a Stanford boi and a good swimmer, whereas the girl he attacked was drunk and wearing a dress. When Chanel Miller revealed her identity, the fact that she was a person of color and he was white added a whole new layer of discrimination to an already heinous and unforgivable act.



Chanel Miller is brave. Not just for writing this book (although, also that), but for confronting her attacker, for facing him in court, for undergoing the rape kit test, for doing everything she did while trying to get herself some justice. She was brave for making it through her horrible ordeal, for her poise when internet commenters tried to tear her down. She was brave for owning her life and trying to reclaim herself.



KNOW MY NAME gives the details of the night as Miller remembers it, as well as some of the accounts from people who remember the parts of it she didn't. In KNOW, we get to know Chanel Miller as a person, apart from her attack, and how the assault, the shock, the trial, and its aftermath affected her. The trial is honestly one of the hardest parts to read. I started crying in some parts because I was so angry for her. When the defense tried to play her off as some silly little girl, I wanted to scream. Her outrage at Trump's infamous "grab 'em by the pussy" statement, and how horrifically similar it was to her own attacker's cavalier attitude toward women and consent, was truly nauseating, and reflected the outrage a lot of survivors felt at seeing that boor take office.



There are also a few bright spots. Joe Biden wrote her a touching letter. Hillary Clinton used a quote from Miller's statement in her memoir, WHAT HAPPENED. Many women spoke out in support of her, and her family and boyfriend were so lovely and wonderful in how unequivocally they stood by her side. I also got that sense that she felt powerfully vindicated by the #MeToo movement and seeing so many women come forward, even though the sheer number has grievous implications on how we, as a society, protect victims from abusers and prevent infrastructure that facilitates abuse.



So, after all this, I'm sure you're wondering-- if the book is THAT important, why only three stars? Because this book is so weighty, so harrowing, so dark, reading it made me feel incredibly shitty. And while I think that shitty feeling is something to hold on to, and think about, and remember whenever a woman comes forward about her abuser, I really did not enjoy the book all that much. I'm giving it three stars because I loved the message and that Miller felt like she could share it-- and herself-- with us, and I liked the writing style, but this is not a book that should be read for pleasure, and I would strongly encourage rape and sexual assault survivors to read this with caution, as it contains many potential triggers that I think could be incredibly upsetting.



Like other critical reviewers of this memoir, I also felt that it was long and unevenly paced. I get that real life does not always move linearly like a story and that a sexual assault survivor shouldn't have to edit or "censor" their account to benefit the public, but as a reader, the length made it very difficult to get through, especially considering the heaviness of the content. I definitely think this memoir should be read by many others, but please make sure you're in the right mental space to do so.



I'm glad Chanel Miller told us her name.



3 stars
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,428 reviews9,027 followers
January 19, 2023


Know My Name is easily one of the most powerful Memoirs I have ever read. The courage and unapologetic nature of Miller's writing brought me to tears.

In spite of the fact that she is someone I have never met, I am proud of Chanel Miller. That is genuinely what I feel; proud of her strength, as she speaks for so many.



Before she came out to the world, Chanel Miller was known as Emily Doe. Her victim impact statement from a sexual assault trial went viral after being posted on Buzzfeed.

This book follows Chanel from just prior to the assault, through the night it occurred, the immediate aftermath and the years of struggle through both the court and healing process.

It was really heavy at times, as you can imagine since it recollects such a traumatic event, but I felt that Miller conveyed it with such honesty and grace. It's worth the heavy heart, for sure.



I picked up this audiobook on the recommendation of a friend who had just read it. I'm so glad she told me about her experience with reading it and now I feel like it is my duty to recommend it to others. So, please pick this one up.

The writing is fantastic. Miller made her trauma relatable. She talks about things I know many women will be nodding their heads to while reading. This book is a phenomenal exploration of rape culture and the treatment of women and girls within our society.

At over 15-hours, it's a fairly long audiobook. Initially, I couldn't imagine how that could be, but I wouldn't cut anything out. Every moment of this leaves an impact.

It's truly an exceptional memoir, one that will stay with me for years to come. Highly, highly recommend!

Profile Image for Melanie (MelReads).
100 reviews10.1k followers
September 23, 2021
“I am a victim, I have no qualms with this word, only with the idea that it is all that I am.”

Hands down the easiest 5 stars of my life! The prose in this is absolutely stunning and continuously displays strength, pain, and hope whilst thoroughly discussing the exhausting process of reporting rape and going to court.

Chanel Miller did a phenomenal job at highlighting all of the faults of the justice system and how it never fails to make this a dehumanizing set of trials for women everywhere in the world. “Victims are often, automatically, accused of lying. But when a perpetrator is exposed of lying, the stigma doesn't stick. Why is it that we're wary of victims making false accusations, but rarely consider how many men have blatantly lied about, downplayed, or manipulated others to cover their own actons?”

I cried, I nodded along, and I gasped time and time again. My heart goes out to her and everyone who has experienced the same. Must read!
Profile Image for Elle.
584 reviews1,260 followers
September 26, 2020
We are a society obsessed with monsters. We track mass murderers like athletes, each snuffed life another tally added to their total stats. Serial killers receive their own classification, often including sexual transgressions. They’re followed and discussed, known by name, number of victims, means of violence, etc. We learn about their families, their mindset, their jobs, their lives. We learn the entire person, culminating in the human-shaped creature staring back at us through our screens. We call them monsters because it’s easier than admitting they’re people, a product of the same world that created you and me and everyone else.

In our obsession with the offender, the offended are often diminished & forgotten. For those who are able to speak, we only ask them to relive the same terrible episode over and over again. This is why so many refuse the distinction of ‘victim’. Not because they weren’t harmed or victimized, but because it feels reductive. Nobody wants to be thought of as just a vessel to which terrible things are done.

This book is about Emily Doe, how she came to be and who she is now. It’s about Chanel Miller, the person who was reclaimed from Emily’s trauma. They are one and the same, and in so many ways, they are us as well. This is not the story of the assailant. He is a player in it, a character, a catalyst, but not the subject. Everyone who reads this memoir will already know his name, so I’ve taken the title as instructional: this review will only bear her’s.

We expect so much from survivors purely for our own peace of mind. Yes, the personal growth Miller acquires in the few years after her assault is greater than most of us could hope to reach in our lifetimes, but this is not a book that exists for us to harvest inspiration & exaltation for ourselves and then be on our way. Chanel lets us fall deeply into her fear and sadness. Into her aimlessness and devastated denials. She’s frequently lost and compartmentalized. There’s resilience, but consistently she is nearly swallowed by feelings of hopelessness.

But what she described that most resonated was the anger. In her own words, in her own head she is free to be livid. She is free to vent frustrations with nearly every part of the punishing system that was built to accommodate the perpetrator, not the victimized. My rage echos her rage; her pain is all of our pain. But that fury doesn’t stay nicely contained with in her, it seeps out into every moment of her life. Every injustice thrust upon her without consent is waiting to be unleashed upon the unsuspecting. Yelling back at street harassers feels cathartic after being picked at and degraded by your attacker’s attorney for hours on end. Let everyone fear the wrath of a woman silenced.

Miller does not dress her distress up in a way that makes it more palatable for us. That would be a disservice. She is not a “perfect victim” because that person does not exist. Eventually she does recover most of herself, returning to the body of the girl she had to rebuild from scratch. Reading her testaments is difficult, but crucial. I can’t remember the last time I read something this slowly; I wanted to absorb every word. Chanel Miller is an immensely talented writer, regardless of the subject matter. I know she has plenty to say, and I hope we get to hear more.

So many along the way tried to snatch her voice or repurpose it for their own narratives. For this reason, I will end with her words that Stanford promised to post on campus, then reneged in because they weren’t “uplifting” enough. I’m going to have to disagree with that assessment.

“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
February 6, 2020
4+ stars!

Powerful. Shocking. Emotional. Upsetting. Inspiring. Life changing.

This is the memoir of an extremely admirable, inspiring and empowering young woman who has given a voice to countless sexual assault victims. Chanel Miller was sexually assaulted behind a dumpster on a prestigious college campus in 2015. This is her journey of fighting for her voice to be heard which in turn gives courage and strength to so many others.

This book is undeniably powerful. I don’t believe there is a person who could read this and not be affected. The facts are stomach churning. What Chanel went through is unbelievable. One of the hardest hitting points for me to wrap my mind around was how vulnerable and uninformed Chanel was kept along the process of the court proceedings. She wasn’t made to feel truly supported by the college or courts throughout the investigation. How many other victims are out there who have been left alone “in the dark” to grieve and hide away from what happened to them? I hope this book makes it into the hands of people who can change the way sexual assault victims are treated and supported.

If I were rating Chanel’s courage and positive impact on our world, 5 stars wouldn’t be enough. My rating for this book is 4+ stars because the middle section did feel a bit drawn out and my attention wavered slightly.

I thank and applaud Chanel Miller for writing this stunning book. It took bravery, courage and determination to put her story down on paper for the world to see. It is a novel I will never forget reading.

Thank you to my lovely local library for the loan of this outstanding novel.
Profile Image for Holly.
1,393 reviews928 followers
October 9, 2019
I still remember what a punch to the gut it was to read the victim impact statement from "Emily Doe" at Brock Turner's sentencing. Despite the fact that Brock Turner was actually caught in the act of sexually assaulting her, and despite the fact that he was found unanimously guilty on three separate charges, the judge presiding over his sentencing gave Turner only a 6 month sentence which really equated to a 3 month sentence due to time for 'good behavior'. The injustice of it all still burns deeply.

So when I heard that Emily Doe was now coming forward and had written a book about her experiences, I knew I had to read it (or actually, listen to it - she narrates the audiobook).

This book is a heartfelt look into the trauma of sexual assault and the justice system. You really get an insight into how an ordinary day and a spur of the moment decision to attend a party with a younger sibling quickly turned into a nightmare that lasted for years and completely upturned her life. I cried so much while reading this book, in part because this could have so easily happened to me or any of my friends or loved ones. Chanel is not unique in having inadvertently drunk too much one night - she was not some out of control party girl, she was a typical college graduate with a full time job and a loving boyfriend. The usual repercussions of a single night of alcoholic excess is a terrible hangover - not being dragged outside behind a dumpster where no one could find her, having her underwear removed, and her vagina penetrated by a complete stranger's fingers. But really, that was only the beginning of her trauma as the court system moved slowly, the press caught wind of the story, and she was forced to repeatedly defend herself.

My only qualms about this book are found in the chapters that take place after Turner's sentencing. Chanel briefly touches on other well-known incidents of injustice outside of her specific case, and some of those are less relevant and insightful than others, and their inclusion felt a little page-filler-y. But overall I would recommend this book.
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,092 reviews7,954 followers
January 16, 2022
I don't think I have much to say about this book that has not already been said. But if I can add one more voice to the chorus of those uplifting this story, I will.

Chanel Miller has told her story and reclaimed her name with this incredibly written and moving memoir. First known to the world as Emily Doe in the Stanford sexual assault case, Miller's story went viral—literally. You may have read her victim impact statement on Buzzfeed in 2016 like millions around the world. Here, Chanel expands on that letter, showing who she really is and what her voice is able to do for victims of sexual assault worldwide.

Of course, with this story comes lots of trigger warnings. I wouldn't blame someone who may see themselves in Chanel's story from shying away from this book. However, I think for those who are interested in reading this story, you will find a multitude of lessons and profound insights from someone whose voice deserves to be heard.

I think I will always carry this story with me. It has challenged me to interrogate my own assumptions, strive for more empathy, deconstruct the narratives our society has built around not only sexual assault but also the legal system and what 'justice' really looks like. To put people first, rather than power structures. To question how something seems and see it for what it really is.

Thank you to Chanel Miller for her vulnerability, for continuing to share her story and herself with the world, for putting pen to paper and giving the world a gift.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,852 reviews35k followers
December 11, 2019
Audiobook...read by the author, Chanel Miller

Chanel wrote an exceptional unflinchingly honest - memoir....with personal gut-wrenching details.
I COULD NOT PULL AWAY!!!

One does not need to be a victim of sexual assault - to feel its power.

Michael Aaron Persky - American attorney and former judge became the first judge to be recalled in California in over 80 years....after international widespread criticism of his ridiculously lenient sentencing —
Brock Turner was convicted of three felony charges.
He was given only 6 months jail punishment....then served only three months jail time.

“Judicial independence is a critical part of the U.S. justice system. The immense power that comes with judicial independence also comes with accountability to the people we serve”.

