Virtual Book Meeting at Umbrella

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St. Johnsbury- Umbrella, a non-profit aimed at serving womens health in the Northeast Kingdom held a virtual book discussion on Zoom Friday, about the book Know My Name by Chanel Miller. 

Chanel Miller was the victim of sexual assault in the Brock Turner case People v. Turner. Just under a dozen people joined in this Zoom conference- to share their thoughts, and feeling on this book. A couple people also shared their own experiences of sexual assault.

"I do remember feeling outraged by the coverage of Brock in the press being shown in a suite, and Chanel was just shown as this naked women," said Raetha Stoddard, an advocate for domestic violence.

Younger women also joined this Zoom disscussion, and were able to offer their own perspective on this book as well.

"I remember being in college when the sentencing took place and thinking 'here we go again,' as a survivor it was really disheartening and disengaging," said Sierra Hardgrave, another advocate for domestic violence.

Many women of this discussion found this book helpful, and reminiscent in their own struggles. They are also looking to have more discussions like this in the future-as social distancing appears to stay for a bit longer. Henekis Stoddard, the director of Umbrella is looking to plan more of these open Zoom Meetings in the future. 

"You can't escape the reality of how it impacts you, and reliving the experience of it. Chanel really infused this well in her writing," said Toda, a survivor of sexual assault.

"She really outlined the vulnerability of women in our culture, and victim blaming quite well in the book," said Henekis Stoddard. 

"She's unapologetically mad in the book, and I loved that," said Amy Wright, professor at NVU-Lyndon.

"Anytime a survivor comes forward to me is inspiring, and makes me want to share my own story more," said Eliza a pastor and advocate in St. Johnsbury.

The book discussion lasted almost 2 hours, and the community enjoyed this discussion so much, that Henekis Stoddard hopes to plan another book discussion in the coming month. More info for this can be found on Umbrella's Facebook page.