Chanel Miller tells her story in first television interview
For nearly five years, Chanel Miller has remained anonymous and silent as the media, the courts, and even her assailant, have described what happened the night of her assault and during her year-and-a-half-long legal battle. Now, Chanel Miller is discarding her "Emily Doe" alias, given to protect her identity, to reclaim authorship of events that drew outrage across the country and led to major changes in California law. She also discusses the powerful victim impact statement she wrote and read to her assailant Brock Turner in court, that went viral and helped light the spark for the modern #MeToo movement.
In an interview with Bill Whitaker, Miller expresses the shock she felt over the short sentence given to Turner and offers a blistering critique of the U.S. legal system, which she says fails victims of sexual assault. Whitaker also speaks to the two Swedish graduate students who stopped the assault and subdued the fleeing Turner. The interview will be broadcast on "60 Minutes," Sunday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS.
Turner was convicted of three felony sex crimes, including assault with intent to rape. Rape charges were dropped because there was no evidence of intercourse, which was required in California at the time.
Moments after Miller read her statement directly to Turner in the courtroom, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced the convicted sex offender to six months in county jail, which with good behavior, meant 90 days behind bars. "I was in shock," says Miller. "So you're saying I just put aside a year and a half of my life so he could go to county jail for three months. There are young men, particularly young men of color, serving longer sentences for non-violent crimes, for having a teeny bit of marijuana in their pocket. And he's just been convicted of three felonies ... one month for each felony. How can you explain that to me?"
The victim impact statement went viral around the world, with private citizens, celebrities and members of Congress staging and posting public readings. As a result, Judge Persky became the first judge to be recalled from the bench in California in more than 80 years.
Persky cited, among other things, the fact Turner was intoxicated that night as a factor in his lenient sentence. Miller blacked out and was unconscious when two Swedish graduate students, Peter Jonsson and Carl-Fredrik Arndt, came upon her and Turner on the ground behind a dumpster. "[Turner] was moving a lot. But we just saw her lying there completely still," recalls Arndt. Jonsson says, "She was completely unconscious."
Miller, who has no memory of the assault, describes the shame she felt reading critical online comments from press accounts of her assault questioning why she was at a frat party and why she would consume so much alcohol. Miller tells Whitaker "Rape is not a punishment for getting drunk. And we have this really sick mindset in our culture, as if you deserve rape if you drink to excess," she tells Whitaker. "You deserve a hangover, a really bad hangover, but you don't deserve to have somebody insert their body parts inside of you."
Miller has written a memoir called "Know My Name." It appears in bookstores September 24.
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