Chanel Miller served the people..... and this was a young shy young woman.
“How badly she wanted to feel unfazed”.
Ha!

Chanel:
Thank you for your bravery—telling us your story ‘with’ your real name—
and for making a transformational difference in our judicial system!

Eloquently written! Sincerely a gifted writer.
MUST SAY IT AGAIN...
Chanel Miller is a gifted skilled writer ( besides the gut wrenching facts)

5++++ stars
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
692 reviews3,239 followers
January 1, 2021
2020 Best Books of the Year [#07 of 11]

An unflinching and triumphant testimony. Know My Name ought to be required reading.
I always wondered why survivors understood other survivors so well. Why, even if the details of our attacks vary, survivors can lock eyes and get it without having to explain. Perhaps it is not the particulars of the assault itself that we have in common, but the moment after; the first time you are left alone. [...] This moment is not pain, not hysteria, not crying. It is your insides turning to cold stones. It is utter confusion paired with knowing. Gone is the luxury of growing up slowly. So begins the brutal awakening.

-

I didn't know that money could make the cell doors swing open. I didn't know that if a woman was drunk when the violence occurred, she wouldn't be taken seriously. I didn't know that if he was drunk when the violence occurred, people would offer him sympathy. I didn't know that my loss of memory would become his opportunity. I didn't know that being a victim was synonymous with not being believed.

-

They seemed angry that I'd made myself vulnerable, more than the fact that he'd acted on my vulnerability. Drinking is not inherently immoral: a night of heavy drinking calls for Advil and water. But being drunk and raped seemed to call for condemnation.
Profile Image for Brandice.
800 reviews
December 19, 2020
Know My Name: A Memoir is Chanel Miller’s moving survival story. She was sexually assaulted while unconscious at a Stanford frat party in 2015. Her assaulter was caught in the act by two witnesses and attempted to flee the scene.

In an effort to remain anonymous, Chanel was known as Emily Doe throughout the trial. While Turner was found to be guilty, the world (self-included) was stunned to see his sentence be so light, really insignificant — 6 months and released after just 3. This seeming incel ruined his own future, which his parents and others lamented was now tarnished, nevermind the fact that he unprompted, invaded Chanel’s life, without her consent. He went after Chanel after being rejected by her sister at the party, multiple times that night.

”Verdict of what? Guilt. Guilt for what? Assault. Assault committed by whom? Brock. Your son has broken and shattered your family.”

“My advice is, if he’s worried about his reputation, don’t rape anyone.”


It was infuriating to read about this! What kind of parents genuinely think their son is too good to be punished for such an atrocious crime and minimize it by referring to it as “just 20 minutes of action”. Parents who by the way, also have a daughter.

Know My Name isn’t just about Chanel’s trial though. It is the aftermath, the long-lasting impact on her family — a loving, supportive, close-knit group — boyfriend, and friends. It is her battle to regain a sense of normalcy, have some semblance of peace, and not be shamed for being young and just having a fun night out.

”I did nothing wrong. I am strong. I have a voice. I told the truth.”

Chanel is strong, resilient, and has a way with words. I first became aware of her story when her victim impact statement was released following the sentencing. It is included at the end of Know My Name and likely still accessible online, where it went viral once released.

”You have to hold out to see how your life unfolds, because it is most likely beyond what you can imagine. It is not a question of if you will survive this, but what beautiful things await you when you do. I had to believe her, because she was living proof. Then she said, Good and bad things come from the universe holding hands. Wait for the good to come.”

Read Know My Name — This story is important.
Profile Image for Nina.
202 reviews66 followers
July 7, 2022
It was heart-breaking to see how Chanel Miller had to fight against institutions and how devastating this was for her. From being anonymous to becoming famous, from being assaulted, to her being humiliated by a defence attorney, she had to endure all of it. This is a very personal recount of the events surrounding Chanel Miller’s rape, and what she had to go through in the aftermath. Many victims of rape will probably see similarities in how favourably the perpetrator is treated compared to the victim of the assault. Imagine seeing your clothes discussed in court, imagine how the defence attorney tries to push blame into your direction by showing that it was you who somehow is responsible for the sexual assault that happened. Why is it even possible that someone discusses the clothes, although this should be about consent? I absolutely understand how Chanel Miller felt blindsided, disappointed, and wrecked by a justice system that seems to take sides and uses a double standard in how they perceive rapists and victims differently.

