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I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor's Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope

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“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 o “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.


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“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 o “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.

30 review for I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor's Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Pesek

    Dear Chessy, I hope you read this review. You probably don't know me, but I was at St. Paul's when these events occurred. I was in the grade above, but I was completely oblivious to the pressures and dynamics of the SPS social hierarchy. Instead, I immersed myself in books and friends that were just as nerdy as I and wondered what the hullabaloo was about. I thought that if I wasn't involved in the social scene, I wasn't to blame. I was wrong. Chessy, your story made me cry as I read it and for hou Dear Chessy, I hope you read this review. You probably don't know me, but I was at St. Paul's when these events occurred. I was in the grade above, but I was completely oblivious to the pressures and dynamics of the SPS social hierarchy. Instead, I immersed myself in books and friends that were just as nerdy as I and wondered what the hullabaloo was about. I thought that if I wasn't involved in the social scene, I wasn't to blame. I was wrong. Chessy, your story made me cry as I read it and for hours after. Words cannot capture the horror of the events you experienced/are experiencing from the aftermath of this assault. Although the actions of Owen and several other individuals are inexcusable, some of the greatest injustices happened at the hands of people who were misguided or simply complacent. Your words here are measured and rational, but your story is filled with passion and ferocity. I have watched your interviews and been struck with the strength and composure you exhibit, even when talking about moments that have scarred you and battles that you still need to fight every day. Your story allowed me a tiny but honest glimpse into your mind- and the reality you have been forced to live out is almost unimaginable. The experiences you describe are a reminder that each individual could be dealing with life-altering circumstances, no matter how brave the face they put on. It was once easy to compartmentalize your experience as merely a disturbing story in a number of possible journeys at St. Paul's. When asked about the school, the first question is usually, "Is that the rape school?" and the second is, "How was it?" I used to respond that, although there are certainly parts of the culture that need changing, my experience was extremely positive because I didn't directly deal with the consequences of this culture. I now realize the delusion in that statement. So long as even a single member of a community does not feel safe and respected, change is essential. Although individuals who perpetuate a toxic culture should be held accountable, the responsibility to facilitate change lies also with the community members who recognize the need for growth. I felt safe and comfortable at St. Paul's- it was my duty to give credence and a voice to you and others who had been silenced. Chessy, I am sorry that I never reached out and told you how much your bravery meant. I'm sorry I never took the time to understand how truly courageous your actions were and continue to be. And I'm sorry that I didn't speak out, act out, or shout when I saw how you were treated. Your decision to share the story of your struggles will impact countless people. For me, the impact has been powerful. I will no longer stand by so long as I see injustice. I refuse to remain numb to and complicit in toxic norms. Unlike with rape, here silence is implicit consent for this culture to continue. Chessy, I will do everything in my power to prevent this from ever happening to anyone again. I promise to live out your words until every person who feels powerless can proudly say, #IHaveARightTo

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dan Hill

    As a dad to girls, it’s a tough read due to the subject matter but also very important. It’s raw and much more than “here’s what happened to me.” Chessy’s voice as a teen survivor is one of hope, while filled with honesty about the pain and challenges she faced through every aspect of the process. Given it’s tough content, I think it’s important for parents of pre-teens or younger teens to read it first or along with their children. For teens, I think Chessy’s courage and the way she frames the As a dad to girls, it’s a tough read due to the subject matter but also very important. It’s raw and much more than “here’s what happened to me.” Chessy’s voice as a teen survivor is one of hope, while filled with honesty about the pain and challenges she faced through every aspect of the process. Given it’s tough content, I think it’s important for parents of pre-teens or younger teens to read it first or along with their children. For teens, I think Chessy’s courage and the way she frames the issue is well done — especially that she points out that there’s no such thing as a “perfect survivor.” I hope school administrators, parents, teachers, policy makers and young people all read this book. It’s also something that our young men need to read so that they understand the consequences of their actions on the lives of others.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Dawn

