Queering Sexual Violence

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Member Reviews

As a queer person who has experienced a lot of sexual violence in my life, this was a really difficult book to read. It took me a few years to get through because I had to stop for months at a time. Still, I'm so glad I read it. It is an incredible  collection and such and important body of work.
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Trigger warning. If you have experienced any type of violence this book may trigger you. This is a book full of personal stories and experiences of those who identify as lgbtqia. You can feel their triumph and pain come through the pages. These essays though some are medical and seem like research, others are stories welcoming you into their world. 

Learn from their stories and help others who may be experiencing violence. If you are experiencing violence personally, use their stories to strengthen yourself.
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Amid the Trump Presidency, where LGBTQI rights are being outright attacked for no legitimate, or logical reason, I could not have read this at a better time. People seem to think that sexual violence is a heterosexual thing. It's not it's a "people in any kind of sexual relationship" thing, because it can happen to anyone.

It covers a very wide variety of sexual encounters, what those encounters mean to people outside of the heteronormative stereotype. It's a big book with big topics that should not be hidden under the proverbial carpet, but shown out in the burning light of Truth. Some aspects readers may or may not agree with, but that does not matter. The fact that this book exists is a huge plus to the LGBTQI world. I highly recommend reading this to kind of gain perspective on sexual violence for people who don't identify as strictly male or female. It's a very interesting read.

Some people asked for trigger warnings, I would kind of figure that given the title, it was self-explanatory, but I guess not. So...triggers.
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DISCLAIMER: an Arc is provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

TRIGGER WARNING: The book contains of the notion and stories of violation, homophobia, incest, depression, suicide attempts, sexual abuse, discrimination, etc). As this is a non-fiction book, all the situation and condition either described or portrayed were and are real.

"Our bodies are our greatest strength: our sexuality, out senses, our instincts, and our greatest vulnerability: our ability to be not just penetrated and physically violated, but also psychologically abused, damaged, and shamed for our desires and perceived desires. We carry around these hurts, these sometimes invisible scars, these sometimes gaping wounds, into out adult lives and out adult sexualities. out bodies feel good, until we remember what may have been done to them by trusted loved ones or strangers or abusive partners. Out desires feel good, until they don't and we think we should be wanting or feeling some other way and we are ashamed. Most of us don't know what to do with this feelings, this trauma of violation that we have stored in our bones, in our tendons, in our muscles. Sure, there are many ways to escape the memories and history-denial, numbness.But that often means cutting off communication with what our bodies are saying to us. Sometimes the numbness is a small price to pay for not feeling what may be stored in our bodies. Sometimes the work of feeling again means going back into those old memories and working them out - sometimes they may not even be out memories, they may be part of the collective unconscious that for some reason is in storage in our bodies. Maybe for a while we can find somewhere safe, someone safe, to help us hold back the monster memories, but it is temporary. Because wherever we go, there we are: if our minds or our own bodies or our own histories scare us, the best way I know how to deal is to look directly at it and see what is inside. To incorporate, to invite in. To sit down with the monsters for a cup of tea. We cannot erase the past."

there are so many more topics and views to be discussed in this book. I will give you the time to discover it by yourself as this is the book you should give a go and experience to read by yourself. Whether you do agree or disagree, it does not matter. It helps you to understand that there are many things happen surround us which may be hard to explains through words but should be acknowledged. If you have read it, I would love to have a discussion with you.

Full review : https://literatureisliving.wordpress.com/2019/01/25/queering-sexual-violence-radical-voices-from-within-the-anti-violence-movement-by-jennifer-patterson/
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Thank you NetGalley and Riverdale Avenue Books for my ebook.

"This book is a vital text for anyone invested in movement when our own truths and communities are the key to creating strategies to prevent sexual violence, interrupt it when it happens, repair relationships harmed by sexual violence and create alternative forms of accountability when harm does happen, in order to inhabit a world in which all our lives matter."

I am a cisgender, straight female in a loving marriage who has never been touched by sexual violence.

