OPINION: The most well-known unknown victim gave me renewed hope

Chanel Miller speaks up about her sexual assault in her new memoir “Know my Name”


Screenshot via CBS 60 Minutes interview

Kayla Brown

I remember lying on the floor of my friend’s living room at six in the morning, reading the story of the Brock Turner rape investigation. I felt scared, angry and a hundred other different emotions, but mainly I was worried and upset for Emily Doe, the unnamed woman who Turner assaulted at Stanford University.

I also felt ashamed of myself. Maybe if I had come forward for my sexual assault in middle school, Emily Doe and other women wouldn’t be ashamed to come forward. But then again, I felt like my experience paled in comparison to Emily Doe’s. 

I don’t have to worry about Emily Doe being scared to reveal her identity anymore. She has come forward as Chanel Miller in anticipation of the release of her debut novel “Know my Name” on Sept. 24. She will also appear on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sept. 22. 

Miller’s 7,200-word victim impact statement during Turner’s trial changed my life forever. If it wasn’t for her impact statement, I wouldn’t have had the courage to tell my friends about my experience with sexual assault in middle school. 

But it’s heartbreaking to see the statistics about how many people don’t report sexual assault, whether they report it anonymously or not. 

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) only 230 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to the authorities, leaving three out of four sexual assaults unreported.

I wish I had told an adult what happened to me. Maybe something would’ve come of it and I wouldn’t have had to see him every day at school for the rest of the school year. 

Hell, maybe my mom wouldn’t have driven him home right after he tried to rape me. But I was 12 and I was scared. And there are plenty of other people who are scared to come forward about their sexual assault. 

If you ever need help coming forward to the police, or to others, I am here to say that there are avenues to seek help.
I want to help you, Sacramento State wants to help you and RAINN wants to help you. Just because we go through a sexual assault online seminar to attend school here doesn’t mean it prevents all rape.

You can follow Miller’s lead and report it anonymously, but you shouldn’t have to feel like you can’t come forward and you can’t get help.

I would just like to personally thank Miller for giving me the strength to come forward about my experience because no sexual assault experience is too small. 

If you or a loved one have been a victim of sexual assault you can call RAINN’s hotline, (800) 656-HOPE or (800) 656-4673.