“What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a public square for those who know a lot about rape and for those who know little. It is a safe space for survivors and a broad-minded attempt to open the conversation to everyone. It’s a global book, relevant in refugee camps and American suburbs. I can’t think of a book to compare it to. Maybe Silent Spring or Unsafe at Any Speed. I hope the world is ready to accept the change this book could bring.”
— Sarah McNally, McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY
What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is brilliant, frank, empowering, and urgently necessary. Sohaila Abdulali has created a powerful tool for examining rape culture and language on the individual, societal, and global level that everyone can benefit from reading.
In the tradition of Rebecca Solnit, a beautifully written, deeply intelligent, searingly honest--and ultimately hopeful--examination of sexual assault and the global discourse on rape told through the perspective of a survivor, writer, counselor, and activist
After surviving gang-rape at seventeen in Mumbai, Sohaila Abdulali was indignant about the deafening silence that followed and wrote a fiery piece about the perception of rape--and rape victims--for a women's magazine. Thirty years later, with no notice, her article reappeared and went viral in the wake of the 2012 fatal gang-rape in New Delhi, prompting her to write a New York Times op-ed about healing from rape that was widely circulated. Now, Abdulali has written What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape--a thoughtful, generous, unflinching look at rape and rape culture.
Drawing on her own experience, her work with hundreds of survivors as the head of a rape crisis center in Boston, and three decades of grappling with rape as a feminist intellectual and writer, Abdulali tackles some of our thorniest questions about rape, articulating the confounding way we account for who gets raped and why--and asking how we want to raise the next generation. In interviews with survivors from around the world we hear moving personal accounts of hard-earned strength, humor, and wisdom that collectively tell the larger story of what rape means and how healing can occur. Abdulali also points to the questions we don't talk about: Is rape always a life-definining event? Is one rape worse than another? Is a world without rape possible?
What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a book for this #MeToo and #TimesUp age that will stay with readers--men and women alike--for a long, long time.