What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape ePUB á We


What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape Content warning Naturally a book with ‘rape’ in its title is going to come with a content warning from me This book is confronting so I would caution you to be aware of the potentially triggering nature of the content but it was one of the best I’ve ever read on the topicThe author considers the difficulty of categorising this book and I agree; it’s a blend of personal experience other peoples’ experiences and insights What kept popping into my head as I was reading was that it’s a conversation I loved Sohaila’s down to earth tone and how she makes this multifaceted and too often silenced experience approachable Her writing is considered and empathetic She doesn’t shy away from the gravity of the trauma associated with rape yet at the same time I came away feeling hopeful and validated Discussions about rape are so often irrational and sometimes outright bizarre It’s the only crime to which people respond by wanting to lock up the victims It’s the only crime that is so bad that victims are supposed to be destroyed beyond repair by it but simultaneously not so bad that the men who do it should be treated like other criminals Although titled What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape this book is also about what we don’t talk about when we talk about rape like how it’s the weirdest things that can get you Like dentophobia When I was two thirds of the way through this book I’d already recommended it to a counsellor who works for my state’s rape crisis hotline and would recommend it to anyone who has experienced sexual assault knows someone who has experienced sexual assault works with people who have experienced sexual assault or want to read an intelligent thoughtful book about this truly global issue While there are stories of people from America in this book there are also those from all of those other places that aren’t America like India Australia Africa Europe and the Middle East There’s also a wonderful cross section of peoples’ experiences from the poorest and most marginalised to well known cases and celebritiesAlthough I’ve read a lot both fiction and non fiction about sexual assault and experienced than my fair share I still came across a lot in this book that made me pause and reevaluate my own preconceived ideas I also found some lightbulb moments which have helped me make some sense out of nonsense The whole notion of institutional consent which holds to account both men and women was surprisingly new to me; you know you can get away with it because the whole system is set up to help you get away with it My favourite lightbulb moment during my first read of this book I expect it will be the first of many reads came when I encountered an acronym that has validated my experience so much Jennifer Freyd writing about betrayal trauma theory in the nineties proposed that abusers freuently respond to accusations with “DARVO” Deny Attack and Reverse Victim and Offender This has helped me understand why a rapist overtly threatened me with legal action twice so far for reporting him and covertly attacked my credibility While he had a serious amount of institutional consent behind him and is currently the owner of a Rape Free Card this new knowledge has helped me in the best possible way I know I’m not alone and there’s even an acronym to prove itThere were a few sections that seemed a bit disjointed to me and details of some stories were repeated in a couple of chapters although the repetition did serve to remind me which person’s experience I was reading about Absent from this book was any mention of women who rape; while uncommon it does happen and I would be interested to hear what this author has to say about itThis book is sociological political personal and contradictory Now contradictory may sound like a criticism but it’s not and as Sohaila expresses rape and the way we talk about it is contradictory so to highlight these contradictions is vital to an honest discussion I lovedhated the “Lose Lose Rape Conundrum”; it is so infuriatingly accurate If you talk about it you’re a helpless victim angling for sympathy If you’re not a helpless victim then it wasn’t such a big deal so why are you talking about it? If you’re surviving and living your life why are you ruining some poor man’s life? Either it’s a big deal so you’re ruined or it’s not a big deal and you should be uiet Thank you so much to NetGalley and The New Press for the opportunity to read this book My current activism level is set to Need to do something positive immediately So what is this book? It's about shining a light on what we talk about but also on what we don't talk aboutThis is a fabulous description of the content The author sits you down and talks to you like an older sister Sharing stories facts and opinions while allowing you to form your own She uestions everything and makes you feel safe and welcome to do the sameDiscussions about rape tend to be irrational and sometimes outright bizarreNo one likes talking about rape It's a horrible occurrence and uncomfortable for everyone Does that mean we shouldn't talk about it? Of course not I find the things we are most uncomfortable talking about are usually the most important things to discuss for that very reason No one talks about itWords are the enemy of impunityOpening a dialogue on any topic we are uncomfortable with can only cause it to become easier to discuss the next time Starting a conversation about rape is always weird and awkward and sometimes scary when you hear other peoples opinions It's important to make it part of the discussion It is important to make people feel comfortable coming forward and talking about experiences emotions and knowing that they are safe to do soIf we can expose our children to talk of genocide racism bikini waxing and the inevitable melting of the planet why should we leave out sexual abuse?I really enjoyed her open and honest approach She doesn't