Light of Day is a thorough social science study about the pervasiveness of sexualized violence.
In her timely social science study Light of Day, Janet A. McDonald challenges everyone to reconsider what they think they know about sexual violence.
Sexualized assault is a complicated, controversial, and ubiquitous subject. McDonald tackles it from many angles, covering the various forms sexual violence can take, how abusers think, and social and cultural elements like normalized misogyny and harassment that help abusers. Real-life examples are used to illustrate patterns of abuse and to suggest potential preventative and remedial measures. In the end, the book views it as everyone’s responsibility to protect themselves and others from becoming offenders, enablers, or targets.
From Bill Clinton to Harvey Weinstein, Light of Day breaks down the hows and whys behind many high-profile cases of sexual violence. Historical examples demonstrate how long these problems have persisted, while modern examples show how much work remains to be done to prevent future crises. This use of well-known events makes the broad, difficult topic easier to understand.
In addition to discussing and analyzing sexual violence, the book outlines specific action items that abuse victims, their loved ones, law enforcement officials, and others can take to create safer, healthier environments at home, work, school, and so forth. Links to outside sources and an extensive bibliography offer further reading for those who need additional help or who wish to learn more.
The book keeps its focus on Canada and the United States. This allows for an in-depth exploration of sexualized assault—and the faulty judicial systems that allow abuse to thrive—in the two countries. Special attention is paid to problems faced by First Nations and native populations, who are at greater risk of suffering such assaults than the general population. While the majority of the book discusses male offenders and female targets, it is careful to acknowledge that anyone, regardless of gender, can offend, enable others to offend, and/or be a target.
Light of Day is well researched, but not always well organized. The citation of a book by Bill O’Reilly, with no mention of the sexual harassment allegations leveled against him, is jarring. Ideas appear suddenly with no relevance to the preceding discussion or the chapter’s theme. Coverage of examples is uneven, with some subjects receiving lengthy explorations and others receiving only a short paragraph that omits clarifying details. Unusual page layouts and comma placements cause occasional confusion. These factors limit the book’s accessibility.
Light of Day is a thorough social science study about the pervasiveness of sexualized violence and the actions that everyone can and must take to create a better, safer world.
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