So, if you want to see how Chanel went through this long and arduous process against a rather hostile judicial environment, and how it affected her as a survivor of rape, this could definitely be the book for you. Just expect to read about a lot of unfairness and a woman who somehow has to get her life together in all this. 5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A.E. Chandler.
Author 3 books146 followers
November 26, 2021
A lot of important information was conveyed in this book.

One thing that stood out, and I couldn't believe was happening, was that a rape victim would be questioned in court so minutely about irrelevant trivia, like what she decided to wear to the party where she was attacked. It doesn't matter what she was wearing. No one has the right to touch her without her consent. Drunk and unable to say no is not consent. It also doesn't matter that the perpetrator's old high school French teacher never saw him attack anyone when he was in her class, because this is about the night in college several states away when he did attack someone. It was ridiculous what was being presented in court as evidence.

Another thing that stood out was the everyday harassment Chanel Miller suffered after being attacked, with dozens of men catcalling her as she walked back and forth to class. The one day she wasn't catcalled was the one day her boyfriend visited and walked with her. Usually in conversations about catcalling, someone will ask exasperatedly, "Where's the line?" It seems like men who catcall know exactly where the line is, since they left Chanel alone when her boyfriend was there: If you wouldn't say it to a male stranger, don't say it to a female. (i.e. "Hello, sir. Those jeans make you look so good. Give me a smile, babe." Result: Punched in face. QED: Not appropriate.) Also, if you're calling out to a stranger walking by from your vehicle, 99.9% of the time you're being inappropriate. As a general life rule, not yelling things at strangers works well.
December 23, 2020
After a night at a party, Chanel Miller finds herself confused in the hospital with no memory of the night before. In this astonishing, profound memoir, she shares her impactful journey from being seen as person to a victim of sexual assault known as Emily Doe. We see her struggle to reclaim her identity, and now we know her name, and she is telling her story.

Chanel's story starts with her confused in the hospital, and I found myself confused as she tries to process what is going on. We follow her as she pieces together what happened to her. She goes from not understanding what happened that night to finding out on her own to realizing she didn't understand how the criminal justice systems works, to it failing her and then to her speaking up about her angry, her vulnerability and the things she misunderstood about the world around her.

"I didn't know that money could make the cell doors swing open. I didn't know that if a woman was drunk when the violence occurred, she wouldn't be taken seriously. I didn't know if he was drunk when the violence occurred, people would offer him sympathy. I didn't know that my loss of memory would become his opportunity. I didn't know that being a victim was synonymous with not being believed."

Even though I want to call her courageous in telling her story, that is not her tone. Her bravery is in finding a way to survive and finding the beauty and joy in her life and she encourages survivors to find that as well. She shows us how she started vulnerable and naive about the criminal system and the world around her. Through her suffering and struggles, we see her grow and find that understanding and find her voice. She encourages victims to speak up and to see that they and all women deserve freedom with safety and joy.

"It is not a question of if you will survive this, but what beautiful things await you when you do"

She questions the roles women are excepted to play and the guidelines women are expected to follow while inviting us to question them. She gave me a lot to think about and challenged my thoughts on the roles some men play and get away with. She opened my eyes to how some men can treat women and expected them to conform to it.

I had both the audiobook and ebook from the library and preferred to listen to it. Hearing Chanel's clear voice put me in her shoes, and I could feel her tone in her voice, allowing me to feel the emotions with her. I used the ebook to write notes as I was listening to it. I highly recommend
Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
463 reviews1,020 followers
November 16, 2020
Since I’ve already read the victim impact statement, which is a must read, I was prepared for an empowering moving story, but what I wasn’t prepared for was how such an exceptional amazing writer Chanel Miller is. The way she wrote this book is so freakin beautiful and so moving. Just read those quotes and tell me it didn’t make you feel things.
They seemed angry that I’d made myself vulnerable, more than the fact that he’d acted on my vulnerability.


