No one should be surprised that we’ve been hearing a lot more about Rape Culture in recent months, given the number of women who have come forward with shocking allegations of celebrity sexual assault, from Bill Cosby to Roger Ailes to Harvey Weinstein, who continue to deny any wrongdoing on the Access Hollywood tape. People are being exposed to the terrible reality of rape culture earlier and earlier in an era where our president and prominent celebrities are accused of assaulting and harassing women. For teens and young adults who are just beginning to learn about rape culture, sexual assault, and its consequences, there are plenty of books to choose from.
All of these readings are beneficial to both sexes, but they are particularly useful to those who want to understand how rape culture and the daily microagressions that fuel it are constructed, how to combat their own internalized misogyny, and what they can do to recognize rape culture in their own lives and encourage their friends to speak up and speak out against it at every turn. When it comes to creating a safe and supportive environment for women, teens and young adults can make a huge difference in the lives of those around them, as well as the future of our country.
‘Speak’ by Laurie Halse Anderson
During a summer party, an upperclassman raped Melinda and she fled to the safety of art as a method to cope with the trauma of the experience. The upperclassman still attends her high school and poses a danger to her. He attacks her again as she begins to recover from the first assault. Melinda, on the other hand, isn’t going down without a fight. Teens will benefit greatly from this realistic portrayal of rape’s long-term effects, both on a physical and emotional level.
‘I Have The Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story Of Sexual Assault, Justice And Hope’ by Chessy Prout
A senior guy sexually abused freshman Chessy Prout in a ritualized game of conquest at a famous New Hampshire boarding school. She bravely went to the police and testified against her attacker in court after she was assaulted in her home. To help other survivors, she revealed her identity in the face of incomprehensible outrage from her once-trusted school community. Aside from her own story, this memoir focuses on the structures that allow such behavior to go unchallenged, as well as providing actual solutions to rape culture reform.
‘Wrecked’ by Maria Padian
On campus, everyone tells a somewhat different story of what transpired the night of the shootings. Haley was taken aback when she saw a distraught Jenny emerge from the celebration. Richard overheard Jordan bragging about his hookup with a gorgeous freshman. When Jenny makes a rape claim against Jordan, Haley and Richard find themselves on opposite sides of the investigation at school. When reputations, relationships, and futures are at stake, bringing the truth to light may be practically hard due to contradictory stories. Wrecked examines the role of witnesses and allies in sexual assault trials, and the importance of speaking up in the fight against rape.
‘Exit, Pursued By A Bear’ by E.K. Johnston
The cheerleaders of Palermo Heights, where Hermione Winters lives, are a source of great pride for the municipality. When the team’s summer training camp is over, Hermione will no longer be able to participate in it. Someone tucks something into her drink during a camp party. And then everything goes dark. Hermione tries valiantly to reclaim the power she’s always held and must make a difficult choice about the future. Hermione Winter’s assault was just the beginning of her journey, and she isn’t going to let it end it.
‘Pointe’ by Brandy Colbert
Theo is doing much better now. She’s eating again, dating men who are nearly proper, and on her road to becoming a top ballet dancer.. When Donovan, her oldest friend, returns home after four long years with his kidnapper, Theo begins reliving memories of his abduction—and his abductor.. Even though Donovan won’t talk about what happened, Theo fears that telling the truth may jeopardize everything she’s worked for. However, it’s possible that being silent is worse.
‘Moxie’ by Jennifer Mathieu
Vivian Carter had had enough. Abandoned the football team’s belief that they can do no wrong at her small Texas high school. Tired of sexist clothing codes and harassment in the classroom. As a result, she publishes an anonymous feminist zine. Other girls seem to take notice of her venting. Viv has sparked a revolution, and it’s only a matter of time. It’s crucial for feminist men to be allies to the women in their life because Moxie reveals how minor, seemingly innocuous instances of “boys being boys” can materialize and distort themselves into serious misogyny and sexual violence.
‘The Way I Used to Be’ by Amber Smith
Eden had a knack for doing the right thing. She remained the same person she was before starting high school. Eden’s world is turned upside down the night her brother’s best friend rapes her. This story is broken up into four parts: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year. It portrays the deep wounds of trauma through its four distinct chapters. One young woman’s resilience is shown as she deals with the consequences and learns to embrace the power of survival she didn’t know was lurking within. Rape’s long-term and multifaceted consequences are vividly depicted in this moving documentary.
‘Asking for It: The Rise Of Rape Culture And What We Can Do About It’ by Kate Harding
Rape culture, a phrase coined by feminists to describe the prevalence of sexual violence in recent years, has now entered the mainstream. But what is it, exactly? And what can we do about it? That outspoken voice that has made her a formidable feminist blogger is evident in Kate Harding’s response to these questions in Asking for It. Harding presents proposals and ideas for how we as a culture may treat rape considerably more seriously without violating the rights of the accused, combining in-depth study with practical understanding. It’s a good starting point for anyone who wants to explore into the topic.
‘Asking for It: The Rise Of Rape Culture And What We Can Do About It’ by Kate Harding
Valerie is working to overcome her sense of victimization following a horrible rape and near-murder. Valerie has also been bullied in the past. She’s haunted by the fact that she doesn’t know who raped her and the tales that circulate at school about it. It’s only by following the trail of clues left by ghosts of the rapist-previous murderer’s victims that Valerie is able to piece together his identity. But why do all of his frightening images have 52 likes? They are taking her to the mystery man, but he is going to battle her to keep his identity a secret.
‘All The Rage’ by Courtney Summers
Romy, who was raped by Kellan Turner, the sheriff’s son, is the subject of this violent, honest picture of rape and its consequences. She’s lost friends, family, and her entire neighborhood because no one wants to trust a girl from the wrong side of town. However, as word spreads of Kellan’s assault on another girl in a nearby town, Romy is forced to choose between fighting for her own safety and risking the lives of other females if she doesn’t speak up. An examination of the “Golden Boy” narrative and how we as a society choose not to trust women is critical in this discussion.
‘What We Saw’ by Aaron Hartzler
When a photo of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder comes online the next morning, Kate Weston fears she doesn’t have all the information of the party at John Doone’s house. The entire town is thrown into uproar when Stacey files accusations against four of Kate’s schoolmates. This story, based on true events, examines how silence might be used as a weapon of mass destruction. And examines the enormous consequences of speaking up, the narrow line between guilt and innocence, and how social media plays a big role in sustaining rape culture.
‘Asking for It’ by Louise O’Neill
There’s a party one night. Emma O’Donovan, a young woman of eighteen, awakens the following morning on the porch of her house. She has no recollection of the event. It’s just that everyone else does too. It is clear from the pictures shot during the party that Emma had a wild night out that night. It’s not always easy to accept what you see in front of you, especially if it involves one of your hometown heroes. This is a must-read for any youngster who has access to the internet and is disturbed by the prevalence of assault and rape culture as entertainment.
‘We Should All Be Feminists’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
One of the best ways to start the debate about gender inequality, women’s rights, slut shaming, and other feminist topics is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk on feminist issues and why we all (yes, men included) should be feminists. Gender equality in the United States today is a digestible, wonderfully written manifesto on how we may and should fight for it in a variety of ways.