What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

Editor | Non-Fiction

Sohaila Abdulali was the first Indian survivor to speak out about rape. Gang-raped as a teenager in Bombay and indignant at the deafening silence on the issue in India, she wrote an article for a woman’s magazine questioning how we perceive rape and rape victims. Thirty years later, she saw the story go viral in the wake of the fatal 2012 Delhi rape and the global outcry that followed.

Writing from the viewpoint of a survivor, writer, counsellor and activist, and drawing on three decades of grappling with the issue personally and professionally and her work with hundreds of survivors, Sohaila Abdulali looks at what we–women, men, politicians, teachers, writers, sex workers, feminists, sages, mansplainers, victims and families–think about rape and what we say.

In What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape (Published by Penguin, Pages 229, Price 499) She also explores what we don’t say. She asks pertinent questions: Is rape always a life-defining event? Does rape always symbolize something? Is rape worse than death? Is rape related to desire? Who gets raped? Is rape inevitable? Is one rape worse than the other? Who rapes? What is consent? How do you recover a sense of safety and joy? How do you raise sons? Who gets to judge?

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