    Chessy Prout shares the emotionally shattering trauma she experienced at age 15. She was raped while attending a prestigious boarding school. The school’s denial, lack of support for her as a victim, and toxic ‘boys club’ culture was as traumatizing to her as the rape itself. This young girl shares her courageous journey as a rape survivor. Her decision to press charges and go to trial surely sparked much needed change in schools and universities. The #MeToo movement had not yet gained full stea Chessy Prout shares the emotionally shattering trauma she experienced at age 15. She was raped while attending a prestigious boarding school. The school’s denial, lack of support for her as a victim, and toxic ‘boys club’ culture was as traumatizing to her as the rape itself. This young girl shares her courageous journey as a rape survivor. Her decision to press charges and go to trial surely sparked much needed change in schools and universities. The #MeToo movement had not yet gained full steam at this time. Chessy’s hard won personal transformation is empowering, as she now works on behalf of others as a speaker, advocate, and writer working for the prevention of sexual assault. She educates and empowers young girls to know their value and rights. Highly readable book on an important subject.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK ENOUGH!! THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!! I am absolutely empowered, inspired and just amazed by Chessy Prout. This girl has strength and nerve to do what she did and I literally want to walk out of my door and start a PAVE chapter at UIUC plus an #IHaveARightTo movement. This book was just everything. Chessy had so many good points in her story and I think it's so powerful because of that. I cannot wait to go out and buy a copy of this book plus all the others like it. Chessy' I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK ENOUGH!! THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!! I am absolutely empowered, inspired and just amazed by Chessy Prout. This girl has strength and nerve to do what she did and I literally want to walk out of my door and start a PAVE chapter at UIUC plus an #IHaveARightTo movement. This book was just everything. Chessy had so many good points in her story and I think it's so powerful because of that. I cannot wait to go out and buy a copy of this book plus all the others like it. Chessy's story is not a fun story, it is full of grief, anger, depression and many other emotions, but God did it resonate. I am not a survivor of sexual assault, but I am an advocate to any and all survivors. Parts of this book had me in tears because of the unfairness and how Chessy felt. This is such an emotionally traumatic journey she went through and it's amazing she spoke out on TV and wrote a book about it. I can't imagine how hard that was for her. At the same time, I am so glad she did since she gave a voice to countless girls and boys who couldn't speak up. I do not have enough praise for this book. We need more girls and boys like Chessy, Angela Rose, Delaney and Ann Custer. Those willing to stand up and speak out about what has happened to them. My message to any survivors: IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT and YOU ARE NOT ALONE, please know that there are many places out there that will give you options and support no matter your situation. I, for one, would lend a listening ear to any survivors who would want to talk.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ally (book__ventures)

    As women, we have the right to be happy. We have the right to an equal, fulfilling life. We have the right to speak up when wrong has been done against us. We have the right to say something when we have been sexually assaulted. The culture that exists now is not OK. Men feel they have the right to a woman's body, a right they do not have. This culture continues to exist through certain parts of society continuing to reinforce the its twisted ideals. This culture tell boys and men that when they As women, we have the right to be happy. We have the right to an equal, fulfilling life. We have the right to speak up when wrong has been done against us. We have the right to say something when we have been sexually assaulted. The culture that exists now is not OK. Men feel they have the right to a woman's body, a right they do not have. This culture continues to exist through certain parts of society continuing to reinforce the its twisted ideals. This culture tell boys and men that when they do something wrong, it's OK. But it's not. It needs to change. WE need to change. We all need to become a part of the conversation and that happens by one person coming forward to spark it. I praise Chessy Prout for writing such a heartbreaking novel. She puts every emotion out there and she tells her story from start to finish unapologetically. I found myself disgusted by the culture that St. Paul's had harbored and I found myself crying as a new, horrible piece of information was delivered on the assault. Chessy will inspire millions to stand up and reevaluate their morals and their lives. She just helped open a floodgate for many survivors to come forward and share their own story. She is a piece in this battle to end sexual assault. But what a great piece she is. This is a must-read. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Raquel

