I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor's Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope (Hardcover)
Before the #MeToo movement gained momentum, Chessy Prout was fighting her own battle against her sexual abuser and a New England prep-school's "turn-a-blind-eye" attitude toward her assault as a student there. Courageously written by Chessy in her own teenage words, this important book took hold of me and wouldn't let me go ... in a good, yet challenging way. It made me think, cry, and cheer; and most importantly, it educated me and empowered me to confront forms of "rape culture," victim blaming and abuse I may witness in my every day life. Thank you for your courage, Chessy!— Bonnie
“A bold, new voice.” —People
“A nuanced addition to the #MeToo conversation.” —Vice
A young survivor tells her searing, visceral story of sexual assault, justice, and healing in this gutwrenching memoir.
The numbers are staggering: nearly one in five girls ages fourteen to seventeen have been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This is the true story of one of those girls.
In 2014, Chessy Prout was a freshman at St. Paul’s School, a prestigious boarding school in New Hampshire, when a senior boy sexually assaulted her as part of a ritualized game of conquest. Chessy bravely reported her assault to the police and testified against her attacker in court. Then, in the face of unexpected backlash from her once-trusted school community, she shed her anonymity to help other survivors find their voice.
This memoir is more than an account of a horrific event. It takes a magnifying glass to the institutions that turn a blind eye to such behavior and a society that blames victims rather than perpetrators. Chessy’s story offers real, powerful solutions to upend rape culture as we know it today. Prepare to be inspired by this remarkable young woman and her story of survival, advocacy, and hope in the face of unspeakable trauma.
About the Author
Chessy Prout is a high school sexual assault survivor. Raised in Japan, Chessy matriculated to St. Paul’s School—a boarding school in New Hampshire, where her father and sister attended. There, as a freshman, Chessy was the victim of a sexual assault. Chessy’s case and eventual trial garnered national and international media attention, as her assault was part of a ritual competition at the school called the “Senior Salute.” Two years later, in Chessy’s pursuit for justice, she decided to step forward publicly in August 2016 and launched the #IHaveTheRightTo initiative with the organization PAVE, for which she is an ambassador. In this initiative Chessy encourages survivors and others to assert their most important, basic rights, and uses her voice to let other survivors know that you are not alone.
Jenn Abelson is an investigative reporter for The Washington Post. Before joining The Washington Post, she worked as a journalist for The Boston Globe Spotlight Team. Her investigations have exposed sexual assault at prep schools, doctors secretly performing two surgeries at the same time, and the widespread mislabeling of fish in the restaurant industry. In 2015, she was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her work on “Shadow Campus,” a series about dangerous off-campus college housing. Jenn grew up in New York, attended Cornell University, and lives in Washington, DC.
“A new, bold voice.”
— People Magazine
“A nuanced addition to the #MeToo conversation.”
* “Candid and inspiring…Powerful, essential reading for all high school and college students, parents, and educators.”
— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
“Both heartbreaking and hopeful, an honest and frank testimony; it is an important (if difficult) read that acts as both an eye-opener and a call to action.”
— Shelf Awareness for Readers
— The Boston Globe
“An unfiltered look into [Chessy’s] assault, the high-profile criminal trial and her decision to go public. The memoir [will take] readers on an emotional journey.”
— The Concord Monitor
“Honest and raw....Readers will take away a deep appreciation and admiration for Prout's resilience as she transitions into a resolute crusader for the empowerment of victims of sexual violence—and for its prevention.”
— Publishers Weekly
* “Readers will instantly connect with Prout’s genuineness and her candor…This outstanding memoir is a must for YA collections.”
— School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
A New York Public Library Best Book
An SLJ Best Nonfiction Book