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""The wound is the place where the Light enters you."
~ Rumi ~


Each book title is a link to information about the book

Using the Amazon. US and UK search boxes below to buy books will benefit Pandora's Aquarium and the hundreds of survivors of rape and sexual assault who access this valuable service

Hybrid Publishers 2006
Patricia Easteal and Louise McOrmond-Pummer.

Intimate Partner Sexual Violence A Multidisciplinary Guide to Improving Services and Support for Survivors of Rape and Abuse
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Eds. Louise McOrmond-Plummer, Patricia Easteal AM and Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck

Young Woman Reading by a Window
Delphin Enjolras

Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?: Encouragement for Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men - Lundy Bancroft - Added April 2015

I have not yet read this, but my copy is on order, and I can't wait -the author's name recommends it. Lundy Bancroft's earlier book Why does he do that is the first book I recommend to women who have survivied relationships of abuse, because it is second to none. Daily Wisdoms contains 365 meditations for abused women who are not in the space to read anything heavier. The wisdoms are powerful little bites for women to reflect on and be empowered by.

Rape in Marriage - Diana E.H. Russell

This landmark study is a must-read for anybody seeking to understand rape by partners. Ms. Russell also includes a section on the rape of lovers, i.e. boyfriends. Excellent coverage of the view of women as property from historical times. Looks intelligently at the problem of subsuming marital rape under the category of domestic violence, and the troubled history of rape crisis and domestic violence service responses to partner rape.

This study seeks to make sexual assault visible in domestic violence by using extant typologies to examine the control context and co-occurrence of physical and sexual assault in intimate partner rape. Findings reveal a predominance of Intimate Terrorism and gratuitous physical violence in over half of the cases, but suspects use threats to foster victim compliance in the majority of cases.

Voices of The Survivors - Patricia Easteal

An Australian text, this book covers rape in very many settings, including by husbands, boyfriends and estranged partners. It is an excellent and validating read. (Dr Easteal has been an important ally in getting partner-rape recognized, and who has done much for the issue of domestic violence in Australia; see for example her important study Killing the Beloved: Homicide between Adult Sexual Intimates and Double Jeopardy: Violence Against Immigrant Women in the Home. )

The Rapist Who Pays the Rent - Ruth Hall, Selma James and Judith Kertesz

A British text which covers WAR'S fight to have rape in marriage recognized as a crime. Can be mail-ordered cheaply from WAR (Women Against Rape, UK)

License to Rape: Sexual Abuse of Wives - David Finkelhor & Kersti Yllo

This landmark study covers many aspects of rape by husbands, including affects on women and potential strategies for ending it. Also, interviews with husbands who raped their wives - scary, but truly illuminates that it is their problem, their issues around power and not your fault. A classic and favourite of mine.

Wife Rape: Understanding the Response of Survivors and Service Providers - Raquel Kennedy Bergen

Excellent study with lots of material on the responses and needs of survivors of rape by husbands, as well suggestions for change in service provision.

I Never called it Rape - Robin Warshaw

Published results of the MS. study on rape by dates and acquaintances. Much good and relevant material for survivors of partner rape.

No Comfort Zone: Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Marla Handy
I cannot praise this affirming, wise book, which I have recently read, highly enough. To find out why, please read the review I wrote after reading it. If you have lived with PTSD for a long time, this book will assist you in making peace with a damaged psyche without seeing yourself as any less of a person. It is absolutely essential for people with PTSD as well as therapists, friends, family and partners.

Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror - Judith Lewis Herman

A classic and favourite of mine. Scholarly but very human and compassionate. Covers the many reasons why women may find themselves unable to leave abusive relationships. Discusses safety as it is related to healing.

Resurrection After Rape - Matt Atkinson
A wonderful guidebook for female survivors of sexual assault.. It is comprehensive, compassionate, articulate and moved me to tears several times. Subjects covered include: Survivors and sexuality, why rape happens , why it hurts so badly when people downplay what happened to us and what to do, panic attacks, common mistakes therapists make and much, much more. While it isn't geared towards IPSV, there is still much that is most useful. It's time new life was breathed into recovery literature, and the author (a therapist) has ably achieved this. Mr Atkinson has made free downloads of this work available for a limited time - please go here and see this book for yourself. Splendid.

