What would happen if we believed women? A groundbreaking anthology offers a potent rallying cry and theory of change
Harvey Weinstein. Brett Kavanaugh. Jeffrey Epstein. Donald Trump. The most infamous abusers in modern American history are being outed as women speak up to publicly expose behavior that was previously only whispered about -- and it's both making an impact, and sparking a backlash. From the leading, agenda-setting feminist editors of Yes Means Yes, Believe Me brings readers into the evolving landscape of the movement against sexual violence, and outlines how trusting women is the critical foundation for future progress.
In Believe Me, contributors ask and answer the crucial question: What would happen if we didn't just believe women, but acted as though they matter? If we take women's experiences of online harassment seriously, it will transform the internet. If we listen to and center survivors, we could revolutionize our systems of justice. If we believe Black women when they talk about pain, we will save countless lives.
With contributions from many of the most important voices in feminism today, Believe Me is an essential roadmap for the #MeToo era and beyond.
In this urgent essay collection, feminist activists Valenti and Friedman (Yes Means Yes!) bring together a diverse range of contributors to address the backlash to the #MeToo movement and make the case for "a simple but radical trust in women." Noting that the Polaroid camera helped to decrease domestic violence rates by providing victims with immediate and tangible proof to take to police, Valenti argues that the internet is enacting a "cultural shift" around sexual abuse by allowing women to share and affirm their personal experiences. Moira Donegan, creator of the Shitty Media Men list, contends that Sigmund Freud's disavowal of his initial findings on the links between hysteria and widespread sexual abuse set the template for the public's reaction to rape accusations. Slate editor Dahlia Lithwick describes the dueling congressional testimonies of Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, while Rolling Stone writer Jamil Smith explores intersections between rape culture and racism in the outing of Bill Cosby as a serial rapist. Many contributors, including Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, note the importance of not just believing abuse survivors, but achieving credible justice for them as well. Consistently well-written and soundly reasoned, these essays persuasively cast the tendency to doubt women as one of America's greatest social ills. This illuminating call to action deserves a wide readership.