As I was working on Ivory Tower, so many relevant stories were happening in the news that made writing my novel feel like writing non-fiction: the multiple rape cases at Baylor, the prostitution ring in the basketball program at Louisville, the protection of a prized athlete and alleged sexual predator at my own institution.
But none of these was more inspiring than the story, trial, and open letter in the case of Chanel Miller, the sexual assault victim of Brock Turner, an athlete at Stanford University. During the trial in which Turner was convicted, Miller read a shocking and heart-felt letter to the jury that expressed her moral outrage at the way Turner presented himself as the real victim and was coddled by the Judge and defense attorneys. Judge Aaron Perksy famously said that “[a] prison sentence would have a severe impact on him” and cut a potential 14-year sentence to 3 months. Miller’s letter eloquently explains the “severe impact” that Brock’s choices have had on her and will have on her for the rest of her life.
After almost four years of anonymity, Chanel has at last revealed her identity in a stunning new memoir titled Know My Name. Fashioned after the famous catch phrase of the main character in the hit TV drama, Breaking Bad, the title of Miller’s book evokes the power of addressing and facing the culture of rape in America, particularly at in athletic programs at American universities.