"living without experiencing intimate violence is a privilege."

I found this eye opening and a little horrifying as I attempted to place myself in the shoes of each author. 

"Storytelling has always played an integral part in revolutionary movements---it is one of the essential places of power that we possess."

Yes, some of the chapters are harsh and gritty and difficult to read, but many of them are also emboldened and inviting and healing as well. 

"Because nobody talks about their shit in public. So I decided I would."

My favourite piece was: 
Now is the Time to Speak out by: Nitika Raj
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Content Notices: pretty much everything you can think of – rape, sexual violence, incest, child abuse, eating disorders, BDSM, institutional violence, suicide attempts, physical violence, racism, racialized violence, neglect, emotional abuse, domestic abuse 

Writing this review is incredibly hard because Queering Sexual Violence is such an important book which is packed full of queer people’s lived experiences of sexual violence. How do you even begin to rate and review a book which shares incredibly sensitive, emotional, powerful life experiences of which many of the contributors are sharing for the first time? It’s an almost impossible task and as such, I want to shift the focus of this review away from “reviewing” their stories and focus it instead on the anthology instead – what it’s about, why it’s so important, and my experience of reading the collection as a whole. 

“I do not see these aspects of my identity as separate, or separable. They do not exist as isolated truths. Each identity plays into and informs the other…” 

I want to start by saying that the importance of Queering Sexual Violence (QSV) should not be understated. As a queer, transmasculine person I have never seen myself reflected within anti-sexual violence discourses or welcomed into sexual survivor spaces and this is often the case for many fellow queer people who are constantly denied access too. QSV brings together a diverse collection of 37 contributions from queer, trans and gender non-conforming survivors from within the anti-violence movement and is organized around four themes; Redefining, Reclaiming, Resisting, Reimagining. It is a space in which they are able to speak, to share, to rage, to cry, to reflect, to organize, and to challenge dominant sexual violence discourse.

“In order to truly address the root causes of sexual violence and move forward… we must abandon the Victim/Survivor and Survivor/Perpetrator binaries. Maybe then we will be better able to embrace our own complex identities, create a truly anti-sexual violence framework… and sustain a powerful and inclusive movement” 

One of the main things that I loved about this anthology is that it disrupts so many of the harmful dichotomies which are entrenched within the anti-violence movement and sexual violence discourse such as victim/survivor, victim/perpetrator, male/female, safe/unsafe. Men are always framed as perpetrators of sexual violence, women always as the victims. As one contributor argues, these strict oppositional presentations oversimplify all of the complexities and nuances of individuals, relationships, narratives, and experiences, and which result in the perpetuation of violence against queer people. Abusive female partners are allowed to continue access to those that they have abused, even within “safe spaces”. Abused men are denied access from community support groups and organizing spaces, leaving them isolated and vulnerable to further abuse. People of colour are subjected to further racism and racialized violence, and trans people are left out in the cold with no resources despite both people of colour and trans people (especially QTIPOC) experiencing disproportionate amounts of sexual violence.

“And standing there, I asked myself: am I a Survivor? I had survived my battles – I was alive, after all – but she made it sound like this Survivor was someone in particular, someone unabashed, sweet, optimistic… someone with an obligation. And I knew I could never be that Survivor.” 

For the first time, I found myself being able to relate to some of the narratives told throughout this collection. As mentioned before, as a queer, transmasculine person I have been constantly denied access to survivor spaces and from entering into anti-violence discourses because men are always seen as perpetrators of violence and therefore are unsafe. Like many of the contributors, this has meant that I haven’t been allowed the space to share my experiences or even begin to process things that have happened to me in the past, yet countless abusive non-male identified people are welcomed into those spaces and allowed to continue enacting their abusive behaviors upon others. QSV is so, so, so important for not only disrupting these harmful attitudes but also for providing a space for queer people to actually see themselves reflected in the narratives being shared.

