Asking For It
Author: Louise O’Neill
Publication Date: 4/5/2016
Emma O’Donovan is eighteen, beautiful, and fearless. It’s the beginning of summer in a quiet Irish town and tonight she and her friends have dressed to impress. Everyone is at the big party, but all eyes are on Emma.
The next morning Emma’s parents discover her in a heap on the doorstop of their home, unconscious. She is disheveled, bleeding, and disoriented, looking as if she had been dumped there in a hurry. She remembers nothing from the party.
That day several devastating photos from the party are posted online and go viral, eventually launching a criminal investigation and sending the community into tumult. The media descends, neighbors chose sides, and people from all over the world want to talk about her story. Everyone has something to say about Emma, whose life has been changed forever by an unthinkable and all-too-common act of sexual violence, but all she wants is to disappear.
Wow. This book. It was infuriating, frustrating, heartbreaking, and so so so true.
I have never understood victim blaming. I guess I’m the type of person that finds it so easy to believe the worst in people so even if the most good looking, community helping jock is accused of rape, I’m going to believe that he’s capable. To call a woman a slut/whore for what she wears seems so backwards to me. Oh yes, she wore a short skirt, she definitely is asking for you to rape her. But even though I don’t understand people’s backward logic, I’m not naive enough to think that everyone thinks the way I do and that’s a shame. A crime really.
Asking For It is such an important book. And it delivers it’s message in such an unorthodox way. You see, I hate Emma. I think she’s a stuck up snob who only gets enjoyment if people notice her. If they aren’t looking at her then there’s something wrong. Yet even though I hated her, I mourned for her. Her world gets changed upside down in the most horrific, gruesome way. She won’t ever heal from these acts. How can she when everyone around her believes it to be through some fault of her own that this rape has occurred. I had the sickest feeling in my gut the entire way through the last half of the book only to turn the last page and feel such profound emptiness. I still feel it. I just want to break down and cry for this fictional character who represents way too many innocent individuals who have been told that they are guilty.
I will be saving this book. I will give it to my daughter, and then to my son. I will make sure they know about it’s subject. I will make sure they know where I stand.