Entertainment

Brock Turner’s Victim, Who Wrote Of Her Horrifying Rape By A Dumpster In An Impact Statement, Is Publishing A Book

In 2015, the story of Stanford University student and rapist, Brock Turner’s sexual assault of an unconscious woman went viral. His victim had written a heart-rendering impact statement that went viral and dominated headlines for months and while it occurred just before the #Metoo movement, there’s no denying it has had a profound impact on the ways similar rape trials have been addressed since.  Turner was then charged after two Stanford graduate students witnessed the assault taking place while they were riding bicycles near the college campus. 

When the case drew nationwide attention, Turner’s victim remained unnamed. For the last three years, the sexual assault survivor had only been  known to the public as “Emily Doe.” Now, she’s releasing her first book and reclaiming not only her truth but her identity as well. 

In a profile published in the New York Times, “Emily Doe” wants you to know her real name: Chanel Miller.

(Photo Credit: New York Times)

According to the New York Times, Miller’s case made headlines after BuzzFeed had published the statement she read at the sentencing hearing for Brock Turner and essentially, that statement is what got her the book deal. The editor in chief of Viking, the book’s publisher, tells the NYT that she remembers being in her kitchen, reading “this incredible, riveting piece of work.” Afterward, a literary agent representing Miller contacted the EIC of Viking to say her client was interested in writing a book. Four years later, and Miller is now celebrating the publication of her first memoir, “Know My Name.”

“The process of writing “Know My Name” was also, in part, a way for Ms. Miller to piece together the totality of what happened the night she was assaulted,” writes the New York Times. “She read pages of court documents and transcripts of witness testimonies she had not been allowed to hear during the trial.” Miller began writing the book in 2017. 

The cover art for Miller’s memoir also holds significant meaning. It was inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi or “golden repair” in which “broken pottery pieces are mended using lacquer and powdered gold.” 

The meaning of the cover art is meant to symbolize and represent Miller’s recovery from the sexual assault and the trauma of the trial said the publisher.

Brock Turner was convicted in 2016 of sexually assaulting “Emily Doe” appealed his convictions and requested a new trial in December of last year. In March of 2016, Turner was found guilty on three felony counts: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious individual, the penetration of an intoxicated individual and the penetration of an unconscious individual. 

Turner’s conviction caused national outrage, mostly because of Miller’s letter.

According to CNN,  Turner’s lawyers filed an appeal with California’s 6th District Court of Appeal in 2017 claiming that their client was “denied due process” and called the conviction “fundamentally unfair.” 

Unfair? Brock Turner spent only three months in jail. But the public wasn’t surprised. After all, this was a white male being accused of sexual assault. That basically says it all. According to CNN, Turner was released for “good behavior” and only served half of his sentence. However, as part of his sentence, he still has to “register for life as a sex offender.”

 In 2018, CNN reported that Turner lost his appeal in the case. 

Miller also went on to give her first public interview to “60 Minutes” where she also read her victim impact statement from the sentencing hearing. 

People on social media are also already rallying behind Chanel Miller by showing her support and expressing their excitement over the release of her new book.

One Twitter user said she “got goosebumps” over the news of Miller revealing her identity. “She deserves the world,” she added. 

Another woman on Twitter called her an “American hero.” 

In another tweet, Ella Dawson went on to say that her testimony at Brock Turner’s trial, published anonymously in 2016, “paved the way for #MeToo and exposed the sickening treatment rape survivors receive from the justice system.” 

Others also began criticizing not only 60 Minutes for their language in a tweet but media in general for the way they continue to cover this case.

In the tweet 60 Minutes shared of Miller’s first interview since the case, they referred to Brock Turner as the “Stanford swimmer” instead of calling him what he is: a rapist. Danielle Campoamor on Twitter retweeted the original 60 Minutes post and said, “Hey 60 minutes you spelled ‘RAPIST’ wrong.”

Social Media Manager for Voto Latino, Mariah Castañeda also echoed the sentiment of the irresponsible way media outlets continue to humanize Brock Turner by not referring to him as a rapist. 

“Chanel Miller is one brave badass for publicly reclaiming her identify after how horrible y’all treated her as [Emily Doe],” Castañeda writes on Twitter. “And f*ck all news outlets that refer to her rapist as the ‘Stanford Swimmer.'” 

