100 books like What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

By Sohaila Abdulali,

Here are 100 books that What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape fans have personally recommended if you like What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Woman's Mysteries: Ancient & Modern

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

From my list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem.

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.

Pamela's book list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem

Pamela Braswell Why did Pamela love 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.

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.


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

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

From my list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem.

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.

Pamela's book list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem

Pamela Braswell Why did Pamela love 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.

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.


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

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

From my list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem.

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.

Pamela's book list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem

Pamela Braswell Why did Pamela love 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.

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…


Book cover of Diablo Mesa

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

From my list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem.

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.

Pamela's book list on overcoming rape and building higher self esteem

Pamela Braswell Why did Pamela love 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.

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…


Book cover of Is Rape a Crime? A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto

Leigh Gilmore Author Of The #MeToo Effect: What Happens When We Believe Women

From my list on to understand sexual violence, healing, and justice.

Who am I?

I marvel at the resilience, tenacity, and optimism with which survivors and their advocates confront sexual violence. As a scholar of life writing, I find the “me too” movement to offer a fascinating case study of how survivors broke through default narratives of women’s unreliability and “he said/she said” to be heard by a massive global audience. By telling their own stories as “we said,” they tapped into a new collective credibility. Each of my recommended books helps us to understand “me too” as a powerful episode in a long struggle for survivor justice.

Leigh's book list on to understand sexual violence, healing, and justice

Leigh Gilmore Why did Leigh love this book?

Michelle Bowdler’s piercing question pinpoints the hypocrisy of laws that often favor abusers rather than those they harm. This happens so routinely that survivors speak of two assaults: the abuse itself and the revictimization as they seek justice.

Bowdler was the victim of a serial rapist in Boston whose break-ins and assaults terrorized the city. After Bowdler reported the attack, she was assured that the crime would be investigated. Nothing of the sort happened. Is Rape a Crime? pulls back the curtain on how sexual assault victims are treated by law enforcement and concludes with a powerful demand for change.

By Michelle Bowdler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Is Rape a Crime? A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award for Nonfiction
TIME's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020
Publishers Weekly, Best Books of 2020
New York Times New & Noteworthy Audiobooks
Lit Hubs Most Anticipated Books of 2020
Starred Review Publishers Weekly
Starred Review Shelf Awareness

"Is Rape a Crime? is beautifully written and compellingly told. In 2020, we were all looking for solutions and this book was right on time. It is one we should all be reading."
―Anita Hill

"This standout memoir marks a crucial moment in the discussion of what constitutes a violent crime."
―Publishers Weekly, Best Books of 2020…


Book cover of Resurrection After Rape: A Guide to Transforming from Victim to Survivor

Robert Uttaro Author Of To The Survivors: One Man's Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor with True Stories of Sexual Violence

From my list on sexual violence, hope and healing.

Who am I?

God gave me a life-long calling to help anyone affected by sexual violence. Words often fail when I try to describe the pain that results from sexual abuse and what it truly means to me to make a positive difference in the lives of survivors. My heart and soul break for those who are suffering from evil crimes, and yet I continuously see people disclosing, expressing, growing, and healing. From my many years working as a counselor and advocate, I've learned that very often people just need someone to be with them and listen. I'm committed to supporting others in this area for as long as I can be helpful.

Robert's book list on sexual violence, hope and healing

Robert Uttaro Why did Robert love this book?

Resurrection After Rape: A Guide to Transforming from Victim to Survivor is a therapeutic book with personal stories, artwork, and transformative writing exercises that can be life-changing for rape survivors.

Atkinson is gentle in his approach, and although the readings and exercises may be triggering and at times extremely difficult, they can also provide comfort and clarity throughout the process of engaging with them. I recommend that this book be worked through with a therapist or someone else trained in sexual violence. 

By Matt Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Updated 2017 Edition! Expanded with new content! Looking for a book about rape that's not depressing or boring, but doesn't also avoid deeper emotions and questions either? Resurrection After Rape is a deeply-moving, powerful guide for women recovering from rape. What sets this apart from others on this topic is that this one isn't written only by a therapist; it's a collaboration between a therapist, and dozens of survivors who have contributed their insights, journals, and art for you to see. Reading this book is like having your own room full of women who have succeeded in recovery, all of…


Book cover of Notes on a Silencing

Emily Franchini Author Of Lyra

From my list on a catharsis tea party for your book club.

Who am I?

I have such a passion for people that share powerful stories. Growing up was particularly rough for me due to the depression, anxiety, and isolation that I endured. When I wasn’t throwing myself into books to escape my reality, I wrote poetry. My love for mental health and cathartic stories didn’t start until about 2017 when I was trying to figure out the next chapter of my life. I had exited survival mode and entered into a thriving part of my life where my old habits and way of thinking did not serve me. I hope this list of book recommendations touches your soul as they have mine. 

Emily's book list on a catharsis tea party for your book club

Emily Franchini Why did Emily love this book?

When I think of cathartic books, this book’s story always rolls around in my memories. The memoir is about a young woman’s struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma. And by trauma, I mean rape. This book angers me just as much as it saddens me with how Crawford had been treated by the school, her friends, and people she thought she could trust. The sheer amount of virtue signaling and victim blaming makes me sick with rage. But ultimately Crawford’s story gave me the power to voice about my own sexual trauma. I hope this book changes the world in the same way it changed mine. 

By Lacy Crawford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Notes on a Silencing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "powerful and scary and important and true" memoir of a young woman's struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her—at any cost (Sally Mann, author of Hold Still).

Shortlisted for the 2022 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

When Notes on a Silencing hit bookstores in the summer of 2020, even amidst a global pandemