Authors of ‘I Have the Right To’ Bring Important Message of Advocacy to U of A Campus

by | Dec 11, 2019 | Features, Outreach & Impact

Editor’s Note: Earlier this fall, we welcomed authors Chessy Prout and Jenn Ableson, who wrote “I Have the Right To,” to the U of A campus for the 2019 One Book, One Community event. This was our eleventh year offering this free public lecture series, which focuses on tough topics that affect our society in profound ways. More than 400 members of our campus and community came out to hear Chessy Prout’s story first-hand, and these amazing photos and video captured it all.

Chessy Prout was a 15-year-old student at a prestigious New England boarding school in 2014 when she was sexually assaulted by a popular senior at the school.

She reported the attack and the student was arrested and charged. The ensuing trial revealed a rape culture at the school that included a student “ritual” involving senior boys trying to “score” with younger girls before graduation.

In I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope, Prout tells her story again, in often wrenching detail – but she also looks forward in the book – advocating for a cultural change and a “Bill of Rights” for sexual assault survivors.

“We were so excited to welcome Chessy and Jenn to our campus to discuss Chessy’s heart-wrenching but inspiring story,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, chair of the One Book, One Community committee and University Professor of sociology in Fulbright College.

“Our committee strives to shed light on some of the most difficult and pressing topics in our society, and we felt that Chessy’s incredible bravery and advocacy would be relatable to numerous students and community members.”

The book includes many sobering statistics, like how nearly one in five girls aged 14 to 17 has been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. With that in mind, Fitzpatrick said connecting the event’s audience with resources was also a top priority.

“We partnered with several providers both on campus and in our community to connect the audience with a vast wealth of resources,” Fitzpatrick said. “It is certainly our hope that our campus and community now have a better understanding of the prevalence of the issue of sexual assault in our society and the resources available to them.”

More information about the book, the authors, and upcoming events can be found on the One Book, One Community website.

Olivia Kays

Communications Project Manager
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

479-575-2130 // okays@uark.edu