Today, TIME revealed their 100 Next, a list of the next 100 most influential people in the world. Featured prominently on that list is Chanel Miller, the author of memoir Know My Name who was previously known as Emily Doe. Miller was featured on both TIME’s Next 100 and Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards — and we should take a moment to celebrate how special that really is.
In 2015, Miller survived a sexual assault while at Stanford University. The following year, she became a viral sensation after publishing her victim impact statement — which she’d read to her attacker in court — on Buzzfeed. Published under the name of Emily Doe, the statement had an explosive impact on women everywhere, who saw their own pain and shame and rage echoed in her words.
In 2018, another brave woman came forward: Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school. Ford — who didn’t have the choice of staying anonymous — wound up getting insults, attacks, and threats to her safety and the safety of her family for months after that testimony. She had to move four times. She couldn’t go back to work.
Sadly, that’s how sexual assault survivors are often treated when they choose to go public — and so, who could blame Miller for wanting to keep her identity in the dark? But somehow, Miller gained the courage to go even further. She revealed her name and face to the public earlier this year, deciding it was time for people to know her name.
And while we held our breath, waiting to see if the attacks on her character would come raining down, something else happened instead — something really remarkable.
Ford herself wrote the essay for Miller’s inclusion in TIME’s Next 100. She says this: “Chanel, you truly are everything you told us to be: ‘you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you.”
Even though Ford went public with her story and suffered, she can celebrate the progress that our response to Miller represents — and we can and should celebrate too.
To have Miller honored in these two highly prestigious, highly public ways — Glamour’s WOTY Awards and TIME’s Next 100 — feels like we’re seeing a real change in how we treat survivors and their stories. After years of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements fighting for this shift, our treatment of Miller feels like that change has been set in motion.
In other words: We’ve talked the talk of believing women for a few years now. Our celebration of Miller may be a sign that we’re finally ready to walk the walk.
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