claim to be an expect or that there is a right or wrong way to deal with or discuss sexual abuse She just opens the door on the conversation and gives you information allowing you to be present for that conversation No matter what the answer is we certainly won't find it if we don't talk to each other There was some repetition with the stories but not enough that it ruins the experienceThank you NetGalley and The New Press for this ARC What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is one of those books I would never discourage anyone from reading Certainly it deals with an important topic and its virtues are many The writing is engaging The author who recounts several of her own experiences here is great company And the wide ranging perspective covering many countries and cultures is exactly what a typical self centered American like myself needed; I learned a lot and was grateful for itUnfortunately though this book has some drawbacks I can't ignore While it definitely supplied many facts I'd never heard before I can't say it provided any new and original insights If you're already pretty well read on this topic there's nothing here that's going to blow your mind The book also sadly has kind of a thrown together feel; its short chapters skip around from topic to topic in an everything but the kitchen sink way but never alight on any particular issue for long Ultimately despite this book's brevity I found myself growing impatient and just looking forward to being finishedI kept trying to convince myself to give this book 4 stars because of its many attributes but when I finally allowed myself to consider a 3 star rating I knew that was where this book landed for me Again if you're interested in this at all I would encourage you to give it a try—especially if you haven't done much reading in this area For me though this wasn't uite the experience I'd been hoping for Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || || Pinterest Wow This is one of the most difficult books I've read in a while but it's so important so I pushed through even though I felt very uncomfortable WHAT WE TALK ABOUT is written by a survivor of sexual assault It's about her story but it's also about the broader picture as well the #MeToo movement other women and men who experience abuse advice on how to talk to and console victims respectfully and discussions about consentWHAT WE TALK ABOUT also cautions against the temptation of making violence against women the issue of specific countries it is a global issue affecting women all over the world Sohaila Abdulali is an Indian Muslim so she includes a lot of stories and studies about and done by Indian women but she mentions a lot of other countries and places as well emphasizing the importance of taking action and making the abolishment of misogynistic policies a non partisan and open bordered issueI have so much I could say about this but since I'm posting this review to I'm trying to keep this review very civil and very PG Let's just say that reading this book is going to and should make you angry The material is not exactly pleasure reading but this pocket sized book should be read by allPS Not sure what's up with the Goodreads blurb comparing the writing to Rebecca Solnit Solnit's writing fits into the typical personal book as essay format whereas this is serious and reads like a textbook Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review3 stars I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewThis is such an important book If I had to put into words I'd say this book is the conversation about rape that I wish someone older and mature had had with me or I could have with someoneyounger The good thing is now we can Through this memoir slash self help manual Sohaila Abdulali a rape survivor and head of a rape crisis center shows us just how frankly we can talk about sexual assault without coming across as brash or insensitive It doesn't seem like an easy conversation But Abdulali comes from an Indian Muslim family two of the most 'conservative' dynamics a family could possibly possess and yet she states her parents used to print out her writing regarding her experience and hand it out to stunned guests to read If that's not your cup of tea you can just sit at a dinner table with your family or friends and start by saying I just read a great book titled What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape I feel that everyone should read it Talk about an ice breaker Apart from sharing her own experience the author uses incidences from around the world as well as the research of many experts to talk about the importance of sexual education creating awareness regarding consent among both sexes and especially among children because let's face it they are exposed to so much in today's technology teaching them something significant that could protect them or those close to them can hardly be considered too sensitive for their age and the importance of the #MeToo movement and how it helped spur not only a nationwide but a global conversation about an issue that has been brushed under the rug for far too longI would recommend this book to everyone that I possibly can in the hopes that it will encourage them to start talking openly regarding the taboo of rape Because once we talk about it it is real and thus harder to ignore Which is what we need as a species now than everRating 55 Rape culture The totality of all the big and little things we do say and believe that ultimately lead to the conclusion that it's okay to rape Perhaps not any one of the little things serving your son first like a good Indian mother doesn't mean you condone rape; making fun of lady drivers doesn't mean you condone rape; saving for your daughter's dowry doesn't mean you condone rape; saying boys will be boys on the playground doesn't mean you condone rape But each of these chips away at women's and girls' self respect and gives boys permission to feel a little entitled a little important a little as though they have a free pass