Stanford assault victim Chanel Miller releases powerful film for victims of sexual abuse

'Survivors will not be limited, labelled, boxed in, oppressed'

Joanna Whitehead
Monday 30 September 2019 12:39
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I am with you - A short film by Chanel Miller

Chanel Miller, the woman who was sexually assaulted by Stanford student Brock Turner, has created a powerful short film to show her support and solidarity with survivors of sexual abuse.

The film, entitled I Am With You, is narrated by Ms Miller and uses hand-drawn animation to tell her story.

“It happened when I was 22, on the cusp of my adulthood,” the film begins.

“When you are assaulted, an identity is given to you. It threatens to swallow up everything you plan to do. And be. I became Emily Doe.”

Ms Miller, whose identity only became public earlier this month, is speaking candidly about her experience in the lead-up to the release of her memoir Know My Name.

Ms Miller, known as "Emily Doe" for the duration of the 2016 court case, was attacked by Turner while intoxicated and unconscious in 2015.

His sentence of six months in prison prompted widespread outrage, a response that was heightened when he was released after just three months.

Joe Biden described Miller's bravery as "breathtaking" and nearly a million people signed a petition to recall the sentencing judge, Aaron Persky, for what they described as a "lenient sentence".

The film, which was made by an almost entirely female crew, goes on to detail Ms Miller’s experience throughout the trial, during which she delivered a powerful victim statement to Turner.

“When I released the statement, something else happened,” the narration continues.

“The world breathed life into my words. I spent all this time absorbing, absorbing. Listening to their voices, until I understood.

Ms Miller echoes the words used against her by Turner’s lawyers during the trial: “Chanel knows how you get in blackouts,” she says.

“Chanel also knows how to write. And Chanel knows how to draw.”

The film then shifts to show Ms Miller in real life, drawing illustrations on a wall.

“Survivors will not be limited, labelled, boxed in, oppressed,” she continues.

“We will not be isolated – we’ve had enough. Enough of the shame, diminishment, the disbelief, enough loneliness.

“No one gets to define you. You do – you do. My name is Chanel – and I am with you.”

Ms Miller described her experience of making the film as “immensely healing”.

“We should all be creating space for survivors to speak their truths and express themselves freely,” she said.

“When society nourishes instead of blames, books are written, art is made, and the world is a little better for it.

"Nobody wants to be defined by the worst thing that’s happened to them.”

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