Trigger warning for the entire review (and book) as it discusses rape and rape culture.
As a proud Angry Feminist, I’ve read a lot of books about rape culture. Considering that most women are harassed, abused, sexually assaulted, or raped in their lifetimes, it is of course a subject rife for feminist discussion and analysis. I won’t say that Not That Bad adds anything hugely revolutionary to the genre (aside from the fact that it remains a revolutionary act to frankly discuss rape and rape culture), but it’s still a harrowing, necessary read.
This is a collection of essays, written entirely by people who have experienced some form of sexual violence, about sexual violence and rape culture. About the during, the before, and the aftermath of all of it, the actual violence and the daily violence done by our culture. Each story attempts to bring in the context of rape culture, about how this violence is normalized and accepted and perpetuated, and about how that culture directly harms all of us.
I appreciated that not every story was written by cis women. I appreciated the variety of voices and tones. I appreciated the visceral anger, which I don’t think survivors are allowed to express enough. And I especially appreciated the stories that mentioned all the smaller violations we live with in this culture we’re all steeped in, along with the huge violations.
This wasn’t an easy read at all. I can’t imagine it is for anyone who has any empathy, and as a survivor, it’s extra difficult. Much of this is, of course, triggering. But it’s also validating. This might be something that takes a long time to read, but I recommend it to anyone.