Chanel Miller Says I Don’t Want A Revenge

Chanel Miller (California, 28 years old) was tortured by declaring that she had eaten “broccoli and rice” before going to the party where she would end up being raped by a complete stranger. Actually, what he had eaten that night was quinoa with broccoli.

That data so stupid for many – what difference would it make, what will what someone eats have to do before a predator chooses you as his victim and rapes you in the middle of the street – to be wrong when saying that he had rice for dinner and not quinoa in the trial against his attacker caused him a state of anxiety and mental paralysis.

Miller knew that the quinoa could have lowered her tolerance to alcohol that night, and therefore could explain why she had gaps at the time of her rape.

She also sensed that no matter how much she had been the one who later woke up bruised, without a trace of her underwear, with matted hair and full of pinnace, guarded by two policemen in a hospital bed 40 kilometers from her house without understanding anything. of what had happened to her, she too was being judged. What if he showed anger when declaring, I would be on the defensive.

That if she had a flat tone, she would be listless. If she did it too animated, she would be suspicious. If she cried, a hysterical one. If she was carried away by emotions, she would convey little confidence and if she was too cold, insensitive. Chanel knew all that. That’s why in his head the quinoa was crucial.

In the early morning of January 18, 2015, Brock Turner digitally raped Chanel Miller, then 22, at a Stanford University fraternity party.They did not know each other and had not spoken during the party, but Turner took advantage of the fact that Chanel had consumed alcohol and was practically unconscious to take her out of the fraternity and assault her behind some containers.

Two Swedish students who were walking around the campus with their bikes saw him, rebuked him for his behavior – they noted that Miller did not know what was happening – and Turner ran away. He was arrested and the rapist, from a wealthy family and star of the swim team, posted bail of $ 150,000 and was released.

In March 2016, a trial was held in which the jury found him guilty of the three charges he was charged with (assault and attempted rape). The maximum sentence was ten years in prison, but the judge who presided over the case, Aaron Persky, a former student and also a former Stanford athlete, sentenced him to only six months. He turned three and returned home to Ohio. The case shocked the United States and raised a wave of outrage for exposing the fissures of American justice in the face of sexual assault.

Until September 2019, until she decided to reveal her identity, show her face, say her real name and publish her memoirs about what happened, Chanel Miller had remained in legal anonymity and had been known as “Emily Doe, the survivor of the swimming rapist Stanford ” .

Her alias, an alteration of the Jane Doe used in legal action when protecting a woman’s identity, was a nickname that achieved global fame when, in June 2016, she decided to share the text via BuzzFeed. that she herself read at the hearing for the sentence of her rapist.

In those 28 pages, he recounted his psychological trauma and helplessness in the face of an attack that he could not remember, as well as the problematic management of violations in front of the justice system. The press would label Emily Doe’s powerful text as

“The Bible of What Happens to Victims of Sexual Assault.” In four days he had fifteen million readings, 18 deputies read his letter in the US House of Representatives and thousands of women shared their own attacks from their networks driven by the value of the allegation.

Joe Biden, then US vice president, supported her for showing survivors “the strength they need to fight.” Hillary Clinton would later explain in her memoirs ( What happened) that Emily Doe’s final paragraph was the one that inspired that emblematic quote (“To all the girls who are watching me I want to tell you never to doubt your potential”) that went viral in her defeat speech to acknowledge Trump’s victory.

Chanel Miller’s memoirs, I have a name , arrive in Spain with a translation by Laura Ibañez and edited by Blackie Books. One afternoon in February we chatted via Skype with the author to discuss why her book is much more than a personal experience.

Those 400 pages are also the political manifesto of a new era, a plea where the dots come together, from the incel culture to the post-MeToo pending subjects, of a society that continues to normalize the culture of rape. Or as she sums up: “This is not about a crisis, this is a true epidemic.”

I don’t mind the word victim. It is interesting because as long as you do not pronounce it, your attacker will appropriate it. Mine did. He said the victim was him. He assigned himself the grief and the right to empathy, as if he were the one who had really suffered the damage by what happened.

What bothers me, the fear that the term itself generates, is that when a woman is sexually assaulted and thus introduced to the public, her narrative, her story, will begin with the assault. And rape is never the beginning of a person’s life. I have many other stories that have shaped me, that have shaped me, that tell who I am today.

And all the others were overshadowed by that act. If it is scary to be a victim, it is because nobody wants to live confined to a single fact in your life. Nor with the sorrow with which it is associated.

In fact, your memories vindicate the sense of humor as a plea for healing, there are fragments that provoke laughter, despite the seriousness of what was discussed.

