Menstruation Nation’s August Book Review: “Not That Bad” by Roxanne Gay

This month’s book review is dedicated to the impeccable writer that is Roxanne Gay (author of Bad Feminist), and her collection of sexual assault stories from several women and men that exist in different platforms in terms of fame and lifestyles.

This book is not formatted by chapters. Instead, it’s separated by each person’s account of sexual assault and experiences from toxic masculinity and patriarchal abuse.

We know it’s terrible. It’s awful. The way our society works, the way sexual assault survivors who are shown no justice, the rapists who barely get a slap on the wrist, and the women who grow up afraid of men and afraid of masculinity from intellectual, physical and sexual abuse from their childhood.

What’s so important, nay, necessary about reading this book is that it highlights sexual abuse in a way you will never forget. Reading these stories from the brave survivors that grace the pages of this intense and relevant book of content, makes you realize all the cracks in a society where the patriarchy drips in and destroys so much and hurts so many people, especially women.

The name of the book is “Not that Bad,” because often as women or men, we brush things off. We say: “Yeah he grabbed me on the street, but I have a friend who went through something way worse. What I went through was not that bad.” This attitude and this way of speaking about sexual assault dismisses the overall harm it is doing to us as women and men and as a society as well.

“Not That Bad” made me realize how ingrained the acceptance of rape culture is in our society. These accounts are colorful, diverse, intense and heartbreaking. Reading this book will feel difficult during moments, but know this it is important we break the silence when it comes to rape culture and sexual assault. We need to listen to survivors and more importantly, believe the survivors. Sexual assault is an epidemic; it’s time to treat it like one.

Thank you to Roxanne Gay and the many contributors to “Not that Bad.” Your bravery will inspire many others to come forward.

article by megan gray

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