Ultimately, it’s clear mainstream media still has a lot to learn when it comes to the right way to treat survivors of sexual assault (and women in general for that matter) compared to their abusers. 

Another woman on Twitter noticed how Brock Turner is the one trending on Twitter and again, still being referred to as “Stanford Swimmer” when it’s Chanel Miller that we should be highlighting and uplifting. “She deserves better,” the woman wrote. 

“Know My Name” is scheduled for a release date of September 24. 

Uber Says There Were More Than 3,000 Sexual Assaults Reported In Its App Last Year And Here’s What They Plan To Do

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Uber Says There Were More Than 3,000 Sexual Assaults Reported In Its App Last Year And Here’s What They Plan To Do

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Uber has been grappling sexism and sexual assault controversies for years now. After revealing its first safety report, the car service disclosed that users reported 3,045 sexual assaults, of those 235 were rapes, during rides last year. There were also nine murders and 58 people were killed in car accidents. 

The number of outright tragedies reported is less than one percent of total Uber rides, which reached 1.3 billion rides in the United States in 2018, according to the company. Nevertheless, officials at Uber were unsettled by the number of crimes and tragedies. 

Uber relies on the fact that it is accessible and ubiquitous to drivers and riders.

Like other ride-hailing apps, including Lyft and Via, the lynchpin of Uber’s business model is an egalitarian approach to who can use it. This means regulations are often ditched in favor of allowing any driver with a car to work for the company. It means these drivers aren’t screened, and in New York City they don’t require a Taxi medallion like traditional yellow cab drivers. 

When employees (and customers for that matter) aren’t properly audited, sexual assaults, attacks, and murders can become all too common. Uber maintains that the crimes and tragedies aren’t a reflection of Uber’s policies but of society’s. 

“The numbers are jarring and hard to digest,” Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer told the New York Times. “What it says is that Uber is a reflection of the society it serves.”

When the New York Times checked Uber’s safety record against the New York Police Department’s registery of sex crimes and rapes on the city’s transit systems, 553 assaults were reported in 2018. 

There were trends among which crimes drivers committed and which were committed against them. 

While 92 percent of rape victims were riders, murder victims tended to be drivers, riders and other parties. However, both drivers and riders reported other forms of sexual assault at about the same rate, according to Uber’s report. The report categorizes sexual assault into 21 categories that range from unwanted touching to attempted rape to rape. 

“Confronting sexual violence requires honesty, and it’s only by shining a light on these issues that we can begin to provide clarity on something that touches every corner of society,” the company’s chief legal officer, Tony West, said in the executive summary of the report. “The moment is now for companies to confront it, count it, and work together to end it.”

In April a woman filed a $10 million lawsuit against Uber claiming she was sexually assaulted by her driver and as a result is suing the company for negligence and consumer protection violations, according to The Verge. At least 31 drivers have been convicted of various related offenses like assault, rape, false imprisonment and other crimes, according to CNN. Last year, a pedestrian was killed after being hit by a self-driving Uber car. In 2017, an engineer at the company exposed Uber’s corporate culture as sexist leading to an investigation where dozens of employees were fired. 

Uber has begun implementing more steps to protect passengers and drivers.

Uber’s reputation has been overshadowed by seemingly countless incidences of sexual assaults and the report has not pacified all of their critics. Nevertheless, many are praising the company for disclosing such information warts and all. 

“The more that the public is aware, the more the company and everyone else has to respond,” Jeanne Christensen, whose law firm represented rape victims in cases against Uber, told the New York Times. “It’s such a part of daily life that everyone is going to take it. We’re already at that point. So now they just have to make it as safe as possible.”

Uber has been taking steps over the past 21 months to document and prevent more safety violations. In the app, they added a panic button so that passengers can directly call 911 and provide them with their location. Riders can also use check-ins if their driver appears to be taking a suspicious route. 

“All of those steps are starters because these ride-hailing companies have been abjectly failing in their duty to protect against predators or criminals,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal told the New York Times

The company has partnered with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to determine its best course of action. Since 2017, the company has tripled the staff of its safety team with continued expansion expected. In 2020, it will roll out a hotline with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. 

“The numbers in the report are not surprising because sexual violence permeates all aspects of our society, whether that’s ride-share or Metro or taxi or a workplace,” Allison Randall of the National Network to End Domestic Violence told Washington Post. “This is definitely the start of a conversation.”