This book filled me with rage because of the extremely sensitive topic, because of the injustice of the system, because of how unfair this is all, because of the way some stupid people look and treat sexual assault victims, because of how for some reason people avoid the real issue and concentrate on what you were wearing? How much did you drink? What did you have for lunch? Who drove you to the party? Why would you even go to a college party? It’s a hard book to read without wanting to scream out loud. For me it was like there are witnesses, there are evidences, this is everything you need. He’s guilty. What are we even doing here???

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


The trial was frustratingly a joke. I just couldn’t believe that after the dehumanizing, the slow process, all what she went through, after being found unconscious and being rescued by two witnesses, and after twelve juries said GUILTY he walked out after 3 months? are you kidding me? I was quarantined more than that!!!

There was another line of argument that nagged at me: the suggestion that boys simply could not help themselves...
I understand you are not supposed to walk into a lion’s den because you could be mauled. But lions are wild animals. And boys are people, they have minds, live in a society with laws. Groping others was not a natural reflex, biologically built in. It was a cognitive action they were capable of controlling...
Their behavior was the constant, while we were the variable expected to change.


It’s extremely hard to write a review for this book as I’m full of anger and frustration and hatred, so I couldn’t imagine how was it for her to write the whole book. To go over all of what happened over and over again. But she did. She wrote her own story. She made the whole world listen. She’s an exceptional writer and an incredible person.

I encourage you to sit in that garden, but when you do, close your eyes, and I’ll tell you about the real garden, the sacred place. Ninety feet away from where you sit there is a spot, where Brock’s knees hit the dirt, where the Swedes tackled him to the ground, yelling, What the fuck are you doing? Do you think this is okay? Put their words on a plaque. Mark that spot, because in my mind I’ve erected a monument. The place to be remembered is not where I was assaulted, but where he fell, where I was saved, where two men declared stop, no more, not here, not now, not ever.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 5 books13.5k followers
May 19, 2021
“Do not become the ones who hurt you. Stay tender with your power.”

I have seldom read a book with so much wisdom, heart and power. Know My Name is the documentation of a sexual assault, the trial that followed, the media storm that hit when the victim's statement was released on buzzfeed, told by the woman who was taken advantage of while she was unconscious. Chanel Miller speaks about the trauma it caused her, the effect it had on her family, her friends, her boyfriend. A single dismissal of someone's consent will change the life of many in unforeseen and brutal ways. Chanel talks rape culture, sexism, and how society protects perpetrators but punishes victims.

I cried a lot while reading this, but it's not what you think. I cried, not from hopelessness, but because of the strength, beauty and love that Chanel embodies. My heart broke and was mended again because of the care and outpouring of support that Chanel received from her family, her boyfriend, and complete strangers that didn't even know her name. It was the flashes of kindness disrupting all the pain.

This memoir reminds me of three of my all time favourite books, In the Dream House, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love and Blood Water Paint, all of them outstanding works of literature written to combat injustice and violence against women. Read them.

I do not have the words to express my feelings about this book. I am in awe of Chanel's persistence and grace.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Profile Image for Layla.
317 reviews351 followers
May 5, 2021
~ 5 stars ~


Trigger Warnings: rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, substance use, domestic violence.



This memoir was such an impactful, heartbreaking, and meaningful story that I would recommend to each and every person undoubtedly. If you haven’t read this yet, take this review as a sign to do so.

This memoir is written by Chanel Miller, who was more commonly anonymously known as Emily Doe in the Stanford sexual assault case. Her victim impact statement went viral when published on Buzzfeed and in this, she reclaims her identity and shares her story as a survivor of sexual assault.

This case is one that is very well known, and is infamous for how it played out. Brock Turner, who committed the crime, and pleaded not guilty, was given leniency and an extremely light sentence, with 3 years of probation and 6 month in jail, which with good behavior, he served only 3. Brock’s "potential" and privilege sheltered him from facing the real consequences for his actions.

I thought Chanel wrote this book amazingly. Reading about her journey in the court system, the suffering she was put through, and how she was impacted by this felt so raw. Her character was questioned and her story discredited. Her mental and physical health took a toll. She had to deal with all of this and navigate through her life and relationships when such a big part that was being changed. It also takes a look into the system and culture that allows and normalizes sexual assault and the biases held.

