The previous year, the American father of three girls had moved to the Asian city with his wife, Susan, and their youngest daughter, Christianna, who was seven. He had loved it so much that when he went back for his year reunion, he had taken Susan along to show her the beauties of its hectare campus. They had just become engaged, having met on a flight between Tokyo and New York, and hoped to have children. Statistically, this is going to happen to our family. Lucy had, briefly, dated Labrie and told her sister to stay clear of him.
And it was true that Chessy did not mind kissing him: Labrie was cute, destined for Harvard University, captain of the soccer team. But the evening went beyond kissing. In the subsequent, much-publicised court case, Labrie was cleared of felony rape charges but found guilty of three counts of misdemeanour sexual assault for penetrating a minor with his penis, finger and mouth. He is currently appealing.
Harvard withdrew its offer of a place. Chessy Prout, who had been legally anonymous until then, was named on the internet. So were the rest of her family, and there were photos. There were threats promising violence, including: Alex Prout is based once more in Hong Kong. Best defence against sexual abuse is awareness, and MeToo has made a difference The Prouts and Abelson have just been in Japan as part of a book tour.
Almost immediately, because of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, she was on a plane to the United States. In theory, the family intended to move back to Japan, but it did not happen, an abrupt severance that triggered anxiety and depression. Throughout the book, there is a sense of dislocation and a yearning for sanctuary.
After the recent trip to Tokyo, Chessy has fond memories of her early years in Japan. I got to explore all the things that made me who I am today. She had been so fraught earlier in the day that her father had sent her for a massage.
This time around, of course, she was no longer seeing Japan through the lens of childhood. That had ended a while ago. Almost exactly two years later, she was facing Labrie in court. Both were in English and the audiences were internationally savvy. Still, there was some surprise at the voluble reaction. The list was not needed. It provided the title, as well as storyline, for the Academy Award Best Picture winner, Spotlight.
By , the team was researching sexual assault in 67 prep schools in the northeastern United States. It had to do most of its own digging: These included the Prouts, so Abelson got in touch.
In Florida, Abelson, with laptop on her knees, was careful not to push Chessy. Once she has promoted the book, is she going to stop?
I would write angry, angry, angry, page after page, in my diary. It is not a completely daft stretch, however, because so much of the memoir is furious.
I hid pain of sexual assault for nine years. In some ways, that is the point: There was a list of bad boys and good boys. Labrie was on the good list. The night after the welcoming Hogwarts dinner, Chessy was one of several girls groped by a boy at a school dance. She did not want to cause a scene. Score — a noun — meaning a hook-up: In the school, there was a Facebook group called Slayers Anonymous. In the minutes before his Senior Salute assault, Labrie had texted a friend: These days, Chessy visits schools and encourages discussion about consent.
She is thoroughly part of the zeitgeist. He had been on a good list, too. I continue to tell my story. He can see how the wood has been worn down by the rubbing fingers of Labrie and other boys.