    Read this for work: powerful, enraging, inspiring. I am in awe of Chessy Prout.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This is my review of the book only. No matter how much I disliked the book or how she came across, in no way shape or form does that mean that anybody deserves to be sexually assualted or deserve to have anything else done to them. I realize this book isn't really written for me. But I read alot of non-fiction and true crime and the blurb I read on this sounded good. Before reading this I really didn't know much of anything about this case or the school. Overall first quarter of the book was dece This is my review of the book only. No matter how much I disliked the book or how she came across, in no way shape or form does that mean that anybody deserves to be sexually assualted or deserve to have anything else done to them. I realize this book isn't really written for me. But I read alot of non-fiction and true crime and the blurb I read on this sounded good. Before reading this I really didn't know much of anything about this case or the school. Overall first quarter of the book was decent but I felt it really could have been condensed. It seemed to be very long and dragged out. After reading her own words, if I was on that jury, I wouldn't have been able to find him guilty of rape beyond a reasonable doubt. As the book went on, I felt she came across unlikeable more and more. "Was it consensual? I couldn't cause any trouble. Through tears, I said yes. (side note, if she's actually said that through tears wouldn't the nurse pressure for more info?) I still thought it might be my fault. And this was Lucy's weekend, not mine.".. She still told Lucy that weekend, so it being Lucy's weekend had nothing to do with it. She says later on she had to reserve seats for the family. Was she the only one that could do that? As much as her parents were around throughout the book, I highly doubt they were late on that day. "Me: you’re quite an angel yourself but would you mind keeping the sequence of events to yourself for now? Owen: comme tu veux belle fille." I personally find it hard to believe that someone would send cutesy letters in french . And then when talking about the condom end it with "Me: you’re not too bad yourself". In my honest opinion, that is what got Owen off on any rape charges. In this great country of ours, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If she wants to be pissed, be pissed at her prosecution for not doing enough to prove rape. "I was furious when Catie told me that the school gave her an ultimatum after I left: she had to accept a new random roommate or move into a smaller space. It was so disruptive to do that in the middle of the year, and it seemed like another way to punish the people who’d supported me." I'll admit I'm not positive how every boarding school works but would assume that's standard procedure if someone were to leave a double occupancy dorm room midway through the year. "Harry sounded like a scorned little boy who hadn’t gotten what he wanted. I was sorry if my friendship wasn’t good enough for him. This was not the Harry who I’d met freshman year. St. Paul’s had done to him what it did to most of the boys: turned them into aggressive, possessive jerks who never had to take accountability for their actions." So...your pissed at a guy for what his parents done? Yeah that makes sense. She admitted herself later in the book she's not a low income poor person. Her parents and family had a shit ton more money to put into this case then Owen did. So to be pissed at a SPS alumni for chipping in to make sure the defendant wasn't stuck with a public defender, struck me as very stuck up. The vast majority of people can't just fly where every they want all the time. Or have vacation homes. "“But I’ll do everything for the prosecution,” I vowed. “It’s just beyond me to defend someone.”" Yeah, because only automatically guilty people need defenders. Again she'd do good to remember in this great country that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In one chapter she says she's "desperate for the media to lose interest in my case". In the next chapter "Of course. Once again, I was the blank nothing and he was the golden boy." So...do you want the media to lose interest...or do you want your name out there? Plus not to mention since you were a minor at the time, it's common to not release the name of the victim. It's not a witch hunt out against you. " I was furious when I learned that St. Paul’s invited a former college football player to give a talk about sexual violence. Why not give a young woman the platform to talk to the students?" Do you want the guys to listen? No offense but they would tune out a female up there giving the exact same speech. But bring in a star athlete and odds are they might actually listen. I would assume most women would tune out guys as well. "In one recent case that actually made headlines in 2004, senior girls forced freshmen—i.e., newbs—in their dorm to simulate blow jobs with bananas and answer sexually explicit questions as a way to introduce them to St. Paul’s. During Lucy’s first year, she heard that seniors in her dorm got a freshman so “drunk” on cough syrup that she later threw up. Mom and Dad saw a direct link between the victims of faculty abuse, perpetual hazing problems, and my assault. St. Paul’s seemed like a noxious breeding ground for the abuse of power. The entrenched male entitlement along with the school’s “deny until you die” mantra that Owen had adopted—had allowed this abuse of power to thrive among faculty and students." And we come to the biggest problem with the book. She mentions the 2004 case which is senior GIRLS forcing freshman GIRLS to give blow jobs but yet a paragraph later that's all because of the " entrenched male entitlement". This could have been a great book if she would have actually looked deeper then the "it's all the males fault" mantra. But instead by the time I was done I was really surprised she didn't blame the earthquake in Japan on a male. By her own accord there was a lot of sex going on at that school. Unless every single instance of that was rape, then the females had to consent. If she would have actually went deeper into all the problems at boarding schools and colleges(the drinking, sex, first time having freedome), it would have been a great book. Instead of the, it's all the males fault. As for Trump, when the majority of Americans didn't vote and only 3.3 percent of the voting public is willing to go away from a R or D, that's how you end up with Trump. At the end of the day your left with shit pile 1 or shit pile 2. In closing another thing I found extremely odd was how she seemed to have photos for everything. I mean who really would think to snap a photo when she's showing her friends how Owen forced her against a wall?!? Who has a camera at just the perfect time when Christianna hugs her after the trial is over? Or when Christianna and her watches the testimony? Unless you had a camera crew following you 24/7, that all seemed extremely odd.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amar Pai

