Survivor Chessy Prout Turns Trauma Into Opportunity To Advocate For Others

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Chessy Prout channeled her anger and grief over a traumatic event to become an advocate for boys and girls facing similar experiences.

She was 15 when a senior at the elite St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, sexually assaulted her, she said.

“That shook everything. It changed everything. It disrupted my dad’s job, it shook my family and drastically changed the course of my schooling. I was bullied by my classmates, and my school wouldn’t acknowledge what happened,” Prout said.

Prout, now 18, grew up in Japan and moved to Collier County with her family in 2011. She attended the Community School of Naples for two years, then went to St. Paul’s School for her freshman year and half of her sophomore year of high school. When the bullying and stress from the assault became too much, she returned to the Community School.

“It was such a supportive community to come back to,” Prout said. “It gave me so much relief. I felt safe.”

For two years Prout remained quiet about her ordeal while court proceedings played out. Her attacker, Owen Labrie, was acquitted of a felony rape charge but found guilty of misdemeanor statutory rape and using a computer to lure a minor for sex, a felony charge that requires him to register as a sex offender for life.

When she shed the shroud of anonymity during an interview with the Today Show in late 2016, she said she felt liberated to own what happened to her and put herself in a position to help others suffering from the trauma of sexual assault.

Now the Community School senior is set to graduate from school and step into the advocacy arena. She plans to take a gap year to move to Washington, D.C., with her family and work with PAVE, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting awareness of sexual assault and helping victims.

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