For her to speak up about her experiences, it must have taken a lot of courage, and I greatly admire her for being able to do so. I listened to the audiobook, where she narrated it, and I could hear her emotions through it. I am glad I picked it up in that format. Overall, a wonderful and necessary read. A bit difficult at times, but that is what makes it so great. I genuinely don’t know why it took me so long to finally read this.
Profile Image for Kathi.
238 reviews
October 20, 2019
While this is an extremely thoughtful, timely, and heartfelt book, I am rating it on my overall impression, not on my sympathy or desire to support the author. The beginning chapters are poetic and lyrical and set the reader up to expect great insight, but by the end I was skimming (not because I didn't care) because it was overload on the pathos, anger, re-hashing the event and wallowing. I don't in any way disrespect the author and her horrible experience, but, to me, she needed to cut back by one third on the rumination. Also the addition of other cases and political situations are off-putting and unnecessary. Maybe it's too soon after the fact to be able to get perspective enough to edit herself, but it is a courageous book, albeit with an extra dose of well-written whining.
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
817 reviews323 followers
October 25, 2020
5 STARS ★★★★★
This book is for everyone.

Preface.
I just talked about this book with a friend this week who's just read it. The scope of this book is incredible. Undeniably hits home for me personally but also sparked an interesting conversation about what we need to fix in this society. Victim blaming has to stop, in every situation. I am not at fault when disgusting men leer at me or worse. You are not at fault when that cop harasses you for no reason.

When I finished this a couple of days ago, I had the feeling I needed to let my reading experience sit for a while and collect myself before sharing my thought. I now regret that choice. I should have written it straight away, letting it all out; the pain, the sorrow, the anguish, the reassurance, the joy, the determination. This book and Chanel - wonderful Chanel - earn much more than what I am able to give them now, 5 days after finishing one of the most impactful reads of my life. The recent pandemic has messed up my mental composition and my life in general, the ADD ain't happy.

I hope to be a Swede should the moment ever arise. Do not be like the people who watched me and my nightmare man, pretending not to see what was going on, those 12+ years ago. If something looks wrong, it probably is. Trust your instincts. Trust those of others. Listen. Believe.

Only enthusiastic consent in the form of a 'yes' means yes. Everything else is a no.

Overall.
It says 'enjoyability = 5*' at the end of this review, and although I'm all sure you know what this means, I still need to say it: It was excruciatingly painful to get through some of the pages of this book. At some point in the reading process, I predicted I would close this book, anger guiding my hands. But instead, I find tears burning in my throat and awe wettening my eyes.

I found solidarity, light and love amongst the darkness. I'd be lying if I didn't say this wasn't triggering for me, but it proved, if nothing else, that I'm stronger than I thought myself to be. It got an honorary place in my book-arrangement. I will see, truly see, Chanel every day.

What’s happening.
On January 18, 2015, Brock Turner, the rapist, raped a woman on Stanford campus. Although insulted, humiliated and dragged through the mud by him, his family and everybody who didn't believe her, she remained without a name for a long time.
‘This is an attempt to transform the hurt inside myself, to confront a past, and find a way to live with and incorporate these memories. I want to leave them behind so I can move forward. In not naming them, I finally name myself.
My name is Chanel.’

Chanel took the amazingly brave and difficult step to go against the rapist in court. And although this time she was given the chance to say 'no', what followed, was assault all over. Chanel didn't know it would take three years and eight months for this case to be over and her healing process to start.
‘I didn’t know this little yes would reopen my body, would rub the cuts raw, would pry my legs open for the public. […] My three-letter word that morning unlocked a future, one in which I would become twenty-three and twenty-four and twenty-five and twenty-six before the case would be closed. [...] The saddest things about these cases, beyond the crimes themselves, are the degrading things the victim begins to believe about her being. [...] They seemed angry that I’d made myself vulnerable, more than the fact that he’d acted on my vulnerability. Drinking is not inherently immoral: a night of heavy drinking calls for Advil and water. But being drunk and raped seemed to call for condemnation. People were confounded that I had failed to protect myself. [...] When a victim does go for help, she is seen as attacking the assailant. These are separate; seeking aid is her primary motive, his fallout is a secondary effect. But we are taught if you speak, something bad happens to him. You will be blamed for every job he doesn’t get, every game he doesn’t play.’