    Hard to read. It felt wrong to give this book a star rating. Chessy Prout had the courage to publicly accuse her rapist at an elite prep school, years before #metoo and Weinstein. Her fellow students and parents attacked her, calling her a slut, accusing her of making it up, and asking how she could ruin a good boy's life. It was an all too familiar chorus of victim blaming. It took guts for Prout to stand up to them, especially given the lack of support from her own family. I find her bravery i Hard to read. It felt wrong to give this book a star rating. Chessy Prout had the courage to publicly accuse her rapist at an elite prep school, years before #metoo and Weinstein. Her fellow students and parents attacked her, calling her a slut, accusing her of making it up, and asking how she could ruin a good boy's life. It was an all too familiar chorus of victim blaming. It took guts for Prout to stand up to them, especially given the lack of support from her own family. I find her bravery inspiring, and the school's reaction to be contemptible. St. Paul's is a toxic cauldron of unexamined privilege. But this shit happens everywhere. Fuck the patriarchy. We have to dismantle rape culture, and the first step is seeing it for what it is. Believe women. Realize there's no "right way" victims should act. Parents, teach your boys not to be rapists.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diana-christie Biancardi

    I loved that Chessy finally wrote a book about her story. I remembered watching it on Dateline a while ago, maybe last year. I can't believe she lost friends and was isolated after she went back to her school when she reported her rapist. It's like everybody supported this ugly, violent, nerdy 18yr old guy who was forcing girls to have sex with him and put up with his abusive behavior. Even his ex-girlfriends did not have nice memories of him, only that he was aggressive and would leave bite mar I loved that Chessy finally wrote a book about her story. I remembered watching it on Dateline a while ago, maybe last year. I can't believe she lost friends and was isolated after she went back to her school when she reported her rapist. It's like everybody supported this ugly, violent, nerdy 18yr old guy who was forcing girls to have sex with him and put up with his abusive behavior. Even his ex-girlfriends did not have nice memories of him, only that he was aggressive and would leave bite marks on them. People knew he was a sex addict and teachers and people accepted this abusive behavior he was doing. I had a feeling that teachers knew what was going on and wouldn't say anything because everyone is rich and it's a high class boarding school. Then it was found out that even teachers abused students there decades before, and another student and a teacher were abused. The student ended up hanging himself. This story was pretty interesting. I got another look into the devious past of this school and their hush hush cover ups.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Fraser

    A very important read. Reveals the absolutely appalling culture of sexual conquest and male privilege at private boarding schools, and the inexcusable failure of those schools to protect their young female students. Very well-written, hard-hitting, and hair-raising. I felt sick to my stomach reading the parts about the school telling students to report criminal activity using hypotheticals (presumably in order to avoid forcing staff and faculty to report it to the police), and the parts about th A very important read. Reveals the absolutely appalling culture of sexual conquest and male privilege at private boarding schools, and the inexcusable failure of those schools to protect their young female students. Very well-written, hard-hitting, and hair-raising. I felt sick to my stomach reading the parts about the school telling students to report criminal activity using hypotheticals (presumably in order to avoid forcing staff and faculty to report it to the police), and the parts about the trial itself, where it was revealed that Owen and his mouth-breathing rich male friends had been plotting to "get" Chessy for nearly half a year. Chessy, if you're reading this, thank you so incredibly much for your witness. I am a SPS Advanced Studies Program alum, so while I know the campus and the city that you describe as intimately as you do, my experience there was completely different than yours, and I am deeply saddened and horrified that that gorgeous campus, which holds so many beloved memories for me, was a living hell for you. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I'm forever grateful to you for rising above it, and for stepping forward, speaking up, enduring the medical, legal, social, and psychological aftermath of it all with such poise and grace. Thank you for turning your horrific experience into something beautiful, healing, and positive for other victims who have been silenced. Thank you for using your resources and your agency to break the cycle and end the victim-blaming and darkness surrounding rape culture. You have the right to fight for justice for survivors. We all have the right to.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Richard Stange

