What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

by Sohaila Abdulali


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


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.”
Jill Soloway

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620974742
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 11/27/2018
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 413,246
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sohaila Abdulali was born in Mumbai. She has a BA from Brandeis University in economics and sociology and an MA from Stanford University in communication. She is the author of two novels as well as children’s books and short stories. She lives in New York with her family.

Table of Contents

1. Who do I think I am?

2. Shut up or die

3. The night everything changed

4. Yes, no, maybe, kind of, sort of, not really but perhaps

5. What did you expect?

6. How to save a life

7. The quality of mercy

8. A brief pause for horror

9. A bagful of dentures

10. Keys to the kingdom

11. A brief pause for fury

12. Sometimes a dick is just a dick.

13. You spin me right round, baby, right round

14. Stealing freedom, stealing joy

15. A brief pause for ennui and a longing for light

16. My rape is worse than yours

17. Good girls don't

18. Boys will…

19. The official version

20. Polite conversation

21. The full catastrophe

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Both unflinching and nuanced, Abdulali breaks the East/West boundary so often upheld in feminist writing on this subject. Her writing is disruptive and powerful for it—never letting us forget that there is a person who suffers, a body that gets broken, and, when a body is violated, all of society is at risk.
This book could not be more timely, nor could there be a better thinker—
herself a survivor—to write it. If the #metoo campaign is to have any lasting impact for change in women’s circumstances across the world, it will be because of books such as this.’—Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young

Customer Reviews