The best books for overcoming rape and building a life with higher self esteem

Pamela Braswell Author Of Rising from Rape: A Memoir of Survival and Justice
By Pamela Braswell

Who am I?

My experience is derived from actual experience and my fight to survive. I found it within me to keep my wits about me and think, think, think about my surroundings and my assailant's movements and vulnerabilities. I waited for the one and only moment I would have to escape. Once free, I sought help and I told my story again and again until I found justice.


I wrote...

Rising from Rape: A Memoir of Survival and Justice

By Pamela Braswell,

Book cover of Rising from Rape: A Memoir of Survival and Justice

What is my book about?

As a new attorney, Pamela Braswell was confident her career was about to skyrocket. Instead, she narrowly escaped death at the hands of a serial rapist and killer—his only surviving victim. Twenty years later, the moratorium on executions in California that put his execution on hold ended, but the governor announced he wouldn't enforce the death penalty. Braswell's firsthand true crime narrative gives a victim's perspective of the harrowing investigation, the revelations in the press, the grand jury indictment, and capital murder trial. Through it all, her refusal to be a victim transforms her view of the worldand its heroes.

The books I picked & why

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Woman's Mysteries: Ancient & Modern

By M. Esther Harding,

Book cover of Woman's Mysteries: Ancient & Modern

Why this book?

It introduced me to the status of women in ancient times when society worshipped the moon, a feminine deity. Women led religious rituals and they were regarded as the givers of life. By contrast, by the time of King David, man worshipped the Sun, a male deity, and women's status was lowered to become regarded as mere bearers of life.

Woman's Mysteries: Ancient & Modern

By M. Esther Harding,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Woman's Mysteries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is a classic study of the feminine principle in myths, dreams, and religious symbolism. In presenting the archetypal foundations of feminine psychology, the author shows how the ancient religious initiations of the moon goddess symbolized the development of the emotions. Understanding the psychological meaning of these initiations, she believes, can help to heal the troubled relations between men and women today.


The Second Rape: Society's Continued Betrayal of the Victim

By Lee Madigan, Nancy C. Gamble,

Book cover of The Second Rape: Society's Continued Betrayal of the Victim

Why this book?

 Lee Madigan, a clinical psychologist in Orange County, CA, specializes in treating victims of violent crime. She wrote her book after hearing repeating themes among her patients. I learned that the blame I was receiving, the adverse reactions I was experiencing, the microaggressions, were very common and not my fault. It helped me heal.

The Second Rape: Society's Continued Betrayal of the Victim

By Lee Madigan, Nancy C. Gamble,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Second Rape as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This text attempts to expose the blind, subtle betrayal of the rape victim by the perpetrators of the "second rape"- the police, medical and mental health workers and the criminal justice system.


Beauty Bites Beast: The Missing Conversation About Ending Violence

By Ellen Snortland, Ken Gruberman (editor),

Book cover of Beauty Bites Beast: The Missing Conversation About Ending Violence

Why this book?

Ellen and I participated in the same self-defense course, Impact Personal Safety, in San Diego County, CA. The course taught me how to deliver a knockout punch against an assailant. That skill gave me confidence that I could protect myself and I finally broke out of the protective shell in which I'd been encased since my attack. Her book reinforced the truth that it's okay and, in fact, life-saving, to fight back.

Beauty Bites Beast: The Missing Conversation About Ending Violence

By Ellen Snortland, Ken Gruberman (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beauty Bites Beast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BEAUTY BITES BEAST is not a “how-to” book, it is a “how-come” book. As in, “how-come” every woman and girl needs to know how to defend themselves. They, like all females of other species in the world, are capable of defending themselves and their loved ones — if they learn how. It is not the female’s size, it is her culturally induced ignorance that makes her think she is helpless. BEAUTY BITES BEAST is a clarion call to “sleeping beauties,” so they can wake up and take charge of their own self-defense — emotional, verbal and physical. The book also…


Diablo Mesa

By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child,

Book cover of Diablo Mesa

Why this book?

I can easily relate to the two female main characters who face life-threatening danger in performing their work and gender bias among coworkers. Despite it, they succeed. During my recovery, my counselors impressed upon me that women should build supportive partnerships with other women. It's not only constructive but very empowering. Together, like the characters in this book, we can build the careers we envision, and achieve rhe recognition we deserve.

Diablo Mesa

By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diablo Mesa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two bodies. A dangerous secret. A terrifying force. The latest "excellent" novel in wildly popular series featuring archaeologist Nora Kelly and FBI Agent Corrie Swanson (Publishers Weekly). 

Lucas Tappan, a wealthy and eccentric billionaire and founder of Icarus Space Systems, approaches the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute with an outlandish proposal—to finance a careful, scientific excavation of the Roswell Incident site, where a UFO is alleged to have crashed in 1947. A skeptical Nora Kelly, to her great annoyance, is tasked with the job. 

Nora's excavation immediately uncovers two murder victims buried at the site, faces and hands obliterated with acid…


What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

By Sohaila Abdulali,

Book cover of What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

Why this book?

I ordered the book because the author was described as intelligent, honest, and hopeful. She had to be hopeful; I knew that from experience. She waited 30 years for her story to receive widespread attention. Mine remained archived for 20. For both of us, society had to evolve enough to address the subject in a meaningful way. Like me, she reveals the stigmas and assumptions about the crime and its victims that make recovery such a challenge. 

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

By Sohaila Abdulali,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is brilliant, frank, empowering, and urgently necessary. Sohaila Abdulali has created a powerful tool for examining rape culture and language on the individual, societal, and global level that everyone can benefit from reading."
―Jill Soloway

In the tradition of Rebecca Solnit, a beautifully written, deeply intelligent, searingly honest―and ultimately hopeful―examination of sexual assault and the global discourse on rape told through the perspective of a survivor, writer, counselor, and activist

After surviving gang-rape at seventeen in Mumbai, Sohaila Abdulali was indignant about the deafening silence that followed and wrote a fiery…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in rape, self esteem, and the moon?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about rape, self esteem, and the moon.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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