I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope

Ages: 14 and upPublisher: Simon & Schuster


Chessy admits she’s been privileged – living abroad, a vacation home in Florida, and an elite boarding school where her father attended and that her sister, Lucy, attends. Excited to be following in the family footsteps, Chessy, arrives and quickly finds where photos of Hamptons’ summers and French Alps skiing must be carefully curated on social media.

Chessy, on medication for anxiety and depression, is lonely. Her family, now in Hong Kong, feels far away. Her sister, Lucy, a senior, is busy with her friends.

By spring, however, she’s better. She has made friends and senior boys are flirting with her, despite that it’s part of the Senior Salute ritual.

Although warned about the ritual and “wanted no part of it,” she agrees when senior Owen Labrie invites her to the top of the chapel bell tower to see the view. But all Owen wants, it turns out, is sex. Chessy describes the incident, including his moaning and her feeling like “a dead fish on the cold floor.” When it’s over, she’s stunned.

Her account of that horrific event starts with her struggle to process the assault – I couldn’t cause any trouble ? I thought it might be my fault. However, with great perseverance, Chessy challenged and fought and stood up for her rights.

Deftly told with the help of Boston Globe reporter Jenn Abelson, this is a must read for young women, men, and their parents.

Ann Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.

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