Review: Know My Name (Chanel Miller)

46194941._SY475_.jpgGenre: Autobiography
Publisher:
Viking
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
Format: Paperback
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 357

Blurb from Goodreads:

The riveting, powerful memoir of the woman whose statement to Brock Turner gave voice to millions of survivors

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 humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.


RATING

5 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

Last August, I received a sampler of Untitled: A Memoir by Emily Doe. It contained a twelve page long victim impact statement written by Emily Doe. After devouring it in one sitting, I knew that I need to read the memoir. Published on Buzzfeed in June 2016, nearly 20 million people read it. Now, she has come to reclaim her identity. Her name is Chanel Miller. 

_108614236_chanel_portrait.jpg
Chanel Miller.

Honestly, I would have never thought to know Chanel’s name. After all that she has gone through in her life, she deserves the privacy. I applaud Chanel for her bravery and resilience in telling her story to the world. Her voice is so powerful that she inspires other sexual assault victims to speak out and makes changes in California law.

In Know My Name, we are brought to where it all started, to the aftermath of the assault, to the acceptance of family and friends, to all of the trials and hearings in court. This book delves into the trauma of sexual assault and the underlying truth of criminal justice system in America. Everything about her life and the assault is written so detailed that it can punch you in the gut. The way that she writes touches you to the core of your heart.

“Society often fails to wrap its head around the fact that these truths often coexist, they are not mutually exclusive. Bad qualities can hide inside a good person. That’s the terrifying part.”

I feel angry and confused when reading about how awful Chanel is treated by the justice system. When it comes to sexual assaults, the emphasis is always the victim. The victim’s private life is scrutinized, as if the perpetrator is blameless. But when it comes to the perpetrator, the only question they ask is what kind of events happened in their life which led them to carry out the crime? It is terrifying that the corrupt system is created to favor the privileged.

Chanel captures the full emotional roller coaster of her experience. She explains how the assault affects her life as a whole, drains the joy from her life and makes her a better person. She tells that it does not only impact her life, but it also impact the lives of people around her. She tells how her sister has to rearrange her examination date and plan her school accordingly because the court constantly changes the date of hearings, to quitting her full time job because she can’t afford to take day offs and to draining her bank account to cover her daily expenditure. She has to increase her dependency to her family and boyfriend. It is so sad how the assault can give such an impact to the victim. It is common for sexual assault victims to walk away from pressing charges because of the emotional labor involved. She also provides us a realistic view of the complexity of recovery.

One of the most absurd thing that Chanel has to go through is about how Stanford treats the survivors. I feel mad on how insensitive and ignorant they are in reconnecting and helping the victims. They have failed to have taken the opportunity to review policies on services to take immediate action and to ensure the safety on campus.

There are so many inspiring and spot-on quotes written by Chanel. I even mark my favorite quotes on the pages of the book, something I haven’t done in my whole life. One of my favorites are:

“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”

To Chanel, I’m glad I know your name. Thank you for your incredible story.

10/10 recommended to everyone.

Thank you Times Reads for sending me a copy of Know My Name.

X

Sabrina

 

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