Know My Name By Chanel Miller

TW: Sexual Assault

I finished this memoir weeks ago. I stare at my blank word document, trying to summarize my feelings about it, but end up deleting whatever I say. This is, hands down, the most important memoir I’ve ever read. As you likely know by now, Miller is the survivor of a sexual assault that Brock Turner perpetrated on Stanford’s idyllic campus. Her victim impact statement went viral and the world watched, enraged, as Turner received six months for his disgusting assault. The memoir is poignant, raw, hopeful, heartbreaking, and a stunning tribute to the night when Miller collided with a traumatic experience that molded her life for years, transformed her worldview, and brought her back to center, different and strong. I really wanted this review to say this – READ THIS BOOK. YOU NEED TO. RAPE CULTURE MUST BE CANCELLED. MILLER IS INCREDIBLE. Those short sentences are what all my thoughts boil down to, but here I attempt to say more.

SWIPE for full review and powerful quotes

Miller’s recounting of her sexual assault chronicles the stages she went through upon waking up in a hospital the night after Brock Turner assaulted her. As she explains her initial disbelief about the assault, her confusion as police tell her little details that don’t quite add up, her frustration with questions Brock’s defense lawyer asks that feel pointless and invasive, the elation of winning a sexual assault case followed immediately by defeat of a ridiculously dismissive sentence—Miller bares it all in a way that draws readers in and keeps them emotionally engaged until the very end.

I buddy read this Kate (@cozylittlebooknook) and I think a buddy read was necessary while reading because I had so many thoughts, most of which were just angry ramblings, that I needed to get out. I deeply appreciate our conversations after every few chapters. I particularly appreciated our conversation about Brock’s family—and how they refuse to see their son and brother as a predator. That they refuse to reconcile that someone can do good things and still commit atrocities. Their defense of him only shed light on the complicity that led to his actions.

As a lawyer, the defense attorney’s treatment of Miller made my stomach turn. It made me angry and it made me thankful I will never be a defense attorney, specifically for accused sex offenders. I was saddened by the fact that a jury found Brock guilty of every charge and still the judge could step in and say, “oh, well, here’s a shit sentence that undoes the years Miller dedicated to this case to ensure justice was served.” Does “justice is served” mean six months reduced to three for good behavior? Good behavior? But… he sexually assaulted someone and now gets less jail time because of his ‘good behavior’? It’s moments like this I reject the notion that the criminal justice system is effective.

Alas, I want to share some of Miller’s words because her writing is beautiful and MUST be read. I could quote the whole damn book, but it’d make more sense to just read it. This should be required reading in schools, in book clubs, in life. That’s all I have to say.

Have you read this?

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