It would be a real shame if after you’ve been raped you have to immerse yourself in seriousness and that grief, as if you couldn’t joke about the situation due to the seriousness of the matter. I don’t think it should be that way. Nor do I want people to approach me and say with a rueful face, taking my arm: “I’m very sorry about what happened to you,” you know? I want you to be able to connect with me like you did before. That is also important.

You rebel against the myth of the “ideal victim.” You say in your book, “I had a purity standard applied to me that if I didn’t meet it, that would justify Brock raping me.”

It is curious to see how the defense attorney, for example, insisted that I admit how many times I had had mental blackouts due to alcohol in my life, if I had partied a lot at the university, looking for supposed reasons for my aggression. But when he asked me, I wasn’t ashamed to say that of course he had gone to parties, or that of course he had had blackouts before.

I was surprised to see how that was treated as if it were a secret that needed to be exposed to know the real truth. I think people prefer to think that certain characteristics and qualities have to be filled in in an orderly and vital grid form to earn the right to be heard. Rather believe in that fantasy than admit how vulnerable we are at all times.

In the book I wanted to make this clear: that my life and my sexual and alcohol experiences also had to be exposed because that is not the problem. I think many survivors are made to feel guilty, ashamed of their past experiences, because they know that their opponent will use them as an attack.

It’s a mistake. It should be clear to us that there is an abysmal difference between making mistakes like any other maturing human being and consciously hurting someone, actively inflicting damage. I have been able to make mistakes in my life, but I have not been attacking people out there.

It should be clear to us that there is an abysmal difference between making mistakes like any other maturing human being and consciously hurting someone, actively inflicting damage. I have been able to make mistakes in my life, but I have not been attacking people out there.

It should be clear to us that there is an abysmal difference between making mistakes like any other maturing human being and consciously hurting someone, actively inflicting damage. I have been able to make mistakes in my life, but I have not been attacking people out there.

The title of the book is a powerful claim: I have a name. Is society not prepared to know the identity of the survivors?

I waited four and a half years to say my real name. Meanwhile, I had to give up everything: in that court, everyone, including my parents and the press, saw my naked photos lying on the ground, my photos in the hospital, the inside of my vagina. I answered all kinds of questions about my life.

They forced me to offer everything, to surrender, and all that was left for me were the letters of my real name. That is sacred, that no one should take away from you.

I was terribly scared when I thought my name could leak. The journalists knew what he called me, but I had to trust that they would not leak it, that also led me to therapy. When you are in that situation, when you feel in the heart of the storm, that is a horrible way to live.

She knew she needed that privacy to write the book, but she also knew that she couldn’t live her whole life like this, with that constant fear of being exposed. So I had the strength to claim my name. And when you do, it’s a powerful experience. But that must be a personal decision, yours. You must be the only one who claims it, no one should push you to do so. If they do it without your consent, it is violence.

You put context to why Brock Turner, being a millionaire and white, had a media treatment that sought to empathize with him. You write: “Let’s say that instead of being a Stanford athlete, that same crime is committed by a Hispanic-American boy of the same age who works in the frat kitchen. Would this story end differently? Would The Washington Post say of him that he is a future surgeon? ”

This thing happened with my attacker: he was already on the golden road. The aggression, what his environment classified as an “unfortunate incident”, took him out of it. But the system insisted on returning him to his past, as if being a criminal had never had to consume his identity.

His identity was that golden path. If you are a person of color or a minority you will be more easily typecast as a criminal, and it will not be seen as a simple mistake in your life. The letter that his mother wrote to the judge, in my case, insisted on an idea: “Look at him, look at him,” he wrote.

As if being white and his blue eyes exempted him from having committed a crime. Meanwhile, I am a young, half-Asian, half-American (Miller’s parents, a psychologist and a writer, were born in China) and the defense never noticed me. They never looked at me They never mentioned me in their letters. I was ten feet away in that room, even when I cried in that room, they didn’t look at me. It was being erased. It still happens in the US. The scales of justice are out of balance.

You were losing faith in the system, step by step, in your judicial process. You say that “the price a victim has to pay to testify is to sacrifice his sanity.”

When someone criticizes a victim, when they question how or when they have reported, I would like to face each and every one of those people and blurt out: ‘You tell me, step by step, what should have been done and in what order, and if you tell me that you can do it, break all this down well, put order in a logical way, then I will listen to your opinion ”.

