Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti — the editors who brought you the groundbreaking anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape — are seeking submissions for a new book.
Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World will ask and answer a question that will change the way we think about sexual violence: What if we believed women?
We are close to a tipping point on trusting women: the explosion of activism inspired by #metoo is just the latest evidence. What Americans need now is to be pushed over the edge.
The need has never been more urgent. In part because of the progress women have made and are poised to make, we’re living in an age of profound backlash. An unrepentant misogynist, accused many times over of sexual harassment and assault, is our president. The Department of Education is consulting “men’s rights” groups, once rightly seen as the dangerous fringe, as they form education policy around rape. Online harassment is a scourge; misogynists are more emboldened than ever.
While Believe Me will be focused primarily on sexual assault, we are also looking for essays that take the premise and apply it broadly, including (but not at all limited to):
- How race, gender identity, and class impact what kinds of women are believed and how they’re treated.
- How conservative women have co-opted feminism and its tenets to ‘believe women’ in order to roll back women’s rights
- How believing women about their own experience of themselves could transform the fight for trans rights and specifically reduce violence against trans women.
- A vision of masculinity that isn’t defined by power over women.
- How white women’s “believability” has harmed communities of color — in particular men of color accused of violence against white women
- The inherent misogyny of white supremacists and the inherent white supremacy of misogynists.
- What it’s like to not believe yourself about your own experience of sexual violence, and how we can help survivors overcome that internalized disbelief.
- How male victims of sexual violence deal with additional stigmas, including the fear of being feminized
- The link between the rise of marginalized voices on social media and online harassment, and the disinformation campaigns that have radically undermined democracy here in the U.S.
- The many connections between violence against women and our inhumane immigration policies
- How listening to women could change the way we think about justice and consequences for rapists
Essays will be between 2000 and 3000 words. To submit, please email a short pitch (NOT a complete essay) about what you’d like to write, along with two clips of previous pieces (they don’t have to be published, we’d just like a sense of your writing) to believeme2019 at gmail dot com. All contributors will be paid. The deadline for submissions is September 1.