This book is insane.
I’ve read a lot of books covering rape, self harm, bullying, depression, eating disorders etc over my time but NEVER has a book had this impact on me.
My writing, both creative and blogging, always has had underlying tones of the things the that have influenced my life. The good, the bad and the ugly. But this book has done, in 317 pages, what I only wish I could do. It has played everything out so straightforward and bluntly that no one can deny what happens. And it has done it in a way that has left me feeling clean and okay.
I feel like people in my generation spend so much time saying “how could you not believe a girl if she says she’s been raped” and this book explains exactly how.
It explains the way people turn on you, the way they ignore the proof and deny the facts.
I don’t think I will ever be able to tell my story the way Courtney Summers told Romy’s. I don’t think I will ever have the courage to face up to the person that did things to a girl who was me. As time goes on it becomes so much harder to explain to people as an actual thing because people start to question why you haven’t told anyone. Why you haven’t done anything.
This book gets so many things right. I recieved it two days ago and it is finished, with countless quotes highlighted.
I think this book understand the aftermath of rape and sexual assault more than I, as a victim, ever will.
The feeling of disgust and wrongfulness at yourself when you do things, like wear a pretty bra, is just too real. On days when I’ve woken from nightmares I don’t wear makeup to work, I won’t plait my hair. Things that seem so insignificant to others but have too much meaning to me. It’s not that I’m afraid that I’ll attract other shitty people into my life, it’s more that I know I am tainted goods. I feel like a fraud, someone less deserving of beauty than others. Rape leaves you with such a strong feeling of guilt and that makes confronting the situation, even to yourself, so much harder. Some days I can’t make eye contact with myself in the mirror even though I know it’s not my fault.
Being unwillingly touched leaves you feeling like you don’t belong to anyone, let alone yourself. A lot of shows refer to people needing to wash and find ways to reclaim themselves after an assault. They show the struggles they have with relationships but I don’t think it’s ever shown how long these things go on for. I still scald myself with burning water. I change my hair colour, the way my room is set up, my phone case, as a distraction. I embrace change because I’m so scared I am still that vulnerable person.
Particularly difficult is the point in this book in which she says “do you know all the ways to kill a girl? I do”. Romy talks so much about the girl before, the girl she was, the girl she is with different people. She separates herself from the fact because it is so much easier to cope that way. You begin by telling yourself it was just a little bit pushy, it was the alcohol, you’re over reacting. But as the memories come back, the tears, the begging, you have to push yourself away.
He told a friend of mine that I was “too kinky for him”. He told them he apologised and I said okay so things must be fine?
You have to distance yourself from the fact because hearing things like that, and remembering that fear builds up so much anger and frustration and guilt and fear. The more people think you’re lying the more you doubt yourself.
Separating yourself from the situation helps you see the facts.
He knew you were drunk. He knew you were upset. You said no. More than once. He kept going.
This book just gets so many things right and, as a survivor, it was so difficult to read but so worth it. This book has made me feel cleansed and accepted and dignified with my feelings and I need everyone to read it right now.
Big gross rant over