Take It As A Compliment
Writting and Art by Maria Stoian
Publisher: Singing Dragon
Before I move onto the conversation, I would like to say that even though I will try, some triggering material might sieve through, I will do my best, and I will not include any images from the graphic novel. This is a trigger warning, as this book deals with sexual harassment, rape, and other types of abuse.
Despite the title, this is not a book advocating for men and women to take sexual assault as a compliment, instead it shows very clearly that any form of putting undesired hands on someone else is a crime, and should be treated as one. It is a form of fighting the rape culture placed upon us, and why we should all join to destroy it. It might be their story now, but it could soon be ours. Statistically, it is possible, and I want to avoid other people going through similar circumstances. This is a way for the conversation to continue, and it NEEDS to continue.
“We’re that generation raised on social media and Law & Order SVU reruns, dont be that person who goes to college & doesnt understand consent“
These are the stories of men and women, some given during interviews or anonymously online, that have suffered different forms of sexual abuse, and it is illustrated by Maria Stoian in a way that shows how something like that can affect, not only people’s perception of reality, but their day to day life, and how much support, care, and love, they deserve and need, instead of being asked : “what were you wearing?“, “but did you stop them?“, “if it was serious you would’ve said something sooner?“.
This comic gives a voice to those that are often treated by authority figures, friends, and family, as voiceless, a platform to speak and communicate, not only with people with similar experiences, but people that need to know this is happening and needs to be stopped.
Her art style varies from story to story, showing us the differences between the encounters, and how it stays with people long after it is gone. It is almost as if to show that each attack is different, as is their voice. There are images of a woman being touched by men on a train, and how when their hands go under her skirt they change colour to represent her disgust; the image of a woman who suffered physical abuse, and instead of being shown the act as it happens, we are shown the afterwards, with her having a hand print on her face as she goes on with her daily routine. Both are raw and disturbing.
This is an important book, it is straight to the point, has people that are individuals, but at the same time make us feel a sense of neutrality, as if we could be them, and uses strong imagery to demonstrate the effects of such crimes. A must read for everyone.
Here are some posts by Everyday Feminism about Sexual Assault that you might want to read:
-Here’s the Perfect Metaphor for Why Victim-Blaming Is Completely Ridiculous.
-5 Reasons Why I Identify As a Rape Victim, Not a Rape Survivor.
-‘Should I Report My Rape?’ 5 Questions to Help You Decide.