Authors of ‘I Have the Right To’ Highlight This Year’s One Book, One Community

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

Chessy Prout, left, and Jenn Abelson, authors of “I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope.”

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Free tickets for the University of Arkansas’ 11th annual One Book, One Community event are now available for reservation. Chessy Prout and Jenn Abelson, authors of the 2019 book selection, I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope, will give a free, public lecture at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center.

The memoir, I Have the Right To, tells the story of then-15-year-old Prout, a victim of a sexual assault that occurred as part of a ritualized game at the prestigious New Hampshire boarding school she attended. The book relates the events and unexpected backlash after she reported the assault.

Tickets to the event are free, but seating is limited and reservations are required.

“We are 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. “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.”

Following the free, public lecture there will be a Q&A session to give the audience a chance to ask Prout and Abelson questions about the book. The following day, at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, Prout and Abelson will also speak at the Fayetteville Public Library’s Gathering of the Groups combined book club discussion.

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 have 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 will 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 and resources connected to the book can be found on the One Book, One Community website.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and gra duate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

A version of this story also appeared in the U of A’s Newswire publication.

Olivia Chivers

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

479-575-2130 //