8 Novels and Plays You Forgot Talk About Sexual Assault

Consent and assault can be a tricky things to understand, especially when you're raised in a coercive culture. See how many of these great protagonists you forgot or misunderstood and then forward this to a friend so that they remember the importance of stories from every day rape culture to every day as a survivor.


1. Pamela by Samuel Richardson

Published in 1740.

A problematic, epistolary novel that reminds you to believe the victim.


2. Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind

Written in 1890.

Adapted by Steven Sater in 2006.

No matter how the actors play it, never forget that Wendla did not consent and that though Martha and Ilse may not have been the main characters, they too knew the dark well. 


3. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Published in 1951.

Do you remember when Holden told the reader that the reason he hasn't lost his virginity is that he stops when girls tell him to? "Most guys don't. I can't help it."


4. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Published in 1999

Adapted into a film in 2012.

Can you remember which three characters are sexual assault survivors?


6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Published in 2007

Adapted into a series in 2017.

It's sexual assault if they're unconscious. It's sexual assault if they're too drunk to consent. It's sexual assault if they say no. It's sexual assault if they don't say yes. You may need to rewatch tapes 6, 9, 12, and 13.


7. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

Published in 2008

Adapted into a film in 2013.

Sutter may not have been right for Aimee, but at least he knows sexual assault when he sees it.


8. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Published in 2013

Remember that coercion is not consent.


9. Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

Published in 2013.

A gentle reminder that bystanders have power.