Chanel Miller speaks at seventh annual Shifting the Paradigm event

Hannah Levitan, Associate News Editor

Tulane University administration assigned Chanel Miller’s memoir, “Know My Name,” as reading for the sophomore class last summer. (Hannah Levitan)

After a six-month delay due to Hurricane Ida destruction, author, artist and sexual assault advocate Chanel Miller headlined Tulane University’s seventh annual Shifting the Paradigm event in an hour and a half Q&A session on March 23. 

Last summer, Tulane administration assigned Miller’s memoir, “Know My Name,” as summer reading for the sophomore class as a means of addressing sexual violence concerns. 

In 2015, Miller, previously known as “Emily Doe,” was sexually assaulted by Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner. 

Contingent on her guaranteed anonymity, Miller signed a publishing contract and began writing her memoir after she went viral for reading her victim impact statement. She decided to reveal her identity in the spring of 2019.  

Miller opened the event with a reading from her memoir, sharing her story of perseverance, patience and healing. 

“For so long I worried that to be known, meant to be undone,” Miller said. “The more they see you, the more they can use against you. For years I worried this was true. Upon finishing this book, I knew it was not.”

As questions poured in through an anonymous Google form, Miller described how her life changed after her assault. 

While the court reached a guilty verdict, Miller said Turner’s sentence was botched.

“I’ve always been kind of naive,” Miller said. “When I entered the court system, I believed in justice … It’s hard because I felt really hopeful.” 

Turner was convicted of three felonies. He was sentenced to six months, shorter than the six years prosecutors requested. He was released three months early on good behavior.

Though she said it was painful and lonely to continually relive her trauma as she wrote her memoir, Miller said she found excitement in documenting her growth. 

“The way I tell it changes,” Miller said. “The facts don’t change, but … you can watch me fortify, and you can see me becoming who I am today … Even when you feel stuck just reliving the same, awful memory like [you] will never transcend the story, it’s not true. You’re changing all the time.”

Through Miller’s memoir, artwork and campus talks, she continues to share her reality as a survivor, determined to reframe her narrative.

“He could not erase everything,” Miller said. “I was emerging as a fleshed out author, sister, artist — too many identities to name.”

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