Review: Rape Girl by Alina Klein

Book info:
Format: Kindle e-book
Genre: contemporary fiction
Target group: older YA, adult

Synopsis:
It is a story of a teenage girl called Valerie who got raped after a party in her own house by a guy she fancied; it is narrated by the victim herself and it spans a period of several months.
What I liked:
The book was well written but firstly and foremostly I appreciated the fact that all everything rang so true – the voice of Valerie, her reactions and the reactions of people around her. I know it because not so long ago I went through a similar situation in my family, which, unable to keep quiet, I described on myblog,. A short version: my cousin was raped after her prom ball by her date and his older brother who was a designated driver. She simply agreed to stop by their house after the ball and yes, most likely she drank one drink too many but she definitely didn’t want to have sex, let alone with them both at the same time. They chose to understand her otherwise; then they claimed she didn’t fight or try to defend herself (well, she was drunk, right?). It was basically her word against their word. My aunt and uncle decided not to press charges, accusing my cousin that she’d led them on somehow. It was disgusting and harmful.
 Date rapes or party rapes do happen all too often; well, in the case of Valerie we should actually call it a post-party rape but you know the premise: a boy and a girl are having a good time; the boy thinks the girl has nothing against sex so he continues his game although he heard her saying ‘no’. Then the victim goes to the police and all of a sudden it turns out she is the aggressor, not the victim. I am yet to meet a rapist who calls himself so – instead they blame the other part for ‘leading him on’. The excuses are surprisingly repetitive: girls/women don’t know what they really want, they often say ‘no’ meaning ‘yes’, if they don’t scream like a banshee or fight or bite and scratch your face raw it means they agree (and even if they do it the rapist might always claim it was nothing but a kind of foreplay, right?). It’s so easy to blame the victim because, after all, more often than not she does feel guilty, like Valerie in this novel. She shouldn’t have drunk so much. She shouldn’t have stayed that long in bed. She shouldn’t have worn this or that piece of clothing. She shouldn’t have organized that party.
Valerie undergoes several stages of a post-traumatic shock: disbelief, self-disgust, aggression, depression and guilt. Then she returns to school and attends a support group therapy so we can know how her situation is perceived by other people: other rape victims, her older brother, her mum, her best friend, Mimmi, and even Adam, the rapist. Who, of course, claims there was no foul play, everything was nice and consensual, he just had the bad luck of having sex with one mean girl who now wants to draw attention to herself and to ruin his future prospects as a Mormon missionary. A classic, don’t you think?
I also appreciated the very realistic outcome of  the lawsuit, which ensued – a spoiler, highlight to read: (the prosecutors had to drop charges against Adam because his buddies testified that during the party Valerie was gagging for it; of course it wasn’t true) and the fact that Valerie found a way to get to terms with the whole situation.
What I didn’t like:
It was too short – rather a longer novella than a novel. I read it in approximately two hours. It ended too quickly.
Final verdict:
One of these books you would like to read before anything bad happens to you or to your relatives, no matter male of female. Boys: if a girl says no, no matter how she expresses it, please always assume she means it and back off. Girls: even somebody you know and like might be a potential rapist. 


ETA: thanks, Rameau, for tweeting me a link to this one!
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