I’ve been reading lots about rape and post-rape trauma. One of the latest books was What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Somalia Abdulali (2018). Her experience and story sheds light on the racialized sexist lens that is used to cover rape stories.
Abdulali was raped more than thirty years ago and her op-ed from then went viral due to the #metoo #timesup tag and rape cases in India. Her book is part autobiography, survival tool kit, and historiography of rape and trauma, but the highlight is the way that she examines rape culture and the intersection of race and sexism. What I enjoyed most was her guidelines for saving a rape survivor’s life on pages 75-76. This is a must-read book.
Abdulali, Sohaila. 2018. What We TalkAbout When We Talk About Rape. NY: New Press.
You’d be hard pressed to not know what the #MeToo movement or hashtag is. The words really resonate with the fact that so many people are survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The numbers are higher for women as survivors of harassment or assault. In Canada, almost 500,000 will be sexually assaulted each year. This number might sound high or low to some. I am going to offer that the number is likely too low. Statistics in the US are also overwhelming. From RAINN we see that in the US every 98 seconds a woman is sexually assaulted. These stats essentially mean that we all know several people who are survivors.
We are at a tipping point and people are listening to women, girls, and others about different untenable situations that they have faced. It used to be that we didn’t talk about our me too situations. They are ugly and we likely want to move on and not remember the ugliness from work, home, a bar or just about every darn place that we live. My first #MeToo was in junior high, but the me too moments or situations that stung the worse were with partners or in the workplace. There are too many stories to tell.
I took this photo in an Old Navy. It is a shirt in celebration of International Women’s Day, March 8th.