    A week ago, I was looking at the bookshelf in Target, searching for more Young Adult novels, as possible texts for my students. I came across this book, and some unknown force gravitated me toward it. Once I read the inside sleeve and learned what this book was, I knew that as an English teacher, it is my responsibility to read this book. I’m not going to try to write fancy. Chessy can speak for herself, as she proves with this memoir. It was wonderfully written. This is a hard kind of book to sa A week ago, I was looking at the bookshelf in Target, searching for more Young Adult novels, as possible texts for my students. I came across this book, and some unknown force gravitated me toward it. Once I read the inside sleeve and learned what this book was, I knew that as an English teacher, it is my responsibility to read this book. I’m not going to try to write fancy. Chessy can speak for herself, as she proves with this memoir. It was wonderfully written. This is a hard kind of book to say that I “liked,” because I can’t say that I enjoyed the fact that this wonderful young lady has been put through what she has been put through. She is a survivor, and she is sharing her narrative with us to raise awareness. However, rape culture is something that is very real. I never knew how deep it is ingrained within the cultural fabric of institution as it is. I was not aware of rape being a sick sadistic “sport” perpetrated unto those who become survivors. I am mortified and pissed at the same time. I am certainly grateful for this memoir for opening my eyes and making me aware of this mindset and behavior. It is the responsibility of all teachers, parents, and administrators to read this memoir; and act to speak up, protect, support, and ultimately teach all of our students to respect the rights of one another.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rayna

    I've never read a memoir before but this one sucked me in immediately. This is Chessy Prout's recollection of her life leading up to her very-much-in-the-spolight prep-school sexual assault. Prout is very raw and real in telling her story before, during, and after said assault. As a survivor, I appreciate this narrative so, so much. I saw myself in Prout and it made me feel a little less crazy for certain feelings and actions that I experience now. If you're curious as to why I'm only giving it 4 I've never read a memoir before but this one sucked me in immediately. This is Chessy Prout's recollection of her life leading up to her very-much-in-the-spolight prep-school sexual assault. Prout is very raw and real in telling her story before, during, and after said assault. As a survivor, I appreciate this narrative so, so much. I saw myself in Prout and it made me feel a little less crazy for certain feelings and actions that I experience now. If you're curious as to why I'm only giving it 4 stars, it's only because I wasn't a fan of the pacing towards the end, but I am looking forward to keeping an eye on her and her accomplishments in the future. Thank you, Chessy, for standing up and telling your story. You inspire me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Donna Marlene

    Excellent book from the survivor’s perspective. Would recommend to every single person, everyone can learn from this! In addition, it’s an Inspiring and heartwarming memoir of a family’s fight for justice, and the unbelievable obstacles that still exist today for anyone who speaks out about sexual assault or harassment. We all need to join together with Chessy Prout and other brave women and men who speak up for all of us.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Chessy Prout’s memoir of sexual assault, justice, and hope is essential reading for all teens, parents, and educators; it deserves a home in every library.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jill Crosby

    Well told and we’ll-written, Chessy Prout’s memoir on being raped and then rising from the ashes is a difficult book to put down. But we learn a lot about the culture of the privileged prep schools that operate in America, and how these schools of fine and honorable tradition operate as incubators for the narcissists and sociopaths that go on to run the country. Anyone who believes Archmore Academy (Biden) or New York Military Academy (Trump) produced enlightened, fair-minded, ethical leaders ne Well told and we’ll-written, Chessy Prout’s memoir on being raped and then rising from the ashes is a difficult book to put down. But we learn a lot about the culture of the privileged prep schools that operate in America, and how these schools of fine and honorable tradition operate as incubators for the narcissists and sociopaths that go on to run the country. Anyone who believes Archmore Academy (Biden) or New York Military Academy (Trump) produced enlightened, fair-minded, ethical leaders needs to read this book to see how these institutions are REALLY run, and what values the respective campuses rally around. Very seldom do they bow to school mottoes or philosophies; the values on campus generally revolve around achieving and maintaining power, prestige, popularity. Male students are favored over their female counterparts, and adults are squirreled away in offices or residences, unaware (or purposefully ignorant) of the Lord of the Flies island in full Operation outside their locked doors. Parents, high-minded and valuing their children’s educations, or exasperated and trying to rid themselves of “problem children in Their teen years,” turn their offspring loose on these campuses, hoping their 14-year-olds will learn independence, empathy, and respect, being on their own and responsible for their own actions. These parents are either delusional, or they’ve never met a 14-year-old. Tossed into a communal living situation with no consistent adult supervision and intervention, these barely pubescent humans adapt to living in one mode and one more only: survival. If this means being the very “baddest” on campus, so be it. It means you’re unsinkable and will be looked upon as leader material. And there you have the makings of out government leaders, in a nutshell. Chessy’s personal story is—and I don’t think this is possible, but it’s the closest I could get—is the best possible outcome a sexual assault survivor could Ever dream of (and to be fair, she mentions this a couple of times in the book, and her parents mention it in the afterword)—-blonde, beautiful, talented; an incredibly loving and supportive family and extended family; caring and committed law enforcement professionals that listened to her, believed her, and helped her build her case; a national media that gave her the necessary platform for speaking out and calling survivors to know they are worthy of belief & love; parental friends networks that could help navigate and dismantle the forces of the dark web, provide counseling, make connections with media in order to control her story (her mom even calls the president of NBC to complain about a story run on Chessy); a safe home where she had her own space; family finances that allowed her parents to take off huge amounts of work time in order to attend trials, hearings, interviews, etc etc etc. I believe this book is HER story, and her dedication to providing help and support to other survivors is genuine. I kind of wonder, though, how much of it is applicable to the majority of sex assault survivors. A beautiful, rich, white girl from a highly supportive and loving family could probably count on a better outcome from her experience with rape than, maybe, a short Latina girl living with her single full-time-employed mom and 6 siblings, residing in grandma’s trailer home.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julia Krieger

