Chanel Miller, the sexual assault survivor of Stanford University rapist Brock Turner, is reclaiming her identity in an animated short film that accompanies her aptly titled memoir, “Know My Name,” which hit the shelves last week.
Miller, known only to the public as “Emily Doe” until early September, was unconscious when Turner violated her in January 2015.
The five-minute film, titled “I Am With You,” shows a glimpse into Miller’s life in the aftermath of the assault, particularly how she dealt with the trial and eventually found herself again, armed with wisdom and ready to face the future.
“I wrote a victim impact statement — 12 pages. I read it at the sentencing straight to the man who hurt me,” Miller recalls in the film. “But the judge did not hear me.”
Miller is referring to Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Turner to six months followed by three years of probation. This sentencing ignited controversy for its bias and leniency, resulting in Persky being recalled by California voters and ordered to pay $161,000 in legal fees.
In her film, Miller goes on to share how her talents have helped her form a new identity. She also encouraged others who find themselves dealing with similar experiences to “seek whatever you wish to be in life.”
“Survivors will not be limited, labeled, boxed in, oppressed,” Miller says. “We will not be isolated. We have had enough.”
She continues, “Enough of the shame, diminishment, the disbelief, enough loneliness. Look at all this togetherness. Look out for one another.”
Miller described working on the film — created by an almost all-women crew — as an “immensely healing” experience.
“While writing ‘Know My Name,’ I was constantly drawing as a way of letting my mind breathe, reminding myself that life is playful and imaginative. We all deserve a chance to define ourselves, shape our identities and tell our stories.”
She encouraged the creation of spaces for other survivors to express themselves.
“We should all be creating space for survivors to speak their truths and express themselves freely. When society nourishes instead of blames, books are written, art is made and the world is a little better for it.”
Miller, who is Chinese American, has become the latest figure of Asian American women standing up against sexual violence. Statistics compiled by the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence show that 21% to 55% of Asian women experience intimate physical and/or sexual violence from intimate partners, while 18% report experiencing rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
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