It has been a while since I have highlighted the books I am reading on the site. I have a number I blame to focus on, but the one that stands out as the most important. The book that needs to be not only read by all, but discussed by everyone is: Una's Becoming Unbecoming.
This is a book I stumbled across in the Madison Public Library's new aquisitions list and instantly added myself in the queue. When it finally showed up in my hold section of the library, I vaguely remember it being about the Yorkshire Ripper (who killed 13 women). What I was in store for was a woman's personal account of sexual violence.
Una weaves her own experience of rape, gender violence, blame, and shame with the accounts of the Yorkshire Ripper - a killer who terrorized Yorkshire (a county in Northern England) during the same time. The police, the media, and the society around Una found ways to blame the victims of the Ripper, which is a story many women know well. The blame builds up. These women had loose morals, they drank, they should not have been out at that time. If only the police cared to take a teenage girl's account seriously, they would have understood the greater issues at large. The issues that Una experienced -predatory older men, men who think they are entitled to whatever they want, a society where male violence goes unpunished and even unquestioned, a world where women are still shamed and called "sluts" and shamed for their actions or actions thrusted upon them - are far too common and a cycle that continues today.
If you read any graphic novel this year, please make it Becoming Unbecoming. Society has a role to play in every story of rape. We should be supporting the victims, educating men on how to respect women, and advocating for change.
As you can see in the pages I selected from Becoming Unbecoming, this book is filled with pain, emotion, shame, questions regarding justice, and so forth that Una explores in her work. It is powerful. It is thought-provoking. Read it and keep the conversation going.