Naming sexual violence

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I recently reviewed Maria Stoian’s beautiful and chilling Take it As a Compliment at Women’s Studies International Forum. It is, as I wrote in the review, a beautiful book about a terrible subject. Like many people, I read the book nodding my head, “Yes, this happened to me too.” 

When I read the book and wrote the review some months ago, the revelations about the republican presidential candidate’s admitted serial sexual assault had not yet been reported in the press. However, since the timbre of the presidential race has changed since my writing, I would suggest that Stoian’s work–which is appropriate for high school students and up, and also possibly mature middle schoolers– be considered timely and essential reading. Not only does it address the topic of sexual violence unflinchingly and honestly, it also offers up powerful tools and testimony to interrupt sexual violence wherever we find it. Stoian has done what artists do best, and what art is for: to give our better selves tools to awaken, to advocate, to resist, to fight, and to support one another. You can read my review here.

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