How Bad it Actually Is

Submitted By:
Nidhi Pardue McVicar, The Overlake School, Seattle, WA

Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture by Roxane Gay (Ed.)
HarperCollins Publishers, May 1, 2018

Educators spend a great deal of resources examining school cultures: the culture of students, faculty, even leadership. But the phrase “rape culture” is not often mentioned in the independent school vernacular. All around us, stories of sexual violence dominate the news cycle, and the ease with which the dialogue normalizes misconduct and assault embeds them in our collective culture. As such, the stories in the provocative anthology Not That Bad have relevance for all educators, regardless of the genders or ages of our students. Editor Roxane Gay has compiled a set of essays addressing issues of consent, power structures, and the ever-present concept of “the good girl.” Each story could serve as the beginning of important conversations about what we do (and don’t) teach our students about their roles and behaviors. The wide-ranging stories all reveal the systematic establishment of a deeply flawed spectrum of judgment about sexual violence and the need to move away from “not that bad” to “this is how bad it actually is.” This book is a difficult but necessary read for any educator who wants to fully understand a part of the culture that many might rather ignore.

Gender & Sexual Identity
Student Wellness & Safety