    I didn’t know what to expect with this memoir. I hadn’t heard of the news as it was happening, but that doesn’t mean I was naive to the ugly world of this unfortunate reality. I noticed the book while at my local library and decided to check it out. The cover caught my attention. Her message peaked my interest. I am not a survivor but I know many people in my life who are. My stance on this message is exactly that of Chessy’s, that more times than not, by the time people are ‘comfortable’ talkin I didn’t know what to expect with this memoir. I hadn’t heard of the news as it was happening, but that doesn’t mean I was naive to the ugly world of this unfortunate reality. I noticed the book while at my local library and decided to check it out. The cover caught my attention. Her message peaked my interest. I am not a survivor but I know many people in my life who are. My stance on this message is exactly that of Chessy’s, that more times than not, by the time people are ‘comfortable’ talking about the issue of aggressive and sexual assault it’s often times too late. It’s too confusing to the individual, as we are taught to be nice and understanding and giving people the benefit of the doubt. Which isn’t a bad message. However, in the event of tragedy and spontaneous crisis most don’t know how to handle it. To stand up for yourself in general is sometimes hard to do, let alone have to be completely vulnerable and exposed, oftentimes feeling abandoned and embarrassed. Chessy’s message to young women and men is so powerful and should be shouted from the rooftops. She is so transparent about her assault and her ripple effects that she still deals with. Her voice is loud and it is clear. Her determination is admirable. I am very glad to have heard her message and would recommend all walks of humanity to read this book. For the sake of humanity and the positivity and the hope to keep lifting each other up. To be selfless to those who desperately need the encouragement just to live another day. To be told their life is worth it. And for those who have that same mentality of all those in denial in this case, they too will have their day or reckoning and hell is holding a special place for them. As grandma Prout so modestly stated, ‘They’re not worth it. And don’t hold resentment. Just pity them. Pity that they don’t have morals. Pity that they aren’t worth anything. Imagine how they feel inside because of how horrible they are.’ Grandmas kiss of death.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Watson

    Schools are meant to be safe spaces, but Chessy Prout ended up being the exact opposite at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. After facing her horror, Chessy did what few women ever do, she fought. Exposing terrible traditions within what seems to be the quintessential private school. More women and girls like Chessy are needed. This story isn't easy, nor is it meant to be, but if everyone reads it, more minds will hopefully be changed about the horrors faced by so many girls in schools of all Schools are meant to be safe spaces, but Chessy Prout ended up being the exact opposite at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. After facing her horror, Chessy did what few women ever do, she fought. Exposing terrible traditions within what seems to be the quintessential private school. More women and girls like Chessy are needed. This story isn't easy, nor is it meant to be, but if everyone reads it, more minds will hopefully be changed about the horrors faced by so many girls in schools of all levels.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Evans

    I cried several times while reading this memoir. Believe women. Teach your students about toxic masculinity and how it can go die in a hole. Teach male students to treat women with respect. Teach students about consent. Dudes. Step up and teach men true “masculinity.” Teach them to be respectful and vulnerable and kind.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Cubis

    Amazing A must read. This should be mandatory educational reading in schools. What a brave, inspiring young woman. Thank you for sharing your story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This an incredibly empowering nonfiction account of a young sexual assault survivor’s path to justice. Chessy Prout’s story is raw, honest, and emotional. Not to mention, eye-opening to the harsh reality of rape culture. In a world where sexual assault is so prevailing, her bravery in the face of unspeakable trauma is heartening and her drive for justice is nothing short of inspirational. A must-read for all!