I Can't Get Over it: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors - Aphrodite Matsakis Ph. D

Excellent. Explains PTSD thoroughly but without 'textbooky' stodginess. Good sections on domestic violence and rape. Strategies for healing and taking control of your life again.

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft
I am including it first on this list because it is the first book I would recommend on the subject of relationship violence. It is FANTASTIC. I feel remiss in not having read it earlier for use in my own work (expect quotes and citations to pop up on this site in future). At the risk of being superfluous, this is about the best helping manual on domestic violence I've read. At the time of its publication (2002), Lundy had spent 15 years working with abusive men of every stripe (physically abusive, emotionally abusive, sexually abusive, all of the above), as well as their partners. He carefully dismantles excuses and myths about why men abuse, or about the "type" of man that abuses (not just abusive "macho men" but also sensitive "new age" guys who abuse).. Partner rape survivors should be aware there's a whole, excellent chapter on the abusive use of sex. Offers sound advice to women for getting safe and staying safe, how to tell if change is genuine, and provides information about abusers threats of taking the children away. I personally was also pleased to see challenges to the (increasingly strident) claims of the "Battered Men's Movement" and the way that these claims shelter abusers who use the movement as another way to blame the women they've hurt.

Well-written, easy to understand, compassionate and comprehensive. If you are living with an abusive partner now, if you have done so in the past, if you are somebody who works with or supports an abused woman, you NEED to read this excellent book. Please - it is essential to safety, healing, support and validation at all levels. I just cannot praise it highly enough. Lundy is also the author of several other books and some really terrific articles - see his site here.

Dangerous Exits: Escaping Abusive Relationships in Rural America - Walter S. DeKeseredy and Martin D. Schwartz
This excellent addition to the literature on violence to women looks at the physical, mental and sexual violence rural women may face when exiting dangerous relationships, after they have left them, or even post-divorce. People are very fond of leveling judgments at women who don't "just leave" but this book is a timely reminder of the terrorism that serves to frighten women into remaining - and their fear of what may happen if they leave is, as this book shows, not groundless. I particularly appreciate the way DeKeseredy and Schwartz explore the danger of sexual assault when a woman "emotionally" separates from a partner - i.e. she does not have to even announce she is leaving; the man just senses she is growing distant and rapes her in order to reassert control and ownership. It is well past time to step up legal, financial and other services to protect rural women, and all women endangered by a bid for their right to freedom from a life of abuse. This book does propose steps that we may take to this end. Highly recommended - most certainly for professionals concerned with the safety of women escaping abuse.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can--and Should--be Saved - Lundy Bancroft and JAC Patrissi
In this supportive and straightforward guide, Lundy Bancroft, the author of Why Does He Do That?, and communication specialist JAC Patrissi offer a way for women to practically take stock of their relationships and move forward-with or without their partners.

When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse - Lundy Bancroft
If you are a battered/abused mother, you will well understand the tremendous ongoing guilt we can feel when our children witnessed the violence of our abusers. This wonderful book is for you and your kids.

It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence - Meg Kennedy Dugan and Roger R.Hock
This book is terrific and full of emotional and practical information for survivors of abusive relationships who have left. I thoroughly recommend it. It's highly readable and contains information about finances, children, being tempted to go back, beginning to heal and much more.

When Violence Begins at Home: A comprehensive guide to understanding and ending Domestic Abuse - K.J. Wilson, Ed.D

Dr. Wilson, herself a survivor of domestic violence, has written what is one of the best texts I have seen on the topic. She gives practical as well as psychological advice for rebuilding your life. Good information for workers.

Free Yourself from an Abusive Relationship:Seven Steps to Taking Back Your Life by Andrea Lissette M.A., CDVC and Richard Kraus Ph.D

I have this - very practical and down to -earth, gives good advice for both leaving and healing afterwards.

