It’s been a while, but it’s #TwitterBookReview time. I’ve been reading ‘Why Women are Blamed for Everything’ by Dr Jessica Taylor. It is about victim blaming, specifically when it comes to women who have been raped/sexually assaulted.
It certainly contained a lot of information, and the topic is an important one, although I didn’t always agree with Dr Taylor’s opinions. Whilst she evidently cares about the topics and wants to support women I found that she was a bit absolute. For example when she talked about how mental health services treated women who had been sexually assaulted. She talks of how they are quick to diagnose with mental illness when women are having natural reactions to traumatic events, which may be true. However she also seems to completely dismiss that a natural reaction can still be something that you might need help with. To say ‘to feel this way is normal, but I need help to process these emotions and not let them take over my life’
There were certainly things I the book I didn’t know much about. Such as sexual violence within schools, and the extent of knowledge of pornography in children younger than I would have expected.
It was also quite eye opening about how society, including women who have been sexually assaulted, and those who work in victim support have internalised this blame. When yes it is the perpetrator who is to blame (although 1 could argue that the perpetrator is also a product of society so may not see their crime as 100% their blame). I also disliked that for her the perpetrator could only be a man. If she was only talking about rape maybe, but women can sexually assault. Dr Taylor very much said men and was firm about it. I’m not saying she had to address this type of sexual assault, but that she needs to be clear she doesn’t deny it.
As a book it sort of straddled the line between academic work, and a book for the general public, but I wouldn’t say it achieved either particularly well. For the general public it was repetitive, not especially engaging, at times overly theoretical. In style it read a lot like and overly long, poorly edited article. Articles do go into some of the technicalities Dr Taylor went into, but that doesn’t really suit a book which is for a general audience. But it contained too much opinion for a scientific audience
Whilst the idea of publishing as a book rather than a set of articles (which I imagine she also did) means it gets a wider readership, which is good for spreading a message, it needed editing for that purpose, whereas it felt very thrown together.
The rating I give is mainly based on the importance of the subject rather than the book itself. If anyone knows a better book on the same subject I’d love to know.
Paperback- pre-order (£8.76)
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