Chessy Prout said on the “Today” show Monday that part of the reason why she wanted to write a memoir of her experience as a high school survivor of sexual assault was because she wanted to “reclaim” her own story and name.
Host Hoda Kotb asked the 19-year-old, who was sexually assaulted as a 15-year-old freshman at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, why she chose to delve into her memories and share her story again in a new book, I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice and Hope, which is due out Tuesday.
“I wasn’t given the luxury of staying quiet,” Prout said. “My name was blasted on the internet. There were hate sites written about me. So I decided to kind of reclaim my name. I wanted to reclaim my name, reclaim my story, because it is difficult for a survivor to come forward like this. And I had a supportive family and a supportive community to return home to, which not a lot of survivors have.”
The young author said she also wanted to emphasize with her book that there is “no such thing as a perfect victim.”
“People can be able to pull us apart, tear us apart, tear us down, try to poke holes in our stories, but at the same time we are human,” she said. “We make mistakes, and we’re not perfect. So that’s what I wanted to show through writing this book, is show my vulnerability, show my weaknesses, and be able to say, you can be strong through those.”