The Gift of Fear - Gavin de Becker
I bought this book because it had been referred to in several domestic violence texts. I think it contains very important information for women leaving violent relationships. Teaches how to trust our instincts, and, extremely important, assessing whether getting a restraining order is likely to escalate violence and what to do. I would suggest that domestic violence survivors beware of the secondary wounding note in de Becker's insistence that if a woman is hit once, she's a victim and after that, she's a "volunteer." I'm sure that goes over well with the Oprah set, but he appears to roundly dismiss the trauma that can be a part of accommodating ongoing violence. The compassion he expresses for victims of other violent crime is not as apparent when it comes to DV - perhaps because as a boy he had to suffer very damaging behaviour from his mother's violent partners - and I do not want to dismiss the pain DV causes children, I just found the "volunteer" thing offensive. Nevertheless, I include this text here because I do think it has very great merit in other ways, including the potential to save the lives of women escaping DV. I am also aware that Mr. de Becker has done very proactive work with shelters. No point throwing a terrific baby out with a bit of grotty bathwater, is there?

Next Time She'll Be Dead: Battering and How to Stop It - Ann Jones
I have this excellent book that covers many dimensions of domestic violence in the USA (still relevant reading for women elsewhere; I'm an Aussie and I love it). Battery and the social callous indifference toward it is depressing but Jones picks apart the forces that underpin victim blame, proposing strategies for change.

Getting Away With Murder - Phil Cleary
Julie Ramage presumed the right to end her marriage, and was murdered by her ex-husband. The court, upholding timeless notions about women as the property of their husbands, ruled that Mrs. Ramage "contributed" to her own murder and handed down a manifestly inadequate sentence to the perpetrator. Phil Cleary, who lost his sister in similar circumstances and whose family was treated to a second outrage by hearing her blamed by the courts (please see Just another little murder: A brother's pursuit of justice by Phil Cleary) has written a book about the Ramage case. A must read for anybody who cares about the right of women to decide their futures without facing (judicially reinforced) male violence.
Recovery : How to Survive Sexual Assault for Women, Men, Teenagers, and Their Friends and Families
Helen Benedict
I've not read this, however I do have Benedict's Virgin or Vamp on portrayals of sexual assault and it's victims in the media, so I know she's a good writer.

In Love and In Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships - Barrie Levy
Designed to help teens protect themselves.

Unmasking Sexual Con Games: Teen Guide - Kathleen M. McGee and Laura J. Buddenberg
Advice on looking out for yourself - how to read sexual manipulation, safety in chat-rooms etc.
Lani's Story- Lani Brennan with Hazel Flynn
I have read Lani's Story in the last couple of months, and I am proud of her for surviving. Lani Brennan came though horrific domestic violence including rape and forced drug use. It ought to have killed her, but Lani escaped and found the courage to press charges against her abusive partner. Lani now lives a triumphant life with her new partner and her children. Lani's story is particularly important, I believe, as it is the voice of an Indigenous Australian woman and it is high time for the voices of Aboriginal women speaking about domestic violence to be heard. It is graphic and honest and could be triggering for some, but I do highly recommend this book. Thanks for your courage, Lani, and for encouraging other women to seek freedom.
Lupin - Angela Kempe
I have not yet read this book, but will do so in the near future. I wanted to put it here because I'm always happy to place new work by sister survivors. Here is the blurb from Angela's site: "Angela was the typical suburban teenager, but when she ventured onto private property with a group of antisocial friends, she stumbled into the grasp of a sociopath with a sadistic appetite for sexual violence. Winding down a road that would bring her to the brink of death, she discovered self-love and that she could rise again, like a beautiful spring lupin.

Angela’s riveting memoir will take you on a journey through the mind of a victim who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. It reminds us all of the innate strength of the human spirit and that everyone can find self-love and courage, even at the darkest times."

To Love and to Cherish...facing sexual abuse in marriage - D. Anne Pierce
This Kindle book details one woman's journey through a sexually abusive marriage of twenty seven years , and her strategies for facing the abuse and creating strategies for an abuse-free life. I am taking my hat off to this brave lady. It's groundbreaking to have a work specifically telling one IPSV survivor's story. And now we are lucky enough to have two - see below.

