Friday, January 24, 2020
US flag

Elite school sexual assault survivor launches site

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand,” said Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. “It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

Chessy Prout, who says she was sexually assaulted as a 15-year-old at an elite school in New Hampshire, is now with the nonprofit Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment and working “both to shatter the silence and prevent sexual violence through social advocacy, education and survivror support,” NBC News reports.

The group launched a new site today, which is at I Have the Right, following an exclusive interview Ms Prout gave with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show.

“There was just no recognition [at the school] that I had gone through something like this,” she said in the interview. “That is one of the reasons why we’re pushing for change.”

A graduating senior at St Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, Owen Labrie, was charged with sexually assaulting her. He was acquitted on three counts of felony sexual assault in August 2015 but convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault, felony illegal use of computer services, and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. The verdict’s being appealed.

Ms Prout has decided to go public with her identity, which rarely happens in sexual assault cases, especially when the victim is a minor, in order to speak out about the crime.

#IHaveTheRightTo is a social media campaign that “engages participants to be a positive force for change bringing safety and respect to pop culture.” Ms Prout wrote:

#IHaveTheRightTo find my voice and to use it when I am ready. #IHaveTheRightTo be called a survivor, not an “alleged victim” or “accuser.” #IHaveTheRightTo spend time with someone and be safe. #IHaveTheRightTo say NO and be HEARD. #IHaveTheRight to not be shamed and bullied into silence. #IHaveTheRightTo not be isolated by the crime against me or by people who want to shame me. #IHaveTheRightTo name what happened to me because being sexually assaulted is never excusable or “complicated.” There is no perfect victim. #IHaveTheRightTo be happy, sad, upset, angry, and inspired anytime during the process of my healing without being judged. But most importantly, #IHaveTheRightTo stand with you.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.

Md. & IL bands perform on New Year’s in...

Bands from IL and Md. once again entertained thousands of people who lined the streets of London and Rome on New Year's Day.

Howard Co. sounds an under-staffing alarm

Teachers in a Md. district have filed a grievance over missing planning and lunch periods and, as a result, putting the most vulnerable students at risk.

Top 11 school stories of 2019

We find these 11 stories to have the greatest potential for influencing activity and direction in schools for the near future.

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.