**spoiler alert** Rape Girl is one of those books you dread to read as a woman and as a teacher of young women. You know the statistics of how every m**spoiler alert** Rape Girl is one of those books you dread to read as a woman and as a teacher of young women. You know the statistics of how every minute of every day a woman is violated. You feel powerless to stop the violence and to ease the suffering of the victims. But it's also a book that just by the title, you realize the importance and relevance in society. Ninety plus years after receiving the vote, women and their rights are under attack now more than they have been in recent years. Rape Girl is an important book to read and to talk about with young women--especially teenagers who cling to the mentality of "it could never happen to me"
One aspect I really enjoyed about Rape Girl is how it occurs in Before and After vignettes. It opens with police officers at Valerie's home, interviewing her after her mother called the police to report rape. We then fast forward to the moments before the infamous party that Valerie is throwing at her house.
In many ways, Valerie is your average teenage girl. After her father's death, she lives with her mom and younger sister while her older brother is away at college. She decides to be a little rebellious and throw a party while her mom is out of town. All the while she feels guilt and fear at what she is doing--she even wishes for simpler times when she could just be giggling and watching movies with her bff Mimi. She's a good girl at heart and doesn't want to do anything to get herself in trouble.
The repercussions of throwing this party will haunt her the rest of her life--as well as the other members of her family....
While she gets drunk at the party and escapes to the den with her crush Adam, nothing progresses because she gets sick and throws up on his shoes. It is the next morning that Adam returns to "finish what they started" as he says. Valerie is too afraid to scream to have her little sister Ainsley come in and see what is happening. All the while the rape is occurring, she can hear Ainsley laughing with the neighbor Ella.
We experience then the horrors of post rape with Valerie--from going to the clinic to endure the rape kit, to trying to tell her bff Mimi what happened, to returning to school for the first time and being shunned by classmates and even some teachers. I don't know if I would have had Valerie's strength at that age after experiencing what she did. She certainly gives young women someone to aspire to be--to stand up and say that it was rape, not consensual, and not to let the idiots get her down.
There were many times during Rape Girl I felt enraged at the way Valerie was treated. It isn't just rage over the way a character was treated, but I know that many rape victims are treated the same way. The aggressor is protected while they are continuously victimized. The whole way the situation of the Trig class was treated---where to keep Adam and Valerie apart, they had her do private tutoring. Once again making the victim feel that they did something wrong. And then when all the boys tried to come to Adam's defense and swear that they had had sex with Valerie! I wanted to drop kick them in the balls!!! Of course, I wish her mom had interjected the rape exams results of Valerie being a virgin before hand to get back at the principal.
I also wanted to smack Mimi repeatedly! The way she dropped Valerie was totally heartless and cruel--even going so far as to delete her off of Facebook. At first, Mimi's voice echoes what a lot of young women would say to their friend, "Do you really want to go through with this?" "You were leading him on?" etc.
I loved Sandrina's character. She's such a 180 to Valerie--going to far as to have a past where Sandrina threatened Mimi and Valerie saved her. She's willing to stick her neck out and offer Valerie a friend and a shoulder to lean on. And then there's Wes--a potential love interest, barrista at the coffeehouse, the image of a nice guy that Valerie so desperately needs to see is still out there so she can trust again.
The counseling scenes were very important as well because they helped to give a different rape scenario and voice to other young women as well as making Valerie questioned what happened to her. I loved when she finally is challenged to speak up in group for the first time.
I think Rape Girl does a good job of showing the guilt family members experience when a rape happens. Valerie's mom can't get over the fact she left home to go to a conference while Sam, her older brother, wishes he had come home that weekend like he was supposed to. Even Ainsley feels guilty that she let Adam in that morning.
The only issue I had with Rape Girl is I felt it was too short. I really would have like to have seen more of Valerie's recovery and building her life back. ...more