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Asking for It summary

Kate Harding

The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture – and What We Can Do about It

4.1 (19 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

"Asking for It" by Kate Harding explores the rape culture in America and how society blames victims for sexual assault. It questions why the responsibility of preventing rape falls on victims rather than the perpetrators. A powerful read that challenges societal norms.

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    Asking for It
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    Rape victims are often blamed for their own assault.

    Imagine you heard the following statement in court: “Like a spider, she drew him into her web.” What kind of criminal do you think that would describe? A murderer? A con artist? No, an attorney once said this of an 11-year-old girl when he tried to defend the man who had raped her.

    Unfortunately, that sort of argument often prevails both in the courtroom and society at large. Victims of rape are often slut-shamed as though they’ve invited the crime on themselves.

    In this particular case, which happened in Cleveland, Texas in 2010, the 11-year-old girl wasn’t only raped by one man. She was repeatedly gang raped by several men. The offenders returned to her several times.

    You might think this would be a clear-cut case in which the men were quickly convicted. But it wasn’t, because the girl was audacious enough to wear makeup. Even worse, she was Latina.

    Tragically, these factors were twisted and used to blame her. And this sort of thinking isn’t limited to defense attorneys.

    In rape cases, the perpetrators are often painted as victims. When James McKinley wrote about the Cleveland gang rape in the New York Times, he noted that much of the community was shocked by the case, but not by the tragedy of what happened to the girl. They were shocked that the men had been “seduced” into such behavior. There was a lot of concern about the case affecting the men for the rest of their lives.

    Those attitudes might seem absurd, but they didn’t appear in a vacuum. They’re the product of the culture we live in. Rape culture blames victims, exonerates rapists and normalizes sexual abuse.

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    What is Asking for It about?

    Asking for It (2015) is about rape culture, the social and cultural practices that normalize rape by diminishing the experiences of victims and vindicating perpetrators. These blinks outline the various manifestations and effects of rape culture, and the steps we can take to dismantle it.

    Asking for It Review

    Asking for It (2015) by Kate Harding is an eye-opening exploration of rape culture and the complexities surrounding sexual assault. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • With its in-depth analysis of societal attitudes and behaviors, it sheds light on the pressing issue of sexual violence and encourages important conversations.
    • By sharing real-life stories and personal experiences, the book humanizes victims and challenges the misconceptions surrounding consent, victim-blaming, and justice.
    • Harding's thought-provoking perspective and thorough research make this book an essential resource for understanding and dismantling rape culture.

    Best quote from Asking for It

    From time immemorial the rule has been not to punish the male offender, but to get the victim out of his way. – Susan B. Anthony, 1896.

    —Kate Harding
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    Who should read Asking for It?

    • Anyone whose life has been affected by sexual violence
    • Romantic partners looking to understand more about consensual sex
    • Policy makers and sex educators

    About the Author

    Kate Harding is an author and columnist who specializes in issues surrounding violence against women and the cultural negativity regarding women’s bodies. She has contributed to The Book of Jezebel and DAME Magazine and coauthored Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere.

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    Asking for It FAQs 

    What is the main message of Asking for It?

    The main message of Asking for It is a powerful exploration of rape culture and victim blaming.

    How long does it take to read Asking for It?

    The reading time for Asking for It varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Asking for It a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Asking for It is a thought-provoking and eye-opening book that sheds light on important societal issues. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Asking for It?

    Kate Harding is the author of Asking for It.

    What to read after Asking for It?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Asking for It, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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