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September - Girl Worth > Prologue + Chapter 1

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message 1: by Rose (last edited Sep 16, 2019 04:22PM) (new)

Rose Elliott | 28 comments Mod
Good afternoon, everyone!

"What is a Girl Worth?" has 29 chapters, plus a prologue and epilogue. Because of this, I will be posting discussion for two chapters every weekday. You can read at your own pace and comment on discussions as you get through chapters, though!

Today's discussion covers the prologue and chapter 1. I made sure to bold today's questions in my paragraphs below. If you don't want to read all my chatter, I put the questions at the end as well.

PROLOGUE

I have seen little hope that any light would be shed by coming forward, so I have remained quiet. If there is any possibility that is changing, I will come forward as publicly as necessary.

These words haunt me. The prologue is barely three pages long, but reading it was like taking in a sharp breath and holding it. I assume most of us are reading this book at least knowing a small part of how it came to be. I won't ask too many questions like this because they get repetitive after a while, but what stands out to you about this scene into what would become the calm before the storm? (if what was already going on in the Denhollanders' lives at the time could be called that!) For me, it's the quote above. I still think about it, although I finished my first read-through of this book last week (I'm reading it again with all of you).

CHAPTER ONE

Why didn't you say something sooner?

This is another quote that haunts me because I have, to my shame, inwardly asked this question when I've seen late reports of sexual abuse. It was mostly from an attempt to understand why, but I struggled to reconcile the fact of why there are failures to report and the urgent need for reporting if there is ever hope for justice. But as Rachael says, ...saying something is one thing. Being heard--and believed--is another.

Right away while reading, I felt an uncomfortable need for a shift in my thinking, in my instinctive responses to situations like Rachael's. Later in the chapter, she says A common thread in the societal response to abuse is the argument "I'm not saying it was her fault; I'm just saying I'd have responded differently." It feels safe to believe abuse happens only to people who "let it." Bust this is in fact blaming the victim, because it implies that if victims had just responded differently, they could have stopped the abuse. This myth needs to be abandoned, and we need to make an effort to better understand why survivors don't speak up during, or even after, abuse.

The truth is, I had the tools I needed, and I knew how to use them from an early age. Yet when the time came, they were not enough to help me be heard and be believed.


Oof. Right away Rachael puts a full stop to victim blaming. Have you ever (with or without realizing it) participated in victim blaming? What made you realize you were doing it? How did you shift your thinking? The victim blaming as Rachael lays it out in this chapter is so extremely prevalent in our society, it feels nigh unescapable. But it is escapable. We have to be better, for the sake of those who have spoken out and especially for the sake of those who still have not yet spoken out. I know this is a mindset that must be fought against in both our own selves and society. As we continue this discussion throughout this book, we will continue to see both the battle and the urgency in joining the fight.

QUESTIONS SUMMARY

Prologue
--What stands out to you about this scene in the prologue that gives us a look into what would become the calm before the storm?

Chapter One
--Have you ever (with or without realizing it) participated in victim blaming?
--What made you realize you were doing it?
--How did you shift your thinking?



message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 101 comments Mod
The thing that really jumped out at me in the prologue was how normal life was for them before she read that Indy Star article. Rachael was a mom, comforting a teething baby, her husband working or at school - and then she read that article and it kinda blew up her life. That seems like a really common thing to happen with issues in the past - everything seems fine, and then it suddenly is brought back into focus and nothing is fine anymore.

My answer for the victim blaming questions is no. I've been thinking a lot about victim blaming over the past couple of years because it is epidemic. Every time a high-profile case comes out, people line up on social media to blame the victim, and many of the people engaging in it don't see that's what they're doing. Like Rachael says, they even start with "I'm not blaming the victim" and then blame the victim. I really wish society in general and the church specifically would try to understand abuse and have compassion on people who are in these hard situations.


message 3: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Manchester (calvinistbatman) | 233 comments Mod
Have you ever (with or without realizing it) participated in victim blaming?

Sadly yes, more in belief than anything. The "what was she wearing?" (etc) questions were a big one for me earlier in life.


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