Book Review: Know My Name

Wow. This book was incredible. Warning: Know My Name is not easy to read. I could only handle a chapter at a time and read another, lighter book concurrently because this topic is heavy. But eliciting such strong emotions is usually indicative of an important work.

In 2015 a girl was sexually assaulted behind a dumpster while unconscious on Stanford’s campus. The case made national news as the assailant, Brock Turner, was painted as a nice kid with Olympic dreams who made a mistake because he got roped into the drinking culture of college. Meanwhile, the victim was berated for blacking out and at every turn was questioned whether she may have brought the assault on herself. He drinks too much and he was “just having fun in college;” she drinks too much and she was asking for it. In the end, he was sentenced to just six months in jail and released after serving a mere three. Disgusting. Miller, then known anonymously as Emily Doe, provided a statement detailing the impact the assault had on her and it went viral. After spending several years in anonymity, Chanel Miller reveals her identity and her full experience – from the assault itself, through the trial, and to her empowered now – in this memoir.

Thank you, Chanel Miller, for sharing your story. Thank you, Chanel Miller, for walking us through the invisible pain felt by survivors, experienced beyond the moment of assault and presented in unexpected ways. Thank you, Chanel Miller, for forcing change to the system. Thank you, Chanel Miller, for not backing down. Thank you, Chanel Miller, for making it perfectly clear that – once more for the people in the back – IT DOES NOT MATTER what the victim wore, how much she had to drink, whether or not she had a boyfriend, if the perpetrator was typically “generous” and “nice,” if he had a promising career, or if there’s a culture of binge drinking in college. There is nothing – nothing – that makes sexual assault acceptable.

5 out of 5 stars.

Pair with: A perfect slice of pie.