I tend to be very picky with books I buy these days. I had slowly transitioned from not buying any Kindle copies — because, Amazon — but what I often do though before I pick up any paperback or ebook from other publishers (check out Haymarket, Verso, and many others) and bookstores is to download Kindle samples and read the first few pages to see if I would like them or not. If I like them, then I’d decide whether I want a personal copy for myself.
I downloaded Chanel Miller’s Know My Name today, knowing full well I am still bloody livid reading her statement after her harrowing experience years ago. Chanel is an excellent writer, a talented illustrator, and no doubt, a strong person. My heart swells for her after reading the first few pages of her book, as she reclaimed her own name — after years of being referred in court documents as just Emily Doe — and her identity, refusing to be defined by the assault and by ‘belonging’ to the man who raped her, “I am not Brock Turner’s victim. I am not his anything.” “My hope is to undo these beliefs,” she wrote, ‘beliefs’ referring to degrading thoughts the victim themselves begin to think about themselves as their narratives are taken away from them. “However you chose to identify and exist in this world, if your life has been touched by sexual violence, I seek to protect you.” The strength and power of Chanel Miller — know her name — as she offers reassurances to survivors everywhere as she herself rises above her devastating experience and finds her own power and agency in a world that would still continually place importance in race, gender, and wealth gap when it comes to justice, or everything else for that matter.
All of the above were just gleaned through reading just the first few pages. I am definitely getting a copy of my own. Know her name.
- Read the excerpts from Chanel Miller’s Know My Name
- The irrepressibly political survivorship of Chanel Miller