For example, they found me unconscious, the police came, photos were taken of the scene, and since there were no rape kits on the Stanford campus and in their clinic, they had to transfer me to a hospital 40 minutes away. I was lucky and an ambulance took care of it. So far so good. But, considering that there are only 24 hours for it to be valid as proof, what if it had not been like that?

Students usually do not have a car while studying on campus, Does an attacked person have to call an Uber? What if you don’t have money for the trip? Should you find a friend to bring you closer? People who often criticize victims don’t have that logistical logic in their head, starting with, let’s say, just this detail like the rape kit. There are so many more.

You also defend the right to anger and rage. In the text, you regret having faced the trial trying to display “too much dignity”.

That is another. You can lose credit in the lawsuit if you are angry. You have to be good, whole, be polite. When I declared it seemed like it, but I smashed my hands. Under the dais, I dug my nails into the skin. That anger, that anger was in my body, but I was not allowed to show it. Anger is also important for healing.

I was not aware, but in my day to day, I had fits of rage. When someone told me something I didn’t want to hear or reminded me of the case, I exploded. It was very strange. Like a disease that lived inside me for a long time, until I learned to manage it. That anger can be powerful for survivors.

A specialist told me: “When you finally feel it, it is a sign that you are in your territory, you have slept to depression. Now that anger will be the one that will make you hit back ”. It is a sign that you are waking up, that you must fight for yourself. Now I use my anger all the time.

I mean, look at me, I give interviews with composure, I don’t raise my voice, but I use it to keep talking. Knowing that there are victims everywhere, that there are 16-year-old girls locked in their rooms without leaving, skipping classes, stopping doing the things they loved because they were attacked.

That anger is what motivates me to continue having these kinds of conversations. stopping doing the things they loved because of being attacked. That anger is what motivates me to continue having these kinds of conversations. stopping doing the things they loved because of being attacked. That anger is what motivates me to continue having these kinds of conversations.

You accurately analyze the letter from the ‘good uncle’ when it comes to bullies. You write: “The nice guy who helps you with the move and who helps the older people in the pool is the same guy who assaulted me. The same person can be capable of both. Evil can hide in a good person ”.

Aggressions are totally normalized in society. They are happening all the time, at all hours. I don’t like the idea that my assailant was a good neighbor or had worked as a lifeguard, that those factors in themselves canceled out the possibility that he could attack people. As if my assault were an anomaly in the system.

Something goes wrong when people say, ‘But don’t you see how close he is to his mother?’ I, as a victim, was a stranger, and was discredited as such. The important thing is not if he had been a lifeguard in the swimming pool in his city, the important thing is how he treated a person he did not know at all when he believed that no one was looking at him, when he was alone with that person. It’s a completely different conversation.

The comments to the news about your case, before your statement went viral and the tables turned, led you to punish yourself and raise your sense of guilt.

I found out about my case information online, on a news portal. I didn’t have a support system to give me information or help me, I was isolated. So I read the news that was published before the trial to make sense of the story, which clearly gave me a distorted view of everything. It was just a sponge and it absorbed everything.

When I later told my therapist about the agony over the comments, he said: How many of those comments have they told you in person? That’s when I realized that it was just noise. That there is no courage when typing those comments. I am a human being who is in a battle, but I do appear, I show myself in combat. That strengthens me, gives me more credit.

A case that draws parallels with yours in Spain, due to the impact it has had on the feminist movement, is the case of the victim of the Pack. What would you say to that young woman?

I would tell you that if you feel small in the face of all this, even if you feel totally trampled and broken into a thousand pieces, vulnerable all the time; she will always be much bigger than all those people who hurt her. What if you feel like they are testing you, if you don’t want to leave the house, if you want to hide and lock yourself in because you can’t open the door; think you can overcome those terrifying forces that stalk you.

The strength that you exist, that strength you have to continue on this earth and wake up every morning, is above what the rest think. It is admirable that you persist, give yourself credit for doing it. I can understand each and every one of those moments that you have been or are going through.

I would like people to be aware that these stories are always constructed in the media that the raped claims for revenge, the victorious victim with the convictions, when in reality, most of us just want to have a normal life again, boring, walking down the street again or having a good meal with your family without that fact having become the center of your life, without having to live in terror of it all the time.

We have the right to have a boring life, like the rest of you. Society must understand that survivors are not only that incident, we are also a collection of stories and experiences. And this is the only one that should be asked of her: to move on, to be what she wants to be, to say what she wants to say. She was a person before this and is still a person after this.

The pack not only took his body from him, they wanted to make that story his life. And they are not going to achieve it, because she is going to continue with her life and live many other experiences. You will succeed, even if you do it privately and quietly. I am convinced that it will.

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