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

by Cindy H | Apr 27, 2018
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Chessy Prout was just 15 years old when a popular, well-respected senior boy at her private boarding school sexually assaulted her. This book is her story of trying to come to terms with what happened to her, seeking justice, and ultimately figuring out how best to live her life as a survivor. At times the story is difficult to take in; Chessy endures a long and invasive legal process and trial, name-calling, constant doubts of her honesty, the loss of friends, and isolation from the school community that she and her family once held dear. Ultimately, it is a highly inspirational story about how she decided to stand up for her rights in the face of adversity, and inspire other survivors to do the same.

I listened to the audiobook, which is read by Chessy herself. I found this very powerful, to hear the story not only through her words, but in her voice. Although it is horrific what happened to Chessy, it is worth hearing because of how prevalent sexual assault is in our society. It took a lot of bravery for Chessy to come forward with her story. The majority of survivors do not report what happened to them to the police, and after learning about the criticism and bullying Chessy faced as a result of her pursuing justice, it is not surprising that many people choose to keep silent. Although with campaigns such as #metoo becoming prevalent in our culture, there is still a long way to go in teaching young women and men that they have a right to have their bodies respected. I would encourage every teenager, parent, and concerned citizen to learn about Chessy and other survivors' stories.

This book is available in print and as an audiobook at the library, and as an ebook on Overdrive.

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