  21. 4 out of 5

    nitya

    Haven’t read it yet but trying to combat the low rating!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    4.75 stars. This book was phenomenal. I was so close to giving it a full 5 stars but just couldn't. This book is SO IMPORTANT. Chessy is so brave and I hope her strength and her story can continue to help raise awareness for sexual assault and bring down the patriarchy that lives in our society today. Thank you Chessy for sharing your story and writing this book. 4.75 stars. This book was phenomenal. I was so close to giving it a full 5 stars but just couldn't. This book is SO IMPORTANT. Chessy is so brave and I hope her strength and her story can continue to help raise awareness for sexual assault and bring down the patriarchy that lives in our society today. Thank you Chessy for sharing your story and writing this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kati shelfmadewoman

    I’m not going to say that this was groundbreaking for me because I was already aware of the brutal and unfair treatment of rape survivors. But hearing Chessy’s story, I was close to tears. The most important part of this book is hearing the struggles that occurred post-assault: panic attacks, the trial, and the internet harassment. It’s important to support survivors in anyway possible. This is a good place to start: by reading this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    bre

    What a fantastic and informative read. Chessy is an incredible, strong, passionate, brave and outstanding woman. As a survivor of sexual assault, Chessy is determined for herself and others to get the justice that they deserve, and to be able to heal in their own way, at their own pace, whilst reclaiming what they feel that they have lost to their sexual assaults, whether it be their trust, intimacy, sexuality, self-worth, sense of belonging, ability to feel safe - things that Chessy and the oth What a fantastic and informative read. Chessy is an incredible, strong, passionate, brave and outstanding woman. As a survivor of sexual assault, Chessy is determined for herself and others to get the justice that they deserve, and to be able to heal in their own way, at their own pace, whilst reclaiming what they feel that they have lost to their sexual assaults, whether it be their trust, intimacy, sexuality, self-worth, sense of belonging, ability to feel safe - things that Chessy and the other survivors that she meets during her journey have mentioned that they have struggled with. I feel as though, unfortunately, sexual assault is something that the majority of females have encountered and feeling safe is something that I know that I struggle with, whether I am walking down the street or in a shopping centre or at the bus interchange or at a concert - reading about Chessy's experience was painful, horrifying and all too common. Chessy wrote her memoir at the height of the #MeToo movement, a huge moment of social change. We can only hope that soon the political change and justice comes, too. I cried for Chessy, I cried with Chessy. I am inspired and astounded by her sense of strength and character in the face of something most terrible, and her family's incredible support did not go unnoticed. A must read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katie Olson

    This is an incredible first-person account of sexual assault, described in excruciating detail. It's also an eye-opening overview of the disgusting traditions that continue to be carried out at venerable institutions in this country. (One of my colleagues was recently describing "Full Moon on the Quad" at Stanford, an opening week tradition in which people make out with strangers and keep score of the different types of people they hook up with. Really? Did #MeToo not take root out there?) I adm This is an incredible first-person account of sexual assault, described in excruciating detail. It's also an eye-opening overview of the disgusting traditions that continue to be carried out at venerable institutions in this country. (One of my colleagues was recently describing "Full Moon on the Quad" at Stanford, an opening week tradition in which people make out with strangers and keep score of the different types of people they hook up with. Really? Did #MeToo not take root out there?) I admire Chessy and her parents' bravery to keep fighting and to tell her story to protect other students against such insidious practices and mindsets. I could not set aside the issues of privilege. Fighting Chessy's case took legal and media savvy, not to mention access to resources. Even the family's ability to deal with the trauma (e.g. the ability to vacation away from the courtroom drama, for Chessy to change schools, to personally connect with Google and Apple to remove the horrible incidents of cyber-bullying, etc.) is generally not available to assault victims. I was struck by this family's ability to fight back because it throws into stark contrast the many victims rendered powerless for lack of resources. It's beyond sad that to mount a defense against a pedophile who knowingly plotted out his attack of another student months in advance took the amount of time, money and connections that it did, and casts a dim view of our justice system, our misogynistic culture and our form of capitalism.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Edwina

    I picked up this memoir at the local library and was immediately drawn to the blurb about Chessy Prout's experience from sexual assault. This novel was a mind opener as the memoir articulately describes and delves into the depth of Chessy's life from her upbringing, her sexual assault and the aftermath of it. Prout delivers a raw and real memoir - stripping back her flaws and the strengths she gained following this horrific experience. The memoir made me cry, full of emotions and reminded me the I picked up this memoir at the local library and was immediately drawn to the blurb about Chessy Prout's experience from sexual assault. This novel was a mind opener as the memoir articulately describes and delves into the depth of Chessy's life from her upbringing, her sexual assault and the aftermath of it. Prout delivers a raw and real memoir - stripping back her flaws and the strengths she gained following this horrific experience. The memoir made me cry, full of emotions and reminded me the importance of raising awareness of survivors of sexual assault. They are survivors, not victims and they are strong and go on. It is a reminder of what must be done to continue to support and protect the rights of women and to raise awareness of sexual assault and let the voices of those who have experienced it - to speak up. We as global citizens, must listen and Chessy's beautifully crafted memoir is a sentiment to that. She reminds us what we can do, whether it be small or big, it's a step in the right direction. Highly recommend this memoir - absolutely astounding.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Hansen

