Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture | REVIEW

 Not That Bad is a collection of essays. A collection of really hard essays to read. The stories made me uncomfortable which is probably why it took me all month to read it. 

I picked this book up not knowing what to expect. I knew I loved Roxanne Gay, but outside of that…. 

“If a guy on the street approaches you and asks for the time,” our teacher said, “you don’t have to answer him. Providing the time of day is not your job. If you don’t want to talk to him, keep walking.”

This book was H-A-R-D, hard, to read. It took me so much longer to read because of that. 

There were stories written by women.

Stories written by men.

Stories written by transgender individuals. 

Stories written by celebrities.

Stories written by normal people. 

Not That Bad really made me think about the way not just women are treated by men. But how we, as women, treat ourselves when it comes to men. It made me think about what the actual definition of rape is. It made me think about my own behavior when I became sexually active probably a little too young. 

It is hard to say that I enjoyed this collection. It is not something that should really be enjoyed. But it made me incredibly uncomfortable which I think is a good thing when reading. 

In the dust of the #MeToo movement, I am not entirely sure why this book is not talked about more. These are REAL women AND MEN, telling their stories. Telling their truth that they have spent years keeping to themselves afraid of what might happen next. 

Stories of daughters who were molested by their fathers as children. Daughters who begged for help from family and friends and received none. Daughters who were asked by those fathers for forgiveness on their death bed. 

Stories of women who thought they weren’t good enough for a certain type of man but when given the opportunity made choices they were uncomfortable with. 

There are so many stories. Stories that do not get talked about on the 6 o’clock news. Stories that don’t get a hashtag. Stories that are not stories but are actually events that cripple their victims. 

Not That Bad made me realize just how fortunate I am. My NO has never been interrupted as a yes, or as “wanting it”. I have never woken up unsure of what happened or where I was. I never had a family member come into my room at night, or a teacher teach me inappropriately. Prior to reading this book I would have said that I never put myself in that position. Now I realize that a lot of people do not put themselves in those positions. These awful, disrespectful, degrading things HAPPEN TO THEM not because of where they necessarily are. 

JS.

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