A letter from our founder
During winter quarter of my senior year at Stanford University, I woke up on a Sunday morning to learn that fellow student Brock Turner had been arrested for sexually assaulting an unconscious young woman, Chanel Miller, close to where I lived. I watched my campus erupt, and later, the entire country, erupt in outrage. I found myself having the most basic conversations about consent with some of the smartest people I knew. I found myself sitting down with my younger sister and her classmates, who openly wondered if they would get sexually assaulted when they left for college. I found myself feeling hopeless after learning that, despite it being the “perfect” case in many ways, Brock Turner would be sentenced to 6 months of county jail, of which he only served three.
Later, as a health educator, I would use young adult literature, such as 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, to talk to high school students about sexual violence. What gave me hope was watching students go from intense discomfort to lively conversations about toxic masculinity, bodily autonomy and gender norms. I wanted to find a way to have these interactions with thousands of students beyond my classroom and soon, the idea for Novelly was born.
When we talk about the characters, plot and dialogue of stories about young people, we are creating a space where young people are the experts on these complex social issues. We have barely scratched the surface of what this generation of young people is capable of and it is my hope and dream that Novelly can play even a tiny role in what they have in store.
Anna Gabriella Casalme
Founder & CEO of Novelly