‘Know My Name,’ a Sexual Assault Survivor Tells the World | Modern Society of USA

‘Know My Name,’ a Sexual Assault Survivor Tells the World

‘Know My Name,’ a Sexual Assault Survivor Tells the World

In January 2015, Miller was 23 and a recent college graduate when she went to a fraternity party with her sister and a friend. She sipped warm beer, tossed down vodka, went outside to pee. “I was bored, at ease, drunk and extremely tired, less than 10 minutes from home. I had outgrown everything around me. And that is where my memory goes black, where the reel cuts off.” (A good thing, as it spares us the specifics of exactly what happened after Turner got her alone behind a dumpster, the kinds of details that have become commonplace in the small but emerging genre of survivor memoirs. If you aren’t already angry, consider that the genre of survivor memoirs is a thing that exists, and that Miller joins the likes of Jaycee Dugard and Michelle Knight, abductees who wrote about the horrors they endured in their captivities.)Miller wakes up in the hospital, with pine needles in her hair, her underwear missing, debris in her vagina. With unsparing detail, she describes what happened next: trying to figure out why a police officer and a Stanford dean are in her room, trying to find her phone, trying to make sense of the night. She is stripped, swabbed, examined, photographed inside and out. “Another microscopic camera snaked up inside of me, the internal walls of my vagina displayed on a screen. I understood their gloved hands were keeping me from falling into an abyss. … They could not undo what was done, but they could record it, photograph every millimeter of it, seal it into bags, force someone to look.”Miller learns part of the story in the hospital and reads the rest online. “I clicked back to the news on my homepage, saw Stanford athlete, saw raping, saw unconscious woman. I clicked again, my screen filled with two blue eyes and a neat row of teeth, freckles, red tie, black suit.”Watch patriarchy work: Miller’s assailant becomes the Stanford Swimmer. He gets a name, a face, a back story. Newspapers published details of his athletic prowess, with a photograph that Miller dryly notes could have doubled as a LinkedIn profile picture. “I was never called girl, only victim,” Miller writes, quoting the police report: “He stated that he kissed VICTIM while on the ground. He took off the VICTIM’s underwear and fingered her vagina. He also touched the VICTIM’s breasts.”“Know My Name” is an act of reclamation. On every page, Miller unflattens herself, returning from Victim or Emily Doe to Chanel, a beloved daughter and sister, whose mother emigrated from China to learn English and become a writer and whose father is a therapist; a girl who was so shy that, in an elementary school play about a safari, she played the grass. Miller reads “Rumi, Woolf, Didion, Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, Banana Yoshimoto, Miranda July, Chang-rae Lee, Carlos Bulosan.” She rides her bike “through the Baylands … across crunchy salt and pickleweed.” She fosters elderly rescue dogs with names like Butch and Remy and Squid. She rages against a form that identifies “victim’s race” as white. “Never in my life have I checked only white. You cannot note my whiteness without acknowledging I am equal parts Chinese.”


Source link