Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture

Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture


In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are "routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied" for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Like Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, Not That Bad will resonate with every reader, saying "something in totality that we cannot say alone."

Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that "not that bad" must no longer be good enough.

Our Review

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture is a collection of essays edited by Roxane Gay.  Each essay deals with the topics of sexual harassment, violence and rape and the way it is emphasised in modern culture.

I’ll begin with a warning that Not That Bad may act as a trigger for any reader who has been a victim of rape.

I requested this book because I am interested in the sociology of this topic but as expected it was a hard book to read because of the raw emotions portrayed in the essays and the sensitive nature of the topics discussed.

Also, because it is a topic getting a lot of attention recently. In fact, on the day I read it Google employees had staged a walk-out over the way the company treats woman when they have put in a sexual harassment complaint.

The introduction of Not That Bad gets right into the thick of it:

When I was twelve years old, I was gang-raped in the woods behind my neighbourhood by a group of boys with the dangerous intentions of bad men. It was a terrible life-changing experience.

Before that, I have been naïve, sheltered. I believed that people were inherently good and that the meek should inherit. I was faithful and believed in God. And then I didn’t. I was broken. I was changed. I will never know who I would have been had I not become the girl in the woods.

In the years since she had heard lots of similar stories and in order to survive she had convinced herself that what happened to her was ‘not that bad.’ In reality that set a low bar for how she would expect to be treated in future relationships.

Eventually she realised that it was that bad and that a society where these kinds of things are accepted is not good enough.

This collection contains a myriad of similar experiences and essays on the topic of rape culture and victim shaming and hopefully will go a way to helping people to realise that no action, article of clothing or behaviour by a victim can ever be used to justify their rape or sexual harassment.

The voices shared here are vocies that matter and demand to be heard.

This was a tough read but an interesting book but as with any collection there were some essays which were more readble than others.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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