“Wrecked” questions campus rape culture


Hannah Maes, Arts and Rec Editor

As college students, our world is saturated with the possibility of sexual assault. Every week, students seem to be receiving emails about assaults on campus. Although most of us push it aside and choose not to dwell on the ‘what ifs’, author Maria Padian chooses the opposite: she takes the issue head on in her novel “Wrecked.”

Padian is able to take a complicated, real-life situation and boil it down to a single girl’s story. “Wrecked” follows a quiet, mousy freshman girl named Jenny as she deals with the aftermath of being raped. Along with the traumatic experience, Jenny faces the struggle that many people, including friends and family, would rather sweep her story under the rug than deal with it.

Jenny goes to a party one night expecting a fun night out with friends. Little did she know how bad a good situation can turn. A couple days after the party, she accuses Jordan, a sophomore, of raping her when she was too intoxicated to give consent. Soon after she comes forward, other students start to get anxious about the role they played in the events leading up to her assault. The university is split between blaming Jenny and supporting her. The college is hesitant to publicize the situation and takes a long time to take any action against Jenny’s rapist, leading to frustrations on both sides.

Two different narrators tell the story. Haley, Jenny’s roommate and Richard, Jordan’s roommate are each on opposite sides of the situation and with different perspectives on what actually happened that night. Neither can be sure of what really happened. They hear different accounts of the party from students all around campus, and only realize how serious the incident was when it’s too late. Everyone is wondering the same thing: who really raped Jenny, and was it really rape or just a simple misunderstanding?

Padian isn’t a traditional fiction writer. She takes on the challenge of tackling real-life scenarios and provides several view-points on a topic many people are reluctant to talk about. She analyzes the complications with consent and how both men and women define rape.

Padian questions the way colleges investigate rape cases and how difficult it is for victims of sexual assault to find closure or feel safe when their universities are disinclined towards action.This 357-paged novel is a refreshing look on a subject many of us are unfortunately all too aware of.It keeps the reader enthralled and curious until the very end. The ending remains vague about what actually happened that night, leaving the reader to make up their own mind about what constitutes as rape. This book is an easy read for any college student looking for an enlightening, emotional and relatable story.