Chanel Miller, victim of rapist Brock Turner sheds light on the issue of rape, sexual assault in the U.S.

Abby Pikett, News Assistant Editor

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Chanel Miller, the previously anonymous victim of rapist Brock Turner, has revealed her name to the public and is telling her story of being sexually assaulted by a man who spent only three months in prison for his life-altering crime. 

Miller was sexually assaulted Jan. 18, 2015 behind a Stanford University dumpster where two cyclists saw Turner on top an unconscious Miller and intervened. 

Miller withheld her identity throughout the years that followed her assault and the subsequent trial of Turner. Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months in the Santa Clara County jail followed by three years of probation. Turner was released after serving only three months. 

Photos by Wikimedia Commons
Brock Turner poses for his mugshot after being arrested for sexual assault charges.

Although Turner had to register as a sex offender for life after his release, the results of the sentence left Miller feeling embarrassed for ever thinking she had an influence on the matter. 

Miller wrote, “I was embarrassed for trying, for being led to believe I had any influence.” 

Contrary to what Miller believed about herself, she did have an influence that was significant enough to lead Stanford to ban hard alcohol at campus parties and a change to the California sentencing law.

Changes like these are important in preventing sexual assaults and giving fair punishment to rapists, but change often comes too late. Miller and countless others have been raped or sexually assaulted and their rapists often walk free. 

According to The Washington Post, “Less than one percent of rapes lead to felony convictions. At least 89 percent of victims face emotional and physical consequences.”

When it comes to protecting victims and penalizing rapists, the United States justice system often disappoints. 

“Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted,” according to RAINN.org. That means 39 people in one hour, almost 1,000 people every day, over 6,000 people a week, and an average of 342,782 people every year are sexually assaulted in the United States alone, and less than 2000 of those people’s assaulters are convicted. 

Over 99 percent of criminals get to walk free, unaffected by their actions, but within minutes, these rapists and assaulters will have created pain that hundreds of thousands of victims will live with for the rest of their lives.

These statistics show how dramatically the U.S. criminal justice system is failing victims of sexual assault and rape. According to RAINN.org, “Only 230 out of every 1000 sexual assaults are reported to police. That means about three out of four go unreported.” 

It is important to note that rape and sexual assault are considered the most under-reported violent crime. This is due to multiple reasons, according to RAINN.org, “13 percent [of victims] believed the police would do nothing to help. Eight percent believed it was not important enough to report. Two percent believed the police could not do anything to help.”

These statistics show that some victims do not report a sexual assault because they do not think it will make a difference. This is not always the case. If a victim never speaks up, help will never come. There needs to be a more supportive attitude towards victims of sexual assault from authorities and the justice system, in order for them to say something about what they experienced. 

Support for sexual assault victims has increased and changes have been made to help prevent the rates of sexual assaults, but progress can still be made within the justice system to give fair punishment to sexual assaulters and rapists.

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