Known as Emily Doe during the Brock Turner trial, Miller shows solidarity with other sexual abuse survivors in her new animated video
“Assault teaches you to shrink,” declares Chanel Miller. “Makes you afraid to exist. Shame, really, can kill you.” The 27-year-old is narrating an animated short film, called I Am With You, written and created by herself for herself, and for other survivors of sexual assault.
Following last week’s release of her memoir, Know My Name, Miller shared the video to continue taking control of her story. In 2016, her case drew worldwide outrage after Brock Turner received a pathetic six-month sentence for raping Miller, then known to the word as ‘Emily Doe’. The artist and author revealed her identity earlier this month, and took part in a televised interview for CBS News’ 60 Minutes.
“While writing Know My Name, I was constantly drawing as a way of letting my mind breathe,” Miller explains in the video’s description, “reminding myself that life is playful and imaginative. We all deserve a chance to define ourselves, shape our identities, and tell our stories.”
The animated short was created by an almost entirely female film crew, whose support was “immensely healing” for Miller. “We should all be creating space for survivors to speak their truths and express themselves freely,” she says. “When society nourishes instead of blames, books are written, art is made, and the world is a little better for it.”
I Am With You tells the story of Miller’s assault, detailing the pain of Turner’s defence – his status as a ‘star swimmer’ was regularly used as a positive example of his character – and the system that favours attackers over their victims.
“I wrote a victim impact statement,” Miller narrates, “twelve pages. I read it at the sentencing straight to the man who hurt me. But the judge did not hear me.”
After being published online in full, Miller’s statement went viral, receiving widespread support and praise from the public and other survivors. “To girls everywhere, I am with you,” the letter concluded. In this short film of the same name, Miller explains the impact of the outpouring of support: “When I released the statement, something else happened. The world breathed life into my words. I spent all this time absorbing. Listening to their voices until I understood.”
In 2015, Miller was discovered by two Stanford University graduates behind a dumpster, half-naked and unconscious, being assaulted by Turner. The case shed a light on the biased defence of white, college-educated athletes, and the abhorrent accusatory nature which survivors of sexual assault are met with in court.
“Survivors will not be limited, labelled, boxed in, oppressed,” Miller concludes in I Am With You. “We will not be isolated. We have had enough. Speak up when they try to silence you. Stand up when they shove you down. No one gets to define you. You do.”
Watch I Am With You below.
Know My Name is out now on Penguin’s Viking imprint