While Chanel has an awful lot to contribute to the discussion of rape culture in general, there's also an underlying truth about what it means to be a woman on this planet in general:
‘What if you’re assaulted and you didn’t already belong to a male? Was having a boyfriend the only way to have your autonomy respected? [...] Women have been trained to notice micromovements, to scan and anticipate all subsequent action, constantly measuring how far threating words are from realities. We are tasked with defending ourselves in every imaginable scenario, planning escape routes, walking with keys between knuckles, a natural instinct in our day-to-day routine.’

_____________________
writing quality + easy of reading = 5*

structure = 4*

enjoyability = 5*

insightfulness = 5*
Profile Image for Charlotte Kersten.
Author 3 books427 followers
Read
April 1, 2022
She asks if this is the way it happens for a lot of people - you don’t remember anything, but you just know something bad happened. Is this normal? I say nothing is normal and everything is normal. We bag up the bloodstained sheets in her car.

She tells me about Riverdale, about people getting buried alive, about her tattoos, about the elders from her tribe, about her pets, about her kids, about how long she’s been clean. She makes a joke about her vagina -"Crip pussy," to be exact, because the nurse has just painted it with blue dye. That makes me laugh really hard. Her hand squeezes in mine because everybody hates the speculum.

The officer tells me over the phone that she’s crazy. The officer asks what she thought would happen, inviting a man over at that time of night? The officer tells her to her face that he doesn’t believe her, that she’s trying to extort her boyfriend. He refuses to give her a copy of her police report. The officer says women have sex and regret it afterwards. Her husband breaks the restraining order and nothing happens.

She says she feels stupid. She says she should have known better. She says it wasn't that bad, that she doesn’t want to waste my time. She says it’s not like she was dragged into an alley by a stranger. We write a letter to her mother and her first question is Can you forgive me? She asks if it’s like when you drop an ice cream cone- she’s just a kid, so maybe she’s getting upset over something that she really shouldn’t. She says she should have watched her drink, fought back, stayed home. She says she doesn’t want to play the victim card.

The blame is a refrain in her head and the opposite becomes a refrain in mine: not your fault, not your fault, not your fault. I say it every way I can think of. Would you blame your best friend the way you’re blaming yourself? Why can’t you afford yourself that same kindness that you give to others? I say it doesn’t matter if you were drunk. It doesn’t matter that you invited him over. None of it matters except for the fact that he made the decision to hurt you. It was his decision. I say it and I say it and I say it. Sometimes I think she believes it.

I try to understand why the focus is always on what she did, why every innocuous choice she made is turned to an accusation: should have known better. Why existing in the world as a woman is an invitation. I wonder why we ask "Why did she...?" instead of asking "Why did he...?" Why did he make the decision to rape someone?

Sometimes I think it will never get better. Sometimes I think it will never end. Then she says she’s learning to trust herself again. She says she downloaded a dating app, she started therapy, she told her mom what she told me. She’s going to do whatever it takes. She says she’s still alive now. I don’t know if it’s enough but it is something. She asks me if she should give up and then she answers her own question: No, I’m not giving up.
Profile Image for Katie Colson.
604 reviews5,295 followers
November 23, 2021
WOWOWOWOWOW

It is not often that I want to pause an audiobook to go buy the physical book because there is so much I want to highlight and annotate.

What happened to Chanel Miller is vile. It's difficult to hear and even harder to understand. She tells her experience of the night itself and the court proceedings in such a brilliant way that you never get too caught up in any one emotion. The second you think you'll cry, she pulls you back with a relatable antidote about her and her sister. When you want to scream and tear men to shreds, she warms your heart. By doing this she forces us to not get caught up in our own emotions and fantasies. Also not to get lost in her story. She wants us to see the facts and know that this is happening everywhere, to everyone. That it is real and horrifying and we all have to do whatever we can to fix it.

Her reactions to waking up in the hospital and just blindly going along with the nurses directions because they seemed kind was so relatable and real. It was honest. I felt like I was this woman and this is exactly what I would do. Which makes it all the more realistic. It felt like Chanel was my friend and I was watching her go through this. And what's terrifying is that this COULD have been my friend. We all know someone who's been assaulted. Hell, I've been. But most of us don't talk about it the way Chanel chose to. Our of fear or obligation or risk. And god bless her for gifting this book to us.

This is the best nonfiction book I've ever read. It's stunning. A masterpiece. Read it now.
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