According to the Center for Disease Control and RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), one in five women have experienced completed or attempted rape, and about three percent of American men—or one in thirty-three—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Most victims first experienced sexual violence before age twenty-five. Statistics, however, only paint part of the picture, as most victims do not share or report these crimes to their family, friends, or the police.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an annual nationwide campaign started by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center that advocates public awareness of sexual assault and prevention. We at Beacon Press publish books about survivors of rape and sexual violence who have been shaped, but refuse to be defined, by their histories of violence. These very books also provide resources for survivors to get help, get engaged, and get creative in the fight to end sexual violence.
Raymond Douglas’s On Being Raped
When Raymond M. Douglas was an eighteen-year-old living in Europe, he was brutally raped by a Catholic priest. In On Being Raped, Douglas recounts this painful event and opens an important dialogue about male rape and what needs to be done to provide adequate services and support for victims.
Anne K. Ream’s Lived Through This
Part personal history of Anne Ream’s own experience rebuilding her life after violence, part memoir of a multi-country, multi-year journey spent listening to survivors, Lived Through This is a collection of essays and stories by a community of courageous, outspoken, and hopeful women across the Americas who give us firsthand accounts of a world where sexual violence is more commonplace than most of us imagine.
Helen Benedict’s The Lonely Soldier
Helen Benedict tells the stories of five women who fought in Iraq between 2003 and 2006. She follows them from their childhoods to their enlistments, then takes them through their training, to war and home again. Benedict shows how these women came to face the truth of war and offers suggestions for how the military can improve conditions for female soldiers—including distributing women more evenly throughout units and rejecting male recruits with records of violence against women.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE
Martin Moran’s All the Rage
Haunted by the question of why he wasn’t angry with the man who sexually abused him as a boy, Martin Moran went on quest to understand the role of rage in our lives. Moran shows us the complexities of the human heart with each of his encounters. All the Rage, which draws from his eighty-minute solo theater piece of the same name, is a moving and a surprisingly funny memoir about finding the right balance between anger and compassion.
Lynn Hall’s memoir is the first of its kind: the story of an Air Force Academy cadet’s story of rape and the shame culture in the military. For Hall, the military offered an escape from her chaotic home—her erratic mother, absent biological father, and a man who she called “dad” who sexually abused her. She was dismissed from the Academy when, after being raped by a classmate and contracting herpes, she was diagnosed with meningitis and left with chronic pain. Caged Eyes is a moving account of Hall’s brave struggle to advocate for herself and recognize her own strength. To learn more about Lynn Hall, visit her website.