Long Reads: First hand sexual abuse, the horrors of a miscarriage and Jihadist motivators

Happy Sunday, Long Readers! Richard Jackson has dug up pieces that tackle the viciousness of sexual abuse, miscarriage, and the pastimes in Jihadi culture.


Being a girl: A brief personal history of violence – Anne Theriault (The Belle Jar)

The author recounts a history of gendered violence against her, dating back to the age of six. The matter-of-fact, diary style of writing adds a sharper, horribly relatable edge to the perverseness of male actions towards her.

Unpregnant: The silent secret grief of miscarriage – Alexandra Kimball (The Globe and Mail)

What struck me the most was one single line – “I hadn’t realized that a pregnancy could end so quietly, without any bleeding or pain.” The sense of loss that Kimball felt for her unborn child is acutely rendered in the article, where she wanders from room to room in order to keep her mind off her grief.

There is also, as the writer addresses, an interesting link to abortion:

“The more I considered it, the more I became convinced that the silence around miscarriage was connected to feminism’s work around abortion. How could I grieve a thing that didn’t exist? If a fetus is not meaningfully alive, if it is just a collection of cells – the cornerstone claim of the pro-choice movement – what does it mean to miscarry one?”

The ties that bind Jihadists – Ursula Lindsey (The Chronicle)

It’s very easy to demonise Jihadists as inhuman monsters. We recoil in horror at the actions of ISIS. They are unmistakably the bad guys, a one-dimensional cut-out. We only see the violent acts they commit, via the media coverage we are fed, but what is unseen is the community that keeps them together.

The article focuses on a collective of scholars who have endeavoured to fill in the West’s knowledge gaps of Jihadi culture. They’ve made an effort to find out what they do when they’re not fighting and what motivates them to join the cause.




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