As more and more women have stepped forward to share stories of harassment, assault and rape, their mostly male perpetrators have largely remained silent. Author Jeannie Vanasco found one willing to talk: the man who raped her when she was 19 years old, who agreed to go on record about what happened and why. In her memoir Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl, Vanasco documents their telephone conversations and eventual meeting, making for a fascinating look inside the mind, and heart, of an abuser. Crucially, though, Vanasco draws the reader into her own process, anxieties, insecurities and need to please—and in doing so, illustrates why it’s still so difficult to have a dialogue around sexual assault.
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