An Urgent, Freely Downloadable Ebook In The Wake of #MeToo
Verso Books -the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world - published a report titled ‘Where Freedom Starts: Sex Power Violence #MeToo’
Once £5.99, Versos ebook is available for free on the publisher's website; in the wake of MeToo, the publishers decided to make it available for anyone with an internet connection. Including pieces by Tarana Burke and Elizabeth Adetiba, Lauren Berlant, Tithi Bhattacharya, Stephanie Coontz and Hope Reese, Estelle Freedman and so many more names, the book is an essential read for anyone interested in the social and political impact of #MeToo, as well as anyone searching the answers for key questions such as ‘How do we define violence? How do we discuss and experience sex?’ And so on.
The 18 chapters cover everything from a Tarana Burke interview and the politics of sexual harassment to the battle to define rape and how #MeToo may have gone too far but not far enough.
I personally own this ebook and from the opening quote “The hour is devoted to revenge.” —Louise Bourgeois, I am hooked; bringing attention Linda Gordon’s speech in 1981 in which sexual harassment was the focus alongside the feminist actions it took to get there, the book goes on to a 'false narrative of shock’ caused by #MeToo and also the language of sexual violence. When I say language I don’t just mean verbal or body but the language of politics and legal justice.
Some of the writings in this book are new, some have been revisited through the lens of current day but what I can say about all of them is they are all informative and passionate and despite me not thinking any of my opinions surrounding various facets of #MeToo would change I feel like a cloth I wasn’t even aware of has been lifted. For instance the fact that we focus on the individual perpetrator rather than the whole ideology of power and privilege; yes it is vital to point out those like Harvey Weinstein who abuse not only their position but those around them but it’s also essential to look around and realise that that individual is but a grain of sand in the desert of assault, rape and abuse.
Come chapter 7 - The Politics of Sexual Harassment - Linda Gordon goes on to say,
“A major part of eliminating sexual harassment is making it safe for victims of harassment to complain, and the #MeToo movement is a step toward that end. The feminist strategy should focus not only on punishing offenders but also on protecting complainants from retaliation. Vindictive employers and career gatekeepers who retaliate, cover up, or issue big money settlements with non-disclosure clauses are comparable to the Catholic hierarchy who shield child abusers. We need to target these enablers as well as the harassers.” (Pg 108-109)
Where Freedom Starts: Sex Power Violence #MeToo’ is a book you can put down and come back to due to the multiple contributors but why would you want to? It's important to educate yourself about movements such as #MeToo and with free resources like this what do you have to lose?
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