Stanford Sex Assault Survivor Thinks Brock Turner Is in Denial, Doesn't 'Truly Understand' His Crime
The woman who was sexually assaulted by Stanford University freshman Brock Turner says she has put her anger towards him “to rest,” but she doesn’t absolve him or believe he has fully acknowledged his crime.
“It’s not forgiveness so much as you’ve just decided there’s no room in your heart for hate,” the woman, Chanel Miller, tells PEOPLE.
“I think you can forgive someone without pardoning them, if that makes sense. I think forgiveness may just be putting it to rest.”
Miller, who was previously known publicly as “Emily Doe” before revealing her identity in early September, spoke to PEOPLE exclusively ahead of the Sept. 24 release of her book, Know My Name. The book discusses the aftermath of the sexual assault Miller endured at the hands of Turner, then 20, outside an on-campus fraternity party in January 2015.
PEOPLE is pleased to debut an exclusive video written and illustrated by Miller, which appears at the top of this post. An exclusive excerpt from the book also appears in the upcoming edition of PEOPLE.
Miller tells PEOPLE, “While writing Know My Name, I was constantly drawing as a way of letting my mind breathe, reminding myself that life is playful and imaginative. We all deserve a chance to define ourselves, shape our identities, and tell our stories. The film crew that worked on this piece was almost all women. Feeling their support and creating together was immensely healing. We should all be creating space for survivors to speak their truths and express themselves freely. When society nourishes instead of blames, books are written, art is made, and the world is a little better for it.”
Turner was convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault. Prior to his 2016 sentencing, Miller delivered a powerful victim impact statement that went viral and is seen as a precursor to the #MeToo movement.
Prosecutors asked that Turner be sentenced to six years in jail, but Judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to six months, holding that a lengthy sentence would have a “severe impact” on him. Three months after Turner began his sentence, he was released from jail, and the length of his time behind bars drew widespread criticism.
“I think the unfinished part is that I’ll always hope that he learned something or that one day he will truly understand,” Miller says.
Miller believes Turner has used his alcohol consumption as an excuse for his behavior.
“I was very ready to receive an apology from the very beginning. I’m always going to advocate for acknowledging behavior and figuring out how to change and grow from that, but you can’t do that without acknowledging what happened. And so the growth will never happen,” she says.
Persky, the judge, was recalled by California voters in 2018. Recently, he was hired by a high school to coach girls JV tennis, but he was dismissed after parents met with school officials.
Says Miller, “What I want to say in relation to the judge or Brock is … that I have no control over who they become or how they choose to reform themselves. I will say I will always encourage them to do that, but ultimately, I will always be focused on my own trajectory and thinking about the people I want to help and how I want to move forward.”