Know My Name by Chanel Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My girls will read this book someday, and if I had sons, I would have them read it too. I don't care that it's graphic and raw; it's also dripping with an angry truth that everyone should hear and feel. Chanel Miller's voice is fireworks of emotion. The day I finished this book, I tried to explain it to my husband while he was driving, and I just couldn't get the words out. I cried and tried to explain what she wrote about. He patted my knee and then lightly squeezed my arm, and that's all I needed. He understood what I was trying to say without another word. I ached for this woman, for myself, for my friends, for every woman who has faced even the tiniest bit of the cruelty and injustice that comes with sexual harassment, assault, and rape. Chanel's voice is difficult to connect with at first, and I found myself confused about who she is. Then as she continued her story, and her writing style revealed her true voice, I got it. She didn't act the way survivors are expected to act because there are no set rules. She didn't ask questions. She expressed more concern for the well-being of her sister than for herself. She did what she was told. She was a victim put on trial while her rapist, Brock Turner, was pitied, and his lost swimming future lamented. Her life and private parts were put on display while people made excuses for his privilege. She eventually writes a searing victim impact statement only to have it edited for time, and the justice system demeans her further. Chanel finally gets her say when her entire statement is published and read by millions of people worldwide. Her words are uncensored, and the polished euphemisms often used in sexual assault cases are bravely and notably missing. Chanel Miller makes her name known to the world despite the outrageous slap on the wrist that Brock Turner gets at sentencing. I was enraged, devastated, and disgusted by what Chanel went through. Her story lays out the reality of sexual assault and the way victims are degraded in the current processes of our judicial system but also a path toward healing by creating justice with her own words.
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