For years, the world knew her only as “Emily Doe,” the young woman who had been sexually assaulted as she lay unconscious behind a dumpster on Stanford’s campus. The assailant, freshman athlete Brock Turner, was convicted of three felony sex crimes but drew national outrage for serving only three months in jail.
With the release of a book, “Know My Name,”
In unaired clips from her interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker, Miller talked about her attempts to separate herself from “Emily Doe,” and why she thinks that when it comes to cases of sexual assault, the judicial system is not equipped to find the truth.
Filming the 60 Minutes report also gave Miller an opportunity she had been waiting for: More than four years after that fateful January night, she finally met Peter Jonsson and Carl Arndt, the Swedish graduate students who stopped Turner’s assault and held him down until police arrived.
“That’s not me. That’s not Chanel.”
Chanel Miller first learned the details of her sexual assault by reading about it in the news. Ten days after the assault, press accounts published lurid details obtained from the police report about a female sexual assault victim found in a state of undress: her skirt was hiked up around her waist, her underwear had been removed, and her bra was half pulled out of the top of her dress. Though articles never named Miller, the words “Stanford,” “rape,” and “unconscious intoxicated woman” leapt off the page. She realized she was the unnamed woman who had been assaulted.
Miller told Whitaker she felt she had lost all of her privacy except her name. She came to see “Emily Doe,” an alias used to protect her identity, as a different person altogether.
“She’s this abstract entity who belongs to the case,” Miller told Whitaker in the video above. “And I thought, ‘That’s not me. That’s not Chanel.'”
But compartmentalizing her trauma proved to be too much.
“It’s a very fragmented way of living, and I thought I could do it,” she said. “But I quickly realized it’s not sustainable.”
“We interrogate the victim and go after her character”
Miller told Whitaker she became dismayed with the judicial system as the case worked its way through court proceedings.
That feeling intensified when she had to testify in court.
“Instead of investigating the crime that’s at hand, we interrogate the victim and go after her character and pick her apart and openly defile and debase her…” Miller said. “Nobody can say, ‘That’s enough.’ I can’t say, ‘Don’t talk to me like that.'”
Miller went on to recall how she answered all the questions she was asked and tried to maintain control of her emotions—until she was asked about waking up in the hospital after the assault.
“It’s like the lights would go out in my head,” she said. “I would lose complete control, begin sobbing.”
Chanel meets the Swedish grad students
On that January night in 2015, Swedish graduate students Peter Jonsson and Carl Arndt were biking on Stanford’s campus when they saw Turner on top of a woman who was not moving. They stopped him, chased him down, and then held him until police arrived.
“They changed the story,” Miller told Whitaker on the broadcast. “They changed the entire trajectory of my life.”
More than four years later, while filming for 60 Minutes, Miller was finally able to meet the two men who rescued her.
“I kept saying thank you,” Miller recalled, “and they kept saying that helping the world is thanks enough.”
Miller added she was particularly struck when Jonsson revealed that he had continued to inquire about her well-being long after the assault. Jonsson and Arndt later told Whitaker meeting Miller was like meeting family.
“It meant a lot that they cared so much throughout the entire process,” Miller said.
The videos above were originally published on September 22, 2019, and edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.