[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]
This collection of essays is a very enlightening one: about people who were raped and/or sexually assaulted, about those who work with them, about the rape culture that permeates so many places and societies.
The latter especially is worth mentioning, because little gestures, little ‘jokes’, everyday sexism and attitudes and ‘if you wear those clothes then You’re Asking For It’ sayings are the foundations of something deeper, something that leads to rape, and make it so that no matter what, the victims are still the ones who have to justify themselves. Justify the amount of times they said ‘no’; or whether they said it clearly enough (apparently, for many people, a woman who says no actually means yes… and they never question it, and therefore make a decision based on what they want to hear). Justify and quantify their pain: if it was ‘so bad’, shouldn’t they be dead? And, since they aren't, shouldn’t they be grateful that ‘at least they’re not dead’ (as if that could erase and negate what was done to them)? As if this was but a trifle, something that you just can, and have to, get over with, because mentioning it will Make Other People Uncomfortable.
I guess I should be grateful that the ‘only’ aggression I had to go through dealt with random guys deciding that fondling my thigh in the train was something they had a God-given right to do. Or grateful that they ‘only’ flashed their dick in front of my face. It wasn’t ‘that bad’, right? Well, screw that. At the root of it, our stupid, crappy society is still stuck on Man Sees, Man Takes (sometimes women do that, too, but it’s nevertheless much more often the other way ‘round, because Boys Will Be Boys, and all that rubbish we dump into boys’ heads when they’re still so little). And as long as we don’t wake up and grow up for a change, this won’t go away.
The styles are varied, by various authors (female, male, trans), including even an essay in comics format, while being close enough to clearly resonate as a whole. They read quickly and easily in terms of grammar/vocabulary, and yet remain powerful and hard to stomach as well, due to the theme they explore and the pain they deal with, whether they are actually depressing or carrying some form of hope.
These essays are definitely worth reading: as an eye opener for some, as a reminder in general of what is at stake, of the day to day attitudes towards sexual harassment, of all the tiny ways well-meaning people can and will say/do the wrong things.
I'm struggling today, really struggling. I may not even post this.
My back spasms came back yesterday. It's bad, really bad. I know the reasons, and I can't do anything about it until it at least gets better this time. More exercise. Lose some weight. Get off the couch. Heaven only knows what else.
But there are other things.
I own these books because borrowing them from the library wasn't enough. I had to have them for myself.
I turned on MSNBC for a few minutes, hoping to see Nicolle Wallace. But it was still Brian Williams and the coverage, and I had to turn it off. I don't know who the woman was that was commenting, a young Black woman talking about how she had to take the day off work because she was so emotional, crying, because of all the phone calls and texts calling to ask if she was okay.
Dear goddess, are any of us okay?
What is "real rape"?
Is it only "real rape" when the victim is pure as the driven snow, a virgin martyr to the lust of an evil man?
If she wears a short skirt, it's not real rape.
If she has a drink, it's not real rape.
If her life's not in danger, it's not real rape.
If she didn't fight to the death, it's not real rape.
If she's had sex with him before, it's not real rape.
If she didn't report it to the cops, it's not real rape.
If she's married to him, it's not real rape.
I'm sitting on the couch with the heating pad on my back turned up to high. I'm shivering. I can't cry because it will hurt too much, will trigger the contractions in my back that feel like knives.
I can't talk because no one will believe me, and because if they do believe me other people will be hurt who have no reason to be hurt.
It's never really "real rape."
Callie and Sonya are on their way for a nice date night, when all of a sudden they are verbally assaulted by some men on the street. As the men got closer, the assault became physical and soon they are running for their lives. They discover that a message from the president is being broadcast nationwide and it's affecting men all over the country. How does it affect them? Will Callie and Sonya make it out alive? You'll have to read this short book to find out!
All of my horror loving friends that have read this have rated it fairly high. I love and trust them so when I saw this available in the Audiobook Boom! listing, I requested it right away. And now, here we are.
Incredibly graphic and violent, while at the same time kind of hilarious, C.V. Hunt has worked some magic here. A somewhat derisive view of the president and politics in general is worked into the story as well. It's not in your face, but it's there and that's just fine with me. In a world where we shame rape victims for speaking out, where we often treat the perpetrators as young men who just made a mistake,
I enjoyed this story where women finally triumph over that culture.
I listened to this on audio and I admit it took me a while to get used to the narrator. It must have been difficult for her at times, because as I said above there are some incredibly brutal scenes here. I gained respect as the story unwound and ended up enjoying her quite a bit.
Brutal, tongue in cheek, (and in many other places in this story), violent, graphic, and with an eye toward our current political environment, COCKBLOCK, is original, imaginative, sarcastic, and has a clear vision of what it wants to say. The only question that remains is are you brave enough to hear it?
Highly recommended to those horror fans who can handle brutal violence and rape.
*Thanks to the narrator and to Audiobook Boom! for the audio of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*
"Geraint was representing me at that event and it will go the way it always goes in the press when it all comes out. It will have been my fault, all of it. Because men's crimes are always ours in the final analysis, aren't they, Mr. Strike? Ultimate responsibility always lies with the woman -- who should have stopped it. Who should have acted. Who must have known. Your failings are really our failings, aren't they? Because the proper role of the woman is carer, and there is nothing lower in this whole world than a bad mother."
Well, well, Joanne.