After surviving gang-rape at seventeen in Mumbai, Sohaila Abdulali was indignant about the deafening silence that followed and wrote a fiery piece about the perception of rape and rape victims for a women’s magazine. Thirty years later, with no notice, her article reappeared and went viral in the wake of the 2012 fatal gang-rape in New Delhi, prompting her to write a New York Times oped about healing from rape that was widely circulated. Now, Abdulali has written What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape a thoughtful, generous, unflinching look at rape and rape culture.
Drawing on her own experience, her work with hundreds of survivors as the head of a rape crisis center in Boston, and three decades of grappling with rape as a feminist intellectual and writer, Abdulali tackles some of our thorniest questions about rape, articulating the confounding way we account for who gets raped and why and asking how we want to raise the next generation. In interviews with survivors from around the world we hear moving personal accounts of hard-earned strength, humor, and wisdom that collectively tell the larger story of what rape means and how healing can occur. Abdulali also points to the questions we don’t talk about Is rape always a life defining event? Is one rape worse than another? Is a world without rape possible?