After a night at a party, Chanel Miller finds herself confused in the hospital with no memory of the night before. In this astonishing, profound memoir, she shares her impactful journey from being seen as person to a victim of sexual assault known as Emily Doe. We see her struggle to reclaim her identity, and now we know her name, and she is telling her story.
Chanel’s story starts with her confused in the hospital, and I found myself confused as she tries to process what is going on. We follow her as she pieces together what happened to her. She goes from not understanding what happened that night to finding out on her own to realizing she didn’t understand how the criminal justice systems works, to it failing her and then to her speaking up about her angry, her vulnerability and the things she misunderstood about the world around her.
“I didn’t know that money could make the cell doors swing open. I didn’t know that if a woman was drunk when the violence occurred, she wouldn’t be taken seriously. I didn’t know if he was drunk when the violence occurred, people would offer him sympathy. I didn’t know that my loss of memory would become his opportunity. I didn’t know that being a victim was synonymous with not being believed.”
Even though I want to call her courageous in telling her story, that is not her tone. Her strength is in finding a way to survive and finding the beauty and joy in her life and she encourages survivors to find that as well. She shows us how she started vulnerable and naive about the criminal system and the world around her. Through her suffering and struggles, we see her grow and find that understanding and find her voice. She encourages victims to speak up and to see that they and all women deserve freedom with safety and joy.
“It is not a question of if you will survive this, but what beautiful things await you when you do”
She questions the roles women are excepted to play and the guidelines women are expected to follow while inviting us to question them. She gave me a lot to think about and challenged my thoughts on the roles some men play and get away with. She opened my eyes to the brutal reality of how entitlement and class privilege can work against women and how some men can treat women and expected them to conform to them.
I had both the audio book and eBook from the library and preferred to listen to it. Hearing Chanel’s clear voice put me in her shoes, and I could feel her tone in her voice, allowing me to feel the emotions with her. I used the eBook to write notes as I was listening to it. I highly recommend
Powerful. Shocking. Emotional. Upsetting. Inspiring. Life changing.
This is the memoir of an extremely admirable, inspiring and empowering young woman who has given a voice to countless sexual assault victims. Chanel Miller was sexually assaulted behind a dumpster on a prestigious college campus in 2015. This is her journey of fighting for her voice to be heard which in turn gives courage and strength to so many others.
This book is undeniably powerful. I don’t believe there is a person who could read this and not be affected. The facts are stomach churning. What Chanel went through is unbelievable. One of the hardest hitting points for me to wrap my mind around was how vulnerable and uninformed Chanel was kept along the process of the court proceedings. She wasn’t made to feel truly supported by the college or courts throughout the investigation. How many other victims are out there who have been left alone “in the dark” to grieve and hide away from what happened to them? I hope this book makes it into the hands of people who can change the way sexual assault victims are treated and supported.
If I were rating Chanel’s courage and positive impact on our world, 5 stars wouldn’t be enough. My rating for this book is 4+ stars because the middle section did feel a bit drawn out and my attention wavered slightly.
I thank and applaud Chanel Miller for writing this stunning book. It took bravery, courage and determination to put her story down on paper for the world to see. It is a novel I will never forget reading.