U of A's 'One Book, One Community' 2019 Book Selection Announced

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – One of the most pressing topics in our society today, sexual assault, will be the focus of the University of Arkansas’ 2019 One Book, One Community discussion as the authors of I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor's Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope visit campus this fall.

Authors Chessy Prout and Jenn Abelson 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.

“Unfortunately, stories like Chessy’s are not uncommon in our society today,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, chair of the One Book, One Community committee and University professor of sociology. “While we knew it was a heart-wrenching topic, we also recognized that it is one we must openly discuss in a safe environment.”

From left, Chessy Prout and Jenn Abelson

Fitzpatrick said that the book also 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.

“We want to shed more light on such a prevalent and painful issue, and to offer more campus and community resources to students and community members through this project,” Fitzpatrick said.

After Prout reported the assault, her attacker Owen Labrie was arrested, charged and convicted on lesser charges. He has since been released from custody.

In the memoir, Prout recounts her story in often wrenching detail, but she also serves as an inspiration to readers through her story of survival and advocacy in the face of trauma, Fitzpatrick said.

“Chessy is an advocate for cultural change, for the creation of a ‘Bill of Rights’ for sexual assault survivors, and she offers real, powerful solutions to an issue we have come to know all too well,” Fitzpatrick said. “This will be a powerful talk, and should not be missed.”

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 graduate 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 only 2 percent of 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.

Contacts

Olivia Chivers, communications project manager
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-2130, ochivers@uark.edu

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu

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