The books presented here were written with different purposes and in different contexts. Some contain clinical guidance for professionals or self-help information for individuals. Some are about contemporary activism against sexual assault and harassment, some are about historical events, while others offer suggestions for policy and cultural change, and some are academic books from fields such as media studies, literature, and law.
Several are autobiographical or fictional accounts of experiencing sexual assault or abuse. The selection here is drawn from various time periods and cultural contexts. Writing about and reading about these themes can be complicated. Writing about any kind of violence or traumatic experience recreates and passes on the experience to readers, and can be difficult and (re-)traumatizing to read. The existence of both fictional and autobiographical accounts also gives light to these experiences and voice to people who have experienced them.
In an analysis of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, scholar Proma Tagore argues that visceral and emotional reader reactions lead to "the potential for historical and individual silencings to enter into a realm where they may be collectively acknowledged, reworked, and, ultimately, transformed in ethically – and politically – actionable ways" (26). That is, sharing stories is complicated and can be painful, and can also be powerful and constructive, and lead to change.
Tagore, Proma. Shapes of Silence : Writing by Women of Colour and the Politics of Testimony, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/caldwell/detail.action?docID=3332155.
This guide was updated in 2022 by Christina Getaz.