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Image / Editorial

WATCH: Stanford assault survivor Chanel Miller releases moving short film


by Jennifer McShane
30th Sep 2019
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When you’re a victim of assault, says Chanel Miller, everything gets taken away. Your identity, dreams, plans for the future. Your voice goes silent. You are made to shrink and feel smaller. But four years after a horrific assault left her only known as Emily Doe, Chanel has found her voice once more. And she’s ready to use it


“When you are assaulted, an identity is given to you. It threatens to swallow up everything you plan to do and be. I became Emily Doe.”

She was, she says in her powerful short film, “afraid to exist.”

“Shame really… can kill you.” 

It isn’t hard to imagine that feeling of powerlessness when your life has been irrevocably changed – and your attacker gets only six months in prison (and is released after three).

Three months. For sexually assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster.

She was given this narrative, with no choice or say in any of it.

Now she has taken on what seems an insurmountable task: Chanel Miller is reclaiming her identity. Retelling the story. It now has a different ending. Her ending. One where she emerges stronger than ever, her own person, ready to stand in solidarity with other survivors of assault.

She is a survivor. One with a name, a life, a dog.

“Nobody wants to be defined by the worst thing that happened to them.”

All this the 27-year-old recounts as she narrates an animated short film, called I Am With You, written and created by herself for herself, and for others.

It’s released in conjunction with her new memoir. For herself.

For togetherness.

To inspire those who need to hear the words: “No one gets to define you. You do. you do.”

Watch the powerful, utterly affecting short film below:


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