The woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner was “shocked” when she learned her attacker had been sentenced to serve only six months in jail, she said Sunday in her first television interview.
Chanel Miller — who was known for years as “Emily Doe” before revealing her identity earlier this month — told CBS’ “60 Minutes” she was appalled at the wrist-slap sentence Judge Aaron Persky gave Turner in March 2016.
Turner faced a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison after having been convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault for the January 2015 rape. With good behavior, his sentence was reduced and he was out of jail in 90 days.
“I was in shock,” Miller said.
“There are young men, particularly young men of color, serving longer sentences for non-violent crimes, for having a teenie-weenie bit of marijuana in their pockets,” she said. “And he’s just been convicted of three felonies. And he’s gonna serve one month for each felony. How can you explain that to me?”
Though Miller had read an scathing victim-impact statement to the court, in which she directly addressed Turner — she felt like her voice hadn’t been heard.
Then, a copy of her statement went viral and she began receiving a flood of letters from supporters, including other sexual assault survivors.
“It was really like medicine. Reading these was like feeling the shame dissolve, you know bringing all the light in,” Miller said.
Following national uproar over the sentencing, Persky was recalled by voters in 2018. State law was also changed to set mandatory prison sentences for anyone convicted of assaulting a person who is unconscious or intoxicated.
In her interview, Miller described finding out she had been raped while passed out outside a frat party from news articles — something she’d revealed in her victim-impact statement.
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“It was surreal having the news broken to me by the internet,” Miller said. “I was alone, sitting at my desk, surrounded by coworkers, reading about how I was stripped and then penetrated and discarded in a bed of pine needles behind a dumpster.”
The comments on the news articles were worse — many of them blaming her for being assaulted, she said.
But, “Rape is not a punishment for getting drunk,” Miller said.
“And we have this really sick mindset in our culture, as if you deserve rape if you drink to excess,” she told the outlet.
“You deserve a hangover, a really bad hangover, but you don’t deserve to have somebody insert their body parts inside of you.”
As part of the program, which aired Sunday night, Miller met Peter Jonsson and Carl Arndt, the two Swedish graduate student who were heading to the party when they interrupted the rape and chased down Turner when he began to run away.
“The same night the assault happened, a miracle also happened, which was that I was saved,” Miller said. “And thinking of the two Swedes who knew to do the right thing, and who wanted me really to be okay, always gave me hope.”
“They changed the story,” Miller continued. “They changed the entire trajectory of my life.”