The s are staggering: nearly one in five girls ages fourteen to seventeen have been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This is the true story of one of those girls.
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InChessy Prout was a freshman at St. Chessy bravely reported her assault to the police and testified against her attacker in court. Then, in the face of unexpected backlash from her once-trusted school community, she shed her anonymity to help other survivors find their voice. This memoir is more than an of a horrific event.
It takes a magnifying glass to the institutions that turn a blind eye to such behavior and a society that blames victims rather than perpetrators. Prepare to be inspired by this remarkable young woman and her story of survival, advocacy, and hope in the face of unspeakable trauma.
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Plus, receive recommendations for your next Book Club read. Chessy Prout is a high school sexual assault survivor. Raised in Japan, Chessy matriculated to St. There, as a freshman, Chessy was the victim of a sexual assault. She has traveled around the country and internationally, sharing her story, and encouraging survivors to know and assert their most basic rights. Chessy is also a student at Barnard College and continues to use her voice to advocate and let other survivors know they are not alone.
Her investigations have exposed sexual assault at prep schools in New England, sexual harassment at ESPN, and sexual misconduct in the modeling industry.
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She has also investigated doctors secretly performing two surgeries at the same time and the widespread mislabeling of fish in the restaurant industry. Inshe was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her work with the Spotlight Team on Shadow Campusa series about dangerous off-campus college housing. The memoir [will take] readers on an emotional journey. Readers will take away a deep appreciation and admiration for Prout's resilience as she transitions into a resolute crusader for the empowerment of victims of sexual violence—and for its prevention.
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About The Book. Later that night was the annual Bingo fund-raiser at our all-girls school in Tokyo, and this year it was a Greek-themed event. Some of my friends were already wrapped in exquisite togas. I was twelve and loved any excuse to dress up, but was holding out until I found the perfect sheet. In the meantime, I wore my regular school uniform: navy knee-high socks and a white button-down shirt tucked into a thick polyester blue-and-green-plaid skirt. I hoped Mom would let me borrow one of the nicer sheets that shimmered in the light.
She was chair of the silent auction and had been working on the Bingo fund-raiser for months. As I made my way into Mr. Nothing was moving. In Japan, earthquakes were pretty routine. Sometimes we had one every week, and we had just felt one on Wednesday.
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But new kids at my school, the International School of the Sacred Heart, usually freaked out at the tiniest tremor. Just before the bell rang, I was knocked to my knees. Windows rattled back and forth and books tumbled off the shelves. I squeezed under a cluster of metal-legged desks for safety with five of my classmates. My head banged against the hard bottom of the desk as I was tossed around like a rag doll.
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Martindale stood by the sliding doors and grasped the frame to steady himself. White geometric cubes rained down from the windowsill as the tree branches shook angrily outside.
I locked eyes with my best friend, Annie. I thought we were going to die. My eyelids shut like I was trying to avoid the scary part of a movie. Martindale shouted. Thumbtacks fell from the bulletin board, sending a poster of Albert Einstein to the floor.
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We hurried past blue lockers in the hallway and filed out the side emergency stairs. Students streamed out of every door of the building, turning the hilly driveway into a sea of shivering white togas. We always gathered outside for earthquake drills in case buildings collapsed. Electrical wires swung like vines in the jungle.
A gray building towering over Sacred Heart moved across the blue sky as if it were a cloud. I stood on my toes while my class descended the giant hill leading down to the parking lot. I searched frantically for my older sister, Lucy, a freshman at the high school, and my four-year-old sister, Christianna, who attended the pre-K program. It was close to pickup time for the younger kids, which meant Mom was probably close by.
I spotted her across the parking lot with Christianna, and I waved wildly. Relief washed over me. Thank God they were safe. Hot tears filled my blue eyes as I wove my way through a knot of cars, parents, kids, and teachers.
I flung my arms around Mom. I wiped away the wetness before anyone saw. Being stoic and humble were the most admired qualities. Lucy was a teenager—fifteen—and better at keeping things buttoned up. She had dark hair and hazel eyes and looked more like Dad, who is half-Japanese. We found Lucy with the rest of her class farther up the hill.
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She was sitting on the ground in a daze, hugging her knees. Aftershocks forced us to crouch defensively on the hill. My sisters and I huddled together and listened to the crescendo of rattling windows to our right, looking fearfully at the large poles with dangling electrical wires to our left. Mom worried that cars parked along the steep driveway would start rolling sideways if there was another jolt. I just wanted to go home. The principal eventually allowed students to leave if their parents were with them, so we began our climb up the hills through the University of the Sacred Heart, which is next to our school.
We made it to the top of the second hill, grabbed our bikes from the rack, and walked them up the third hill.
As we trudged through the eerily abandoned streets, shards of glass from broken streetlamps littered the cracked sidewalks. We arrived home less than an hour after the earthquake. People, real people, were drowning before my eyes. News anchors reported that the quake had a 9. Dad called again a few hours later. Mom grabbed everything she could find in the cupboards and cooked like she was feeding an army.
A somber haze enveloped our apartment as news anchors switched between the tsunami waves and dire concerns about radiation leaking from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. I staggered around the apartment, unable to form words. It was amazing how much could change in twenty-four hours.
The night before, our home had felt like a party after Lucy received her acceptance to St. Lucy was three grades ahead of me and president of her class. But when the St. Can I go? Can I hit accept?
Dad had attended the prestigious New England prep school as a scholarship student back in the s, and he secretly hoped that we would follow his path. He made lifelong friends there and still kept in touch with his basketball mentor, who taught him the importance of integrity and compassion.
Dad was especially proud that the boarding school had started a Japanese language program at his request. I wanted to be happy for Lucy, but I was devastated at this news. Lucy was my best friend, and the thought of her leaving me ripped a hole in my chest. But at the end of the day, our bond of sisterhood ran deep.
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We still loved playing hide-and-seek with the other kids in our three-story yellow-brick apartment building. All I knew was that I could hear her voice from inside the beige hallway walls. Our life in Tokyo revolved around a few square blocks that Lucy and I could navigate with our eyes closed.
Our neighborhood in Hiroo was filled with both Japanese and gaijin foreigners like us. Each morning we greeted the stoic guards at our school, who had watched my sisters and me graduate from strollers to bikes.
A high school survivor's story of sexual assault, justice, and hope
I knew some Japanese, but we mostly spoke with them in broken English with hand motions and head nods. After school, Lucy and I rode our bikes to the local sushi shop, where the old lady knew my daily order: a toro and scallion roll, ikura nigiri, and inarizushi, marinated tofu skin wrapped around rice. Almost every weekend, our family brought in dinner—usually udon noodles or hamburgers and shakes—and we played karaoke on Wii Nintendo in the living room.