Sister of Silence - Daleen Berry
Daleen is a survivor of child sexual abuse, who later endured 10 years of rape by her abusive husband, from which resulted four pregnancies. I have just read Daleen's book, and it is such an important addition to literature on IPSV because it shows another way that this insidious crime can be perpetrated again and again against a woman. Daleen was but 13 when first raped by her future husband, eventually becoming pregnant by him. It is heartbreaking to see this young, abused and confused girl go to a marriage where the rape continued for another 10 years. This book shows an urgent need to end the tommyrot whereby girls are pressured into thinking they must marry the man who takes their virginity, even if it was rape. We can be glad that a suicidal and broken Daleen did live to triumph and share her story. Highly recommended.

Dragonslippers: This is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like - Rosalind Penfold
I have just finished reading this splendid book, and I heartily recommend it for survivors, professionals and all who care about survivors.. Ms. Penfold shares her journey through and out of domestic abuse through a series of cartoon drawings. It is a heartbreaking and chilling look at how we become entrenched in such relationships.It is also hopeful. The author says, "Art can deliver the truth" and I say amen - the graphic form is in some ways perhaps more illustrative than text.

RISE - Ingrid Poulson (Pub. Aug 2008)
I want to recommend this book. Ingrid Poulson is an Australian woman who who experienced what many of us would consider to be the ultimate tragedy. In 2003, she left an abusive husband who continued to pursue and threaten her despite a restraining order. One night, her ex-partner came to her home, tied Ms. Poulson up and raped her. Bravely, Ms. Poulson went to report the rape the next day, leaving her father to mind her children, Sebastian, two, and Marilyn, four. Upon her return, her ex-partner was in the act of stabbing Ms. Poulson's beloved father and children fatally. The police shot him dead. How does one survive after something so shocking, you may ask? RISE is Ms. Poulson's answer the this question. The book opens with Ms. Poulson's attempts to articulate what it felt like to have nothing left, and to decide, "I will not be brought so low." She shares with us the strategies that enabled her to RISE, and tells us how we may make these our own in the face of life and the horrors it can throw. And this woman ought to know. Please read this wonderful book by a remarkable woman (who doesn't seem to think she's all that remarkable) - it is inspiring, and is further encouragement to our own healing.

A House Full of Whispers - Sharon Wallace
Sharon shares her story of child sexual abuse, healing and hope.

Dancing With the Devil: A Memoir by Amy Norman.
I've read this Australian woman's journey through and out of horrific domestic violence including rape. It's courageously frank and therefore triggering - but utterly worthwhile for validation and Amy's message of hope.
Amy says, "My goals for writing Dancing with the Devil were to give those living with violence the chance to realise that there is hope, and the opportunity to move onto a better life, even though at the time there seems little or no hope at all. I also wanted to reach those who don't understand it at all and hopefully wipe out some of the myths that still exist in the minds of so many."
Highly recommended and also available at Amazon UK as "Living with the Devil"

Point Last Seen - Ricky Hunter
Ricky tells the story of her horrifying abduction by a paedophile at age 5, and her experiences of domestic violence and partner rape. It's also a story of hope, courage and ultimate healing through severe PTSD. powerful and important voice, and encouraging for those who are suffering. I have read Ricky's book, and it will inspire and encourage other survivors. Please also read su Ricky's next book, Point of Rescue , in which we follow Ricky through trauma, healing, and the loss of her beloved son, Jonty. This book is a most useful and readable fusion of Ricky's own story together with practical advice that should be of helpful to survivors and professionals alike. I'd like to thank Ricky too, for speaking to the issue of rape by intimate partners, which, detrimentally, can often get lost in overarching discussions of domestic violence.

Broken - Ilsa Evans
There are some good fictitious books that deal with domestic violence; Roddy Doyle's The Woman Who Walked Into Doors (see below) being one of the better ones, in my opinion. I have read Broken by Australian author Ilsa Evans, and it is so powerful and authentic that it's terrifying (and I was in tears in parts throughout) , which makes it a very good read. Anyone who has been there will identify with Mattie Hampton's shame, fear and struggle for survival when options are limited and an abuser is a clever bastard. Highly recommended. You will also want to read the sequel, Sticks and Stones, and for the sake of spoilers I shan't give too much away there.