    When Chessy Prout was a freshman at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, she was sexually assaulted by senior, Owen Labrie. The school had a ritual called Senior Salute, where senior boys would try to “slay” as many freshmen girls as they could before they graduated. Chessy was taken advantage of and raped right before her sister’s graduation. Following her assault, she was bullied when she returned to St. Paul’s. As a result, Chessy moved home. During the trial, she bravely testified against Lab When Chessy Prout was a freshman at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, she was sexually assaulted by senior, Owen Labrie. The school had a ritual called Senior Salute, where senior boys would try to “slay” as many freshmen girls as they could before they graduated. Chessy was taken advantage of and raped right before her sister’s graduation. Following her assault, she was bullied when she returned to St. Paul’s. As a result, Chessy moved home. During the trial, she bravely testified against Labrie with the support of her family. Chessy’s parents also filed a civil lawsuit against St. Paul’s School, arguing that the school should have protected her. After all the publicity and pain of the assault, Chessy revealed her identity to the world. Her coming forward has inspired many others, and she has now become an advocate, promoting women’s rights with her #IHaveARightTo campaign. One of the things Chessy mentions is that she was unaware of her rights. This sparked her #IHaveARightTo campaign and idea of a women’s bill of rights. Most students are often unaware of their rights. I think conversations about sexual assault, consent, and rights are very important for students to have and understand. Chessy is a great example of an advocate. I would have students take part in her campaign #IHaveARightTo and practice advocating for themselves.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Colette

    Holy Jesus! I have never had such an emotional response to a book before. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. Crying happy tears, sad tears, and empahtic tears. I wish I had known these lessons when I was growing up. It inspired me to share my own story and I hope that every young girl reads this and feels inspired to stand up for herself and her story. As terrible as I feel for her experiences and I am thankful she had the support system to confront her attacker in court and come Holy Jesus! I have never had such an emotional response to a book before. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. Crying happy tears, sad tears, and empahtic tears. I wish I had known these lessons when I was growing up. It inspired me to share my own story and I hope that every young girl reads this and feels inspired to stand up for herself and her story. As terrible as I feel for her experiences and I am thankful she had the support system to confront her attacker in court and come out publicly to inspire others and prevent the school from bullying her. She is making a true difference This is unforunately true in not just private boarding schools but every high school, everywhere! Girls/women need more safe places/resources to tell their stories and start the healing process and this book provides some of those places. It is becoming the age of the woman!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Molly Dettmann

    Chessy Prout, a brave young woman/survivor shares a deeply personal and honest memoir about her rape, the trial, and her road to recovery and to becoming an activist for sexual assault survivors everywhere. The book is long, but I was captivated by her story and her anger and sadness where so raw. In the chapters describing her life before attending St. Paul I really appreciated how she was frank about dealing with depression and anxiety. Lots of great resources toward the end and the letter fro Chessy Prout, a brave young woman/survivor shares a deeply personal and honest memoir about her rape, the trial, and her road to recovery and to becoming an activist for sexual assault survivors everywhere. The book is long, but I was captivated by her story and her anger and sadness where so raw. In the chapters describing her life before attending St. Paul I really appreciated how she was frank about dealing with depression and anxiety. Lots of great resources toward the end and the letter from Chessy’s parents was especially heartbreaking. So much love for Chessy and all survivors. Thank you for speaking up. I believe you.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I completely devoured this book! I read it ahead of sending it to teenage girls I know because I wanted to know what it said, and it says so many honest and right things about sexual assault. This i one of the most easy to read (except for content), simply and straightforwardly told biographies I have ever read. i think everyone should red this book. Parents should know how to respond to their children and how to raise them from the beginning to respect others people's bodies. Everyone should kn I completely devoured this book! I read it ahead of sending it to teenage girls I know because I wanted to know what it said, and it says so many honest and right things about sexual assault. This i one of the most easy to read (except for content), simply and straightforwardly told biographies I have ever read. i think everyone should red this book. Parents should know how to respond to their children and how to raise them from the beginning to respect others people's bodies. Everyone should know the process of healing and how to be supportive, and people should step forward if they feel able to make it STOP.

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