El Paso Man Charged With Murdering His Date Whose Body Is Still Missing

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El Paso Man Charged With Murdering His Date Whose Body Is Still Missing

El Paso Police Department

The family of a woman who had been declared missing since July has finally found tragic answers after El Paso police charged Ricardo Marquez, 28, with her murder. Erika Andrea Gaytan, 29, was reported missing by her family on July 16, who felt it was out-of-character for Gaytan to disappear and leave her 7-year-old son behind. Gaytan reportedly was last heard from after going to a concert at the El Paso County Coliseum on July 13 with Ricardo Marquez. Gaytan recorded the concert, featuring Los Rieleros del Norte, Polo Urias and La Maquinaria Norteña, from her social media last night, marking the last time anyone heard from her. Detectives say that the day after Gaytan’s disappearance, Marquez borrowed his brother’s car and his sister’s shovel. Gaytan’s blood was found in Marquez’s Jeep. In a statement released Wednesday, Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said that Gaytan’s “body has not been found, but based on forensic and other evidence gathered over the course of the investigation detectives have reason to believe that she is deceased and was the victim of a murder.”

Police believe Marquez used zip-ties to restrain Gaytan in his home, where he murdered her.

CREDIT: EL PASO POLICE DEPARTMENT / FACEBOOK

Marquez was brought in for questioning following Gaytan’s disappearance, where he told detectives that she came home with him, but used a ride-hailing app to leave after they got into a verbal argument. Detectives found no evidence that Gaytan used her ride-hailing apps, discrediting Marquez’s statement. According to a court affidavit, Marquez continued to give conflicting statements about his experience with Gaytan, and his whereabouts the following day, when speaking with law enforcement and family and friends alike. 

Marquez allegedly spent the next day covering up his crime.

CREDIT: @JALAKFOX_CBS / TWITTER

Investigators then looked into Marquez’s phone records, which showed that he had texted his brother and sister the next morning. He asked his brother if he could borrow his all-wheel-drive Jeep Wrangler, and picked up a shovel from his sister. Surveillance video evidence creates a timeline for Marquez’s alleged cover-up. He borrowed a shovel from his sister around 11:25 a.m. the following morning, and then went to his brother’s house to pick up the Jeep. He spent about an hour with his brother before being spotted on the 13900 block of Montana in east El Paso, driving toward the Redlands desert area. An hour later, the Jeep was spotted again, driving back to his brother’s house around 1:39 p.m., according to the affidavit that was issued for his arrest. With a search warrant in hand, a Department of Public Safety DNA lab-tested Marquez’s brother’s Jeep trunk floor mat, which came back positive for traces of Gaytan’s blood. Police believe Marquez transported Gaytan’s body in the trunk of his brother’s car, and buried her in an unknown area in the desert.

Court documents cite that a search of Marquez’s home produced the shovel he borrowed from his sister, a pair of shoes filled with sand, and zip-ties “tied in a manner to be used as restraints.” Detectives have concluded that “Ricardo Marquez murdered the victim in his residence, used the Jeep to transport the body of the victim to an unknown location only accessible by off-road vehicles, and that he used the shovel to bury the body.”

The El Paso community is shocked to hear of Gaytan’s murder.

CREDIT: EL PASO POLICE DEPARTMENT / FACEBOOK

“Too many tragedies as of late,” commented Melissa Arredondo on the El Paso Police Department’s Facebook announcement of the arrest. “Dang… And the report says he buried her near Redlands. That place is so cursed. My friend’s dad just died there. It will never be the same,” commented another member of the community. Others remain hopeful in demanding that the police find Gaytan’s body before assuming her death. “Too many questions remain,” commented another concerned El Paso citizen.

Gaytan was facing a court hearing for criminal mischief when she disappeared, but her family couldn’t believe that she would leave her son behind without warning. Gaytan once appeared on El Paso’s Most Wanted List in 2017 before she was charged 66 charges of credit abuse in a criminal mischief case.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and detectives are relying on the public for more information. If you have information on the case or Ricardo Marquez, call (915) 212-4040 or Crime Stoppers of El Paso at (915) 566-8477.

READ: California Man Arrested With Drugs And Guns While Keeping A Person Hostage And Suspected Of Murder