Rape Culture: Honor Code

Sam knows how lucky she is to be part of the elite Edwards Academy. As she dreams of getting into Harvard one day, she’s willing to do anything to fit in and excel at the private high school. Even if that means enduring hazing, signing up for a sport she hates, and attending the school dance with an upperclassman she barely knows.

But when she learns the high cost of entry, will Sam be willing to bury the worst night of her life in order to “keep the community sacred”? As the line between truth and justice blurs, Sam must find out for herself what honor really means.

5 stars *****

I first heard about this book on Twitter from another book blogger I follow and felt this was a subject that needed to be written and read about more often. Honor Code expresses in so many ways the ways rape is perpetuated by both men and women. As a realistic fiction novel it touches a subject that is difficult to handle with the thoughtfulness it needs. This book shows how lies and bullying are carried out and that the people who are supposed to protect us don’t always do so. How rape does not end with the physical act but can continue. We pick people to blame and make an already tough situation worse with disbelief or the assumptions that others have made. The writing was raw and in ways unrefined but had a flow and grip that didn’t allow the reader to stop reading.

Some of the lines were completely heart wrenching, making you realize how much we perpetuate this level of disbelief in our society. There are so many lessons about people and society that can be taken from this book and I think that is a large part of why a person could find the book hard to read, so much thrown at you so quickly when you could use another 300 pages to express everything. The only downside of this book was the fact it could have been longer so we could have been given a better understanding of the mindsets of the characters. Sam had so much hidden throughout the book and almost everyone else played a bit role where I would have liked to see more.

I could see this becoming required high school reading and would wholeheartedly support that. On the surface this is just a book about rape and it’s aftermath (though you can’t say just rape). At its heart it is a story of how a society, in this case a boarding school, can fail us all when it is supposed to protect and embrace us. The school’s code of honor alone points out to the wary the shortfalls of this world.

We will confront each other directly when we have problems
We will respect each other even when we cannot agree.
We will stand by each other. We will be our own wall, our own defense.
We vow to keep each other accountable, because we have no one else.
Keep this community sacred.

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