The Woman Who Walked into Doors - Roddy Doyle
I think the author was either exposed to domestic violence himself, intimately knows somebody who was, or thoroughly educated himself by talking to survivors. Paula Spencer's world isn't really for people who won't understand the dynamics of (extreme) domestic violence. Paula falls in love with Charlo, is beaten, repeatedly raped, he cheats on her and broadcasts the fact, harms her children and finally, when Paula finds the courage to leave him, rapes and murders another woman. Paula's guilt about her children and her use of alcohol to escape her reality is something many of us will relate to, if uneasily. It is not a light-hearted read, but the sequel, Paula Spencer, continues with the ravages of Paula's alcoholism, scars, and eventual redemption.
Surviving the Legal System: a Handbook for Adult & Child Sexual Assault Survivors & Their Supporters - Dr. S. Caroline Taylor
This excellent book is an absolute must for survivors and their supporters going through the legal system. Divided into three parts and eminently accessible to all, the book covers essential information such as disclosing, reporting, preparing for trial, responding to defence tactics, exercises for nurturing your truth and much much more.

Balancing the Scales: Rape, Law Reform and Australian Culture - Ed. Patricia Easteal
A series of excellent legal essays on aspects of rape law, and inequity in Australia. Much focus on ideas of what is "real" rape, and directives for change. Survivors who have been through the courts need to read Pia Van Zandt's Heroines of Fortitude.

Carnal Knowledge: Rape on Trial - Sue Lees
A brilliant UK text by the late and very great Sue Lees which analyses many aspects of rape law.. Amongst many other things., I love Lees' dissecting of the idea that women commonly falsify reports of rape. Excellent exploration of definitions of consent.

Real Rape - Susan Estrich
This is a classic USA text which explores inequities in the law contributed to by stereotypical notions of rape.
Transforming a Rape Culture - Emilie Buchwald, Pamela R. Fletcher, Martha Roth (Eds)
I am thrilled that this book exists. Beautiful, strong and insightful essays into why rape culture exists and what must be done. Survivors of marital rape, please read Carol Adams' essay.

Against our Will: Men, Women and Rape - Susan Brownmiller
Essential reading. Exploration of historical and contemporary approval of rape as a tool of power over women. Analysis of rape in many settings. Though this classic is over 30 years old, its power hasn't diminished.
This very timely book, from a writer whose voice I really respect, clearly and articulately challenges the growing tide of misinformation around women's similar propensity for violence to men, and looks at how we must continue to take men's violence to women seriously if there is to be change. A clarion call, warning of the very real dangers to abused women, of making violent abuse genderless. Thankyou, Mr. DeKeseredy.

In case anybody thinks that "rape culture" is just so much feminist whining, Jackson Katz brings to our attention very real and terrifying examples of how degradation and violence to women is still mainstream and permissible. Proposes solutions too. An excellent read that heartened me greatly.
NOT UNDER BONDAGE: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion - Barbara Roberts
Although I have not read this book, I discovered the site today, and it looks like an excellent and comprehensive resource for abused women struggling with questions of faith and the permissibility of divorce. Ms. Roberts is a Christian and a survivor of an abusive relationship. Well-researched and compassionate. Ms Roberts also recommends the following three books:

   Waneta Dawn - Behind the Hedge: a novel
   Susan Greenfield - Would the Real Church PLEASE Stand Up Susan’s ex-husband is a youth pastor.
   Jocelyn Andersen - Woman Submit! Jocelyn’s violent ex-husband was an associate pastor of their church.

Sexual Violence, the Umentionable Sin: An Ethical and Pastoral Consideration - Marie M. Fortune
Explores what the church must do to end the silence and pain of women sexually abused. Reverend Fortune's work on sexual violence and religion has been revolutionary. Please also see Rev. Fortune's "Sexual Violence: The Sin Revisited, which is an updated edition of the earlier book, and looks at how pastoral considerations of violence to women are changing.

Keeping the Faith: Guidance for Christian Women facing Abuse - Marie M Fortune
I haven't read this one, but the reviewers on Amazon love it, and for me, the author's name recommends it
OPENING - Haiku & Poetry by April A.Severin
I am the proud owner of this lovely book and the powerful works contained therein.
April is a poet of renown whose work has most recently appeared in Hammered Out and Sky Woman, published by Native Women in the Arts/Theytus Books. April has six books to her credit (go here to see the others), the latest of which is OPENING. April has also released a new book, To all the Boys I've Snubbed Before (And One In Particular)