What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a non-fiction written by Sohaila Abdulali. The author was born in Mumbai. She has a BA in economics and sociology from Brandeis University and an MA in communication from Stanford University. She is the author of two novels as well as several children’s books and short stories. She lives in New York with her family.
The author is the first Indian survivor who spoke about being gang-raped in an article for a women’s magazine, where she wrote about how the society has a problematic view for rape victims. The article was hailed in certain sections of the society but didn’t reach to a larger reader base but that changed after the 2012 Delhi rape case, as her article resurfaced she was dragged back to think about it. She writes about a wide range of topics of how rape is perceived by people across the world, the “Me Too” movement, how power is at the center of most of the evils & how we can start to eradicate such atrocities completely.
When this book came out, the first thing which struck me was its title. Many authors have written about rape but mostly shied away from making a clear indication through the title what the book is about. As I started to read this book, the author immediately captured my attention by mentioning the problem in detail but also not letting it overshadow her life. The author talked about the trauma that follows, the different kinds of judgments that are passed onto the survivor & how we need to have a ground level change in order to change the perception altogether. The sensitivity with which the book has been written made me respect this piece of literature even more. An important narrative along with the personal stories of many makes it a special read.
I just loved every bit, it’s like being in a conversation with a livewire The subject is dark but the book is most colourful with many many faucets. Sohaila Abdulali’s style is a breathe of fresh air. I wish I could gift this book to each and everybody. You will read it over and over.