to maraud through the world and take without thinking god i just want want to drive to an abandoned mountain and scream for hours Thoughtful provocative and intelligent this game changing book looks at sexual assault and the global discourse on rape from the viewpoint of a survivor writer counsellor and activistSohaila Abdulali was the first Indian rape survivor to speak out about her experience Gang raped as a teenager in Mumbai and indignant at the deafening silence on the issue in India she wrote an article for a women’s magazine uestioning how we perceive rape and rape victims Thirty years later she saw the story go viral in the wake of the fatal 2012 Delhi rape and the global outcry that followedDrawing on three decades of grappling with the issue personally and professionally and on her work with hundreds of other survivors she explores what we think about rape and what we say She also explores what we don’t say and asks pertinent uestions about who gets raped and who rapes about consent and desire about redemption and revenge and about how we raise our sons Most importantly she asks does rape always have to be a life defining event or is it possible to recover joy Earlier this year I read Gay's Not that Bad which is supposedly about rape culture but mostly about response to rape It wasn't a bad book it just wasn't what I thought it would beThis book is about that It is truly a look at the culture that surrounds us and thereby determines how we talk and think about rape There is much about education and how to change education to push back against rape culture Reviewed for The BibliophibianMy experience of this book is positive but it is about rape all kinds of rape and it’s not skimpy on the details If you’re going to find the topic of rape viscerally upsetting please don’t read this review I don’t want anyone to feel unsafe although I think the book in itself is potentially really helpfulThe title pretty much encapsulates what the book is about Sohaila Abdulali thinks that rape has been a taboo and difficult subject for too long leaving too many struggling in silence and now is a perfect moment to let in some light and talk about the issue This isn’t some academic pronouncement from on high Abdulali herself was the victim of a violent rape many years ago — something she is frank about and an experience that retains its horror in the telling although it is now an event she has healed fromDespite that she’s matter of fact in a way that means my primary feeling about the book was not horror or despair or any such emotion but the hope that I think she wanted to convey I found the whole thing oddly comforting she recognises so many different kinds of rape so many different reasons and reactions and aftermaths There’s no one right way to have been raped here she accepts all kinds of stories whether it’s a child being raped by someone they trust or a prostitute who tried to say no after money had already changed hands There’s no one type of victim she thinks is justified in being hurt and feeling unsafe no situation she singles out as being better or worse than another Honestly to me the narrative here says “What happened to you was bad whatever it was It’s awful but we can look at it and unpick it and it doesn’t have to be this one big monolith dominating your whole life But whatever it is it’s okay”The book did have a couple of downsides — at times it felt a little scatterbrained unfocused in its approach It’s very personal rather than being just academic or just political or just feminist — it’s Sohaila Abdulali sitting down and taking a look at the world and making sure some things we keep in the dark are really seen for what they are and what they mean She has plenty of statistics to uote but in the end it feels like she’s sitting and working through a mass of trauma — not all her own — conversationally opening up a space for it and making us see it Perhaps it makes sense in that way that it’s a little disjointed at timesI’m very glad I read it It sounds like a heavy topic but somehow in Abdulali’s hands it’s not Or rather it is but it’s one we can handle and must handle and stop trying to look away from either from fear or from respect for victims trigger warning rape sexual violence Sohaila Abdulali was raped as a 17 year old woman by five men while out with her male friend in Mumbai Speaking about her own experience as a survivor as well as educator academic and head of the rape crisis centre in Boston this book is a great overview on the current discussion on rape and rape culture She adeuately asks the uestion how to classify this book is it a memoir a social sciences text book classic non fiction? Probably all of the aboveAbdulali tackles the big uestions surrounding rape with one topic per chapter Many of these issues are currently widely discussed and Abdulali summarizes the debates very well with the Yes means Yes and No means No and #metoo debates front and centre The real strengths of this book become aparent when Abdulali becomes personal talking as a survivor about how to talk to other survivors and how to talk about rape Her voice on the issues in even but strong A true spark of genius in my opinion are the five small chapters throughout the book in which she allows herself to become emotional and angry talking about the horror fury and confusion after being raped It is this combination of storytelling righteous anger and level headed analysis that makes this book a successMy thanks to The New Press and netgalley for offering me this ARC in return for an honest review


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About the Author: Sohaila Abdulali

Sohaila Abdulali was born in Bombay India She did her schooling in India and moved to the United States with her family when she was 15 Since then she has lived in both countries She has a BA from Brandeis University in Economics and Sociology and an MA from Stanford University in Communication Her undergraduate thesis dealt with the socio economics of rape in India When she was 20 she w