“We believe that offering this gender inclusive model of safe space is essential because what we are trying to exclude from a safe space is not a particular form of body… but rather, the potential, will, and habit to do violence in its many subtle and blatant forms”

It would be impossible to truly give an accurate picture of all the things that QSV offers in a way that would do it any kind of justice. All I can do is encourage you all to pick up the anthology, delve into the experiences being shared, and see for yourself. I was first approved for QSV on Netgalley almost a year ago and it took me a long while to work up to it because I was worried that it would be too heavy to read. Of course, the book does deal with very heavy topics including rape, sexual violence against children including parent/child rape, institutional violence, and suicide attempts to name but a few. However, I personally found it not as heavy to read due to the personal nature of many of the stories but there were a few that I did struggle with – especially those that gave graphic details, used ase-exclusive language, or focused heavily on BDSM.

Lastly, the reasons that I gave this anthology a 3.5-star rating rather than 5 stars is for the following reasons:

* Although QSV as a whole speaks of the importance of disrupting gendered discourse around sexual violence, I was very disappointed by the lack of representation of trans-masculine people. As far as I could work out 6 of the contributors were non-binary, 2 male-identified, and the other 29 works were by queer women (both cis and trans). Although it was amazing to see so many radical voices challenging the idea of men as perpetrators it was gutting that there weren’t any contributions that spoke to my experiences as a trans masculine person.

* As far as I’m aware, there wasn’t any inclusion of asexual or aromantic people are their experiences with sexual violence. In fact, several of the works spoke about the importance of consensual sex and/or BDSM practices for being able to work through a history of sexual violence. In one case, it was argued that sex is the only thing that can achieve that fully which I personally found to be very erasive of asexual people.

* Lastly, I loved that QSV is a collection which depicts multiple experiences, identities, and truths which is imperative for challenging discourses around the “right way” to experience and recover from sexual violence. However, I did find the anthology to be a little bit too long and found it difficult to keep going towards the end – simply because I ran out of steam. It would be a great collection to dip and out of though.

Regardless of these few niggly bits, I would really encourage others to read QSV and encourage others to read it to. The positives of the anthology definitely outweigh the negatives by far and QSV is a fantastic resource that should be utilized more both by people within and outside of radical movements. I will definitely be purchasing a physical copy to continue to refer back to, and am incredibly thankful to both the editor, contributors, and publisher for bringing this collection out into the world.
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If this book does anything, it points out that there is no one great truth but multiple small truths that are all equally valid and need to be considered as part of the over tapestry of human experience. By turns eyeopening and heart breaking, this collection of 37 essays needs to be read by more people. Speaking to experiences that many of us will not have encountered because we are not that race, gender, sexuality or culture this is an incredibly important book. Some of it is very difficult reading because guess what? humans are shitty to each other and this book attests to that. It was still an amazingly well put together book. Highly recommend.
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There are some fascinating and thought-provoking pieces in this important book. The book is a series of chapters, or articles, with multiple opinions and reflections on sexual violence alongside and in relation to queer (LGBTQQIAP2) identities. So there are unflinchingly honest pieces about sexual violence in queer relationships, but also how acts like sexual assault shaped their queer author's views, sexuality or actions. The contributors come from academia, or relevant professionals, as well as survivors themselves.  

I can't recall reading a book that has focused on queer people as survivors of sexual violence.  It's not always an easy read, as many have bravely detailed their own experiences and what shaped their thoughts. I think the best way to read this book is to read it a chapter or two at a time so that you can process what's been said properly. As someone who is a sexual violence survivor, I found this book inspiring and relatable. 

The only thing that stopped this from being a five-star review is that I can't say that I always 'enjoyed' it, which probably isn't the point with this sort of book.  It's also long, and my heart absolutely goes out to the author for having to decide what to include and what not to. I don't know how I'd have made that choice, so I can't criticise, but it is long. Overall, however, it's compelling and as broad in scope as the LGBTQQIAP2 community. It will certainly make you think and probably reconsider previously held views.
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I got an ARC of this book.

I got this book because I have noticed an alarming trend of sexual violence in the gay male community in the area I am in. I get death threats and threats of violence for being open about being a transman. I am told I am worthless and do not belong. I am excluded from pride events because of my status as trans by the organizers. I have reached out to queer groups in the area, only to be turned away again and again. Sexual violence in the norm for a transman in this area. So I was looking to this book to help me unpack my feelings and start to deal with not only my own experiences of being sexually abused growing up, being raped when I was a teenager, and the multiple times of being molested by partners, but also deal with the fact that I often feel alone and not believed when it comes to my experiences. I am told that what I experience is either completely fake or that I am exaggerating what it is really like to attempt to connect with other "queer" people here by the very community that claims to support me.

This book was able to touch on every single issue I had from the "I can't call this rape" feelings of my teenage years to "my mother didn't believe or care when I told her about grandpa" to "there are no services for someone that is queer like me to deal with this". This book is tremendously powerful just in the bravery it takes the queer people to put their names on the stories because of how queer people are treated when they are honest about experiencing sexual violence. The book covers a range of what sexual violence can be from what people view rape as to people who were clearly violated, but were unsure what to do or feel because of how their lives were. 

The stories are intensely personal and necessary. No one wants to believe these stories are possible, but they are. There was not a single moment where doubt went through my mind. That may be because of my own status as a "survivor" since it seems rare that someone is believed when it comes to sexual violence. I listen to how people talk about it in the jail where I volunteer. I work with kids who actively brag about how they will rape and kill someone or how they watched a girl get raped but how the guy doesn't deserve to be in jail because he is attractive. There is so much disconnect between what is happening and what people see. It scares me. It sickens me. This book touches on those feelings and took me further. 

The pieces range from the academic/theory of word choices (survivor vs victim) to graphic stories of abuse. It was just the right mixture. It allowed there to be logic and emotion. It allowed the book to feel alive and breathing. It allowed for all stages of healing to be represented. It allowed all ways of healing to be seen. Not everyone can afford therapy or find a therapist. Not everyone is allowed to have a community because of who the person was who attacked them. Not everyone has or wants to cut off ties with who committed the violence. Not everyone wants to admit that queer sexual violence in a thing. It is harder for people to admit that a man could be the victim and/or a woman could be the perpetrator. There is so much that people don't want to see or believe, that people are left behind and are being thrown away. This book covers it all. 

I can't say enough about this book.
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A powerful, sometimes difficult-to-read book, offering space for queer people to share their experiences of sexual violence. Hearing these voices is hard, but vitally important. Some chapters are raw, vulnerable, painful, powerful, hopeful ...
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This is one of those books that isn't easy to read but still important. We as a society are finally starting to address sexual violence, but LGBTQ sexual violence is still somewhat hushed and kept more silent. This book narrates the stories of those who have experienced sexual assault in order to bring light to this issue and prevent similar things from happening again. Both are much needed. That it is so hard to read just emphasizes how important it is to prevent sexual assault from happening and find more ways to protect LGBTQ individuals.

The only people I wouldn't recommend it to are people who are triggered by sexual assault. If so, this book might not be the healthiest book for you to read and I'd recommend taking serious caution before picking it up. But otherwise, even though this book is full of so much pain, it also spreads awareness for something that should be talked about more. It could also be cathartic for those who have gone through similar experiences, if you feel like such a thing could be helpful.
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While I'd expect this to read like an academic text, it didn't feel like it one bit. These writers lined and contextualized their narratives with history and statistics seamlessly. Reading this made it more personal and enjoyable.
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Note: I will use Queer as an umbrella term because that is the word I use to identify myself and because that is the word used throughout the book.

"Sometimes we forget things. We forget how limiting and exclusionary binaries are: male/female, victim/survivor, survivor/perpetrator, safe/unsafe. We forget about accountability. We forgetthat our queer partners can abuse us. We forget that even when we try to create "safe spaces", these spaces can be unsafe to members of our community."

Queering Sexual Violence is the kind of book I wish I'd had to guide me during the last couple of years of my undergrad. This book is a conversation, a dialogue, an exposition, an anthology of diverse voices who peel back layers upon layers of a topic we don't usually talk: Queer Violence.

The anthology focuses on different sides, binaries, and stereotypes that have plagued and hindered the Anti-Violence Movement, such as the idealization of the "survivor" (as opposed to a "victim"), the "correct" way of dealing with trauma and violence, the expected perpetrator, the conception of "safe spaces", and the place of queer people in the movement.

To do this, the book is divided into four parts, each of which explores and challenges different aspects of the Anti-Violence Movement. Redefining deals with the misconceptions and essentialization that limit the scope and reach of the movement, such as the "ideal" survivor behavior, the different types of sexual violence people encounter and how they might shape them. It also offers insights into how safe spaces for healing and acceptance are oftentimes not welcoming to people who act or look too "queer" to fit in with their views, even inside the queer community.

Reclaiming deals with what it takes to move on and work towards a collective and personal healing. Reclaiming is taking back the story and everything that's been taken from people, the control of a non-linear and faded narrative that people have tried to wipe clean with bleach and oil, but managed to only spread the pieces apart. This part of the anthology has beautiful poems and heartwrenching stories that have been pieced together with time, and tears, and patience. In a way, Reclaiming is healing.

Resisting is the "fight back" part, where "no means no" and pushing back in the face of rape culture and abuse, is exposed in way better words than I can even pretend to have. Resisting defines and paints a racist, homophobic, stupid, and power high culture that believes itself superior to everything else, and then tells us what needs to change, how we can and need to push back, resist, fight. 

Finally, Reimagining takes a look at the what ifs; not the "what if things were different" but "what if we made things different". The authors in Reimagining root their ideas in their past experiences to explain why and how certain aspects could and should be changed, fixed, improved. The tone of the writings starts oftentimes angry, or sad, but they turn back to hopeful, or optimistic in time.

I loved the intimacy of each writing, even though it was painful or shocking to read at times. I was informed, and even challenged by some of the points of views presented, and I learned a lot about other realities and problems to which I might have been blinded by stereotypes, willful ignorance, or just plain misunderstanding. I never felt like I was being spoon-fed ideas, or that the book was supposed to be taken passively. No, Jennifer Patterson framed this anthology in such an artful and careful way that everything builds up and moves you toward something. Maybe you're not supposed to just take what you're being shown, but you will see it. Invisibility is one of our community's (the queer community) biggest flaw and Jennifer Patterson, and every single talented person involved in this book is fighting against that virus. Yeah, we're there but we don't see beyond our "kin", we fight individual battles, pushing for things in a million and one directions because we still believe that we are a homogenous thing that is affected by the same one thing (spoiler: we are not).

This book will make you uncomfortable, it will challenge what you know and think, and feel because at its core this book wants you to think, to see: Why is this book so necessary? Why are we hearing this voices now and not before? Why is this so controversial? What about this makes you uncomfortable? What about this is familiar? Why did we stop listening?

These are the questions you need to ask and answer for yourself because Queering Sexual Violence is an invitation and a discussion that you need to have with yourself.

If not you, who?
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This was so hard to read, so triggering but also so important. I'm having a hard time giving a note to this book because how do you rate people's pain.
I've loved the diversity. I've loved that this is not full of numbers and statistics but full of real live's experience.
This book is very important and heartbreaking and eye-opening.
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4.5 Eye-opening Book Stars

TRIGGER WARNING: All of the triggers you can imagine (violation, homophobia, incest, eating disorders, depression, suicide attempts, sexual abuse, discrimination, etc), this is a non-fiction book so all of the situations described were and are lived in our real world. 

I am sorry- not really- this is a long-ass review, but so many thoughts I want to express.

Rating this book is one of the most difficult tasks I have had in my reading experience. I mean, how do I rate the tragic and heartbreaking experiences of fellow humans? Experiences that sometimes ruled their life. Which power do I have to give a 1 to 5-star rating to this book? So here is my explanation on why did I gave it a rating, I did rate this book because I feel it is a must-read book in society. Especially by politicians, doctors, social workers, activists, teachers, lawyers, psychologists and just everyone no matter our profession, religion, sexual orientation or nationality. I feel it needs recognition in the world and is a super underrated book at the moment. I rate not judging the testimonies of people, but the way this compilation was edited and presented to us if it actually implements the impact on society that wanted to have. 

I, as a Latino-American, pansexual, 18-year-old woman, cannot hundred percent related to this testimonies, because I have never suffered sexual violence, as rape. Yet, I have heard in my daily life, sexual innuendos that are offensive, sexual discrimination to the queer community, and verbal abuse from both strangers and acquaintances. Reading this book let me live sexual violence, through the eyes of humans from different genders, nationalities, sexualities that are usually overseen, opening my point of view. 

This book reminds us of the important fact that all humans can be subjects of sexual violence, without taking importance nowadays we tend to associate sexual violence only from a male to female, and is important to acknowledge that every human can be a subject of it. 

“None of us are immune to experience violence, perpetrating violence or to knowing of and not responding to violence”

Is a book that speaks multiple truths, multiple perspectives, and it doesn’t indicate if one is correct and the other is wrong. It lets us be free of deciding which perspective we find more in sync towards our way of thinking. One of the biggest examples is the stereotype of queer people “turning queer due to sexual abuse”. In this book, we encounter a person acknowledging that their abuse was somehow a cause for them not to be heterosexually attracted anymore, while another perspective tells us that their abuse has nothing to do with their sexuality or gender preference. But more importantly, it demonstrates, that each of us has their own truth and that is important to speak out and discuss with the world.

“I am not a lesbian because I was molested and raped. I am a lesbian because I’m emotionally/ physically/ sexually attracted to and love women”

It discusses the terms victim and survivor and invites to a very important debate. I never imagined people who were sexually violated sometimes felt they did not fit in in the “normal conception” of someone who was sexually assaulted. Yet, this book opened my eyes to new perspectives. There are quotes that not only apply to a queer sexual survivor, but they speak universal truths. It is not afraid as well to say that even the LGBTQIA+ community is sometimes perpetrators of this violence by not understanding. 

“Victim or Survivor identity are not mutually exclusive after all; shame and pride, weakness and strength, vulnerability and courage can coexist within one person”

There are so much more topics and views discussed, but I will give you the option to discover by yourself because it is a book you should definitely give it a try. No matter if you disagree or agree, it just makes you understand there are many untold or oblivion perspectives in our communities that should be acknowledged. 

If you read it, I would love to discuss with you.
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Queering sexual violence is a collection of essays,  written by members of the LGBT+ (queer) community,  that seek to challenge current ideas of;  sexual identity,  sex, sexual violence, and the current structure of society.  Each essay, in its own unique way, speaks of the ways that certain individuals are excluded from both; the mechanisms in place to help survivors of sexual abuse, and the theoretical framework that support these organisations. They speak, poignantly, of; their experiences of violence, the effects of that violence on their lives, their attempts to seek help, the battles to have their pain acknowledged, and the ways that they have found their own unique path to healing. 

The writers challenge the way in which we see certain issues and the ways that these issues interact; uncoupling some concepts while highlighting the connection between others.    Those who survived sexual abuse firmly state that, while their experiences have shaped their life and sexual choices, they choice of sexuality cannot be wholly explained by their childhood experience of violence.  Other writers seek to force the readers to see connections between violence to the individual body and the violence that we inflict on, both; the wider society and the planet that we all share. 

This work is a valuable addition to both; the activism and theory surrounding sexual violence, queering, and extending their scope to include more stories and more ways of seeing the world.  Moreover, while being an academic work, the general reader would have no difficulty understanding, and being moved by this work.
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This anthology is so important, progressive, and motivating.

It’s activism in the form of art.

Do I bother to include a content warning? These stories are VERY real, heavy, and could be triggering …but the intent is to heal. This is more therapeutic than anything.

I honestly want to thank the editor and publishers for putting this together and giving these survivors a platform. It has this strange sort of affect that makes the reader’s voice feel more valuable too; that speaking about your own experiences doesn’t have to be shameful. You don’t have to be a silent victim. And if you aren’t ready to speak, these writers will do so for you.

As for those who have never suffered abuse, there is still plenty of knowledge to gain here.

Empowering read. Books like this bring faith in humanity.

Anyways, the voices that matter the most are in this book, so stop reading this review, get yourself a copy, and listen.
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I was given an ARC of Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement through Netgalley. All opinions are my own. Because of the nature of the topic, there are many trigger warnings. These include incest, child molestation, rape, murder, suicide, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and graphic descriptions of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual and financial). 

I'll be honest, I put off reading this book. I don't know why, but I got the impression that it would be a highly academic and theoretical approach to an extremely important and sensitive topic. I tend to think I'll enjoy queer theory, forgetting that whilst the queer bit interests me, the theory doesn't tend to. However, that is...not what this book is. Queering Sexual Violence is, instead, a highly personal book. Many of the essays talk about very private thoughts and feelings. It made me feel so privileged, as these writers were trusting me with their stories. Although some essays were academic, because of the personal elements, they didn't feel like that at all. 

On a personal note, I was also nervous about reading this book because I have experienced sexual and emotional violence from a queer woman. This is something that I've talked a bit about before on my blog, so I won't go into it here. However, I will say that I was worried because I have never read anything that mirrored my experience. As many of the writers in Queering Sexual Violence say, people automatically assume that my abuse had to be from a man, because that's who abusers 'are'. I did not have access to gender-neutral, let alone queered, information or therapy, and I desperately wanted this book to finally allow my experiences to be portrayed and validated. It did. 

The book is split into four sections: Redefining, Reclaiming, Resisting and Reimagining. I thought that this was a clever way of structuring it - I often find that anthologies of essays often aren't structured particularly well, and this was a nice surprise. Obviously, it is difficult to categorise every single essay, so some didn't quite fit in their official category. This didn't bother me too much, though. 

There are too many essays for me to discuss here, so I'm just going to mention some of the topics that particularly interested me. There were a couple essays that talked about the dichotomy between victim and survivor. A victim is seen as someone weak, who did not fight back, whereas a survivor is seen as almost the opposite of that. A survivor runs marathons to raise money, they speak about their experiences, and they fought against their abuser. (Both are almost always depicted as all straight white able women.) However, many of the essays talk about how it isn't as simple as that. Some people don't fit into the survivor mould - but this doesn't make them victims. As well, perpetrators and survivors are not clearly distinct categories - sometimes survivors are also perpetrators of violence. 

There was also a lot of discussion of the idea that the experience of violence makes people queer. Some of the essays broke down this statement, saying how their experiences of abuse played no part in their sexuality, whilst others discussed how these experiences did indeed play a part in their sexual or gender identity. Everyone's experiences are valid in this anthology. There were also some essays by trans and non-binary authors, who talk about how they fit into survivor groups, which are often labelled as 'women only'. Finally, there were a couple of essays that talked about how sex, and particularly BDSM, has helped the writers come to terms with their experiences, and how yes, some people are drawn to BDSM because of their abuse, but this does not mean that everyone who practices BDSM has been abused. 

I would encourage all those who can read Queering Sexual Violence to do so. As a survivor, I found my experiences being discussed and validated for the first time in my life. And because of the myriad of voices and experiences in this anthology, I learned so much about queer spaces - both the good, and the bad. This is a topic that I have never read about, or indeed seen queer people talk about, and I applaud all the writers for tackling such an important topic.
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This was difficult to read at times but illuminating! Such lived experience around queer sexual violence is crucial! As a social worker, I look forward to incorporating these insights.
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