Back in 2015, former Stanford student Brock Turner was found guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault. This was after he raped a woman (under the pseudonym Emily Doe) behind a dumpster during a fraternity party. Turner was sentenced to only six months and only served three. This controversial sentencing led Aaron Persky, the judge during the trial, to be recalled by California voters—the first time since 1932.
Last September, Emily Doe revealed her true name: Chanel Miller. This was followed by her own memoir, “Know My Name,” where she shared her journey following the incident. According to The New York Times, she read transcripts and court documents to better craft her book.
Miller ultimately became a beacon of hope for everyone who went through the same thing.
Over the weekend, Miller was recognized as Glamour’s Woman of the Year. “There’s a leader here tonight who changed the way our society sees assaults against women on college campuses,” Glamour editor-in-chief Samantha Barry said while introducing Miller. “She told the story of her rape at Stanford with a courtroom impact statement that vibrated around the globe.” Barry added that Miller was also Glamour Woman of the Year in 2016, where a representative accepted her award on her behalf. “What we didn’t know then was that Emily was actually in the room that night, sitting silently in the back, listening to every word. In September this year, she finally felt safe enough to bravely and publicly share her identity. Now everyone knows her name: Chanel Miller.”
Miller then read a poem she wrote called “I Don’t Give A Damn.” Read below:
I don’t give a damn / What you were wearing / I don’t give a damn how much you drank / I don’t give a damn / If you danced with him earlier in the evening / If you texted him first / Or were the one to go back to his place. / People may continue to come up with reasons “why it happened” / But the truth is, I don’t give a damn.
But I do / give a damn / How you’re doing / I give a damn about you being okay / I give a damn if you’re being blamed for the hurt you were handed / If you’re being made to believe you’re deserving of pain. The only reason I am standing here / Is because people gave a damn about my well-being / Even when I did not. / They reminded me that I carry light / and I deserve to be loved / Even when I forgot. They gave a damn. / That’s why I am who I am today.
So here’s the takeaway. / When we step up for survivors / when we stop sealing them off in shame / When we quit interrogating them with stupid questions / Look what happens.
Books are written, laws are changed, / We remember we were born to create / To not only survive, but look hot and celebrate. Tonight you must come away knowing / That I will always, always give a damn about you / The way you gave a damn about me.
This poem serves as a reminder to every survivor that you are not at fault and that there are billions of people that believe you and care for you.