Sydney girl based in Oslo, Norway.

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Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay

Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay

‘For every person who has been scarred by rape culture and survives, nonetheless.’

I read a lot and I enjoy it so I’ve decided to do a monthly review of the book that I read in that month. This month I’ve had the pleasure of reading a book edited by Roxane Gay. I’ve got my whole challenge happening with reading 1 book a month, so a girl’s got some thoughts to share :)

My review

‘Not That Bad: Dispatches of Rape Culture’ provides insight into the lived experiences of those who have been raped, and of those affected by rape culture.

What is rape culture?

Rape culture can be defined as a system that normalises sexual violence(1). We are enveloped in rape culture and both men and women can be perpetrators and survivors*. It can be seen, heard and read through social media, film/television, newspapers, music and so forth.

The book is a collection of essays from different authors who write about their personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings about rape culture. Some of the essays focus on experiences of being raped and how they have survived their abusers, while others focus on the inherent fear of the ‘possibilities’ of being raped in our current society. Here’s an example of a paragraph:

‘Sexual violence is a global epidemic that is all around us, yet it is nowhere, precisely because it permeates every facet of our presence in the world, echoing throughout our political and popular cultures, ricocheting off the cement walls that define our boundaries’ - Michelle Chen

Why should you read it?

I think you should read it because it's definitely a lesson to be learned. The world is not a nice place, there is bad, there is evil and ultimately it is unjust. There are things that happen to some that others can’t comprehend. It will enlighten you about the pain and atrocities that happen to men and women all over the world, also because they’re interesting reads. Stories of survival, the most basic instinct of the human where we now occupy an existence of comfort and ignorance… I think this book will help you to decide how to navigate the world and how to be the ‘good’ person.

In summary I really enjoyed this book because as a survivor of rape it has helped me to find the words for the things I couldn’t describe and it also re-ignited the strength within me and reminded me that I am courageous and I, too, continue to survive. The book is also raw and conveys the pain, anguish, disappointment, lust, distrust of the authors incredibly well. I think Roxane Gay did a fantastic job editing these essays and putting this book together. It really is a powerful read and I would suggest taking a little caution to reading it as some can be distressing.

I wanted to share some quotes that really spoke to me while reading this book;

'I am the child who survived - to become the adult who can speak back' - So Mayer

'The Life Ruiner alone didn’t ruin me. The world that made him did - the place that continues to manufacture replicas of him and continues to create the circumstances in which he and his replicas thrive' - Nora Salem

If you’ve read this book, what did you think of it?

If you haven’t read the book, but want to, you can follow my link to buy it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2U6Ai1H


(1) Courtney Fraser, 2015, ‘From Ladies First’ to ‘Asking For It’: Benevolent Sexism in the Maintenance of Rape Culture.

* I have outgrown the word ‘victim’. Survivor is much more fitting and appropriate for those who have experienced trauma/abuse.



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