cover image Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World

Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World

Edited by Jessica Valenti and Jaclyn Friedman. Seal, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-58005-879-7

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. [em](Jan.) [/em]