Chessy Prout, Survivor Of Boarding School Sexual Assault, Bravely Speaks Out In Effort To Combat Stigma

"I feel ready to stand up and own what happened to me and make sure other people — other girls and boys, don't need to be ashamed, either."

Last year, a jury charged Owen Labrie, now 20, with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl two years ago while at the prestigious New Hampshire boarding school, St. Paul's. Labrie had taken the girl into a mechanical room as part of an organized ritual among the upper-class students to see who could "score" with the opposite sex — a term that could range from hand-holding to sexual intercourse. There, she said, he raped her, though he disputed the accusation.

The trial made national headlines, and shifted the line between consensual sex and rape. Labrie's bespectacled face was plastered all over the internet. While awaiting the appeal of his 2014 conviction in March, Labrie was found to have violated the terms of his bail on multiple occasions and sentenced to a year in prison, but was released in May. 

Throughout the trial, Labrie's victim's identity remained undisclosed by law; media outlets referred to her as "the girl" or "the victim." 

But on Tuesday, Chessy Prout revealed her identity in an interview on TODAY, speaking up about the case that transfixed the country in an effort to fight back against the stigma and shame too often experienced by survivors of sexual assault.


"It's been two years now since the whole ordeal," Prout told Savannah Guthrie. "I feel ready to stand up and own what happened to me and make sure other people — other girls and boys, don't need to be ashamed, either,''

Prout testified for three days, including that she told Labrie "no" three times during their date. Prout told Guthrie that it didn't have to go to trial, but she wanted justice. 

"We had been prepared to just receive an apology letter," she said. "We had been prepared to finish this and just move forward with our lives and let them move forward with their lives, but, you know what, in the pursuit of justice I would've done anything."

Prout currently works with Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE), an organization that "works both to shatter the silence and prevent sexual violence through social advocacy, education and survivor support."

PAVE launched a new campaign, #IHaveTheRightTo, on Tuesday in conjunction with Prout's TODAY interview. And people on social media are expressing support for Prout under the hashtag. 

"They said that they didn't believe that he did it knowingly, and that frustrated me a lot because he definitely did do it knowingly,'' Prout said. "And the fact that he was still able to pull the wool over a group of people's eyes bothered me a lot and just disgusted me in some way."

But Prout ultimately hopes that Labrie "learns," she told Guthrie. "I hope he gets help. And that's all I can ever hope for in any sort of process like this. Because if he doesn't learn, he will do it to another young woman."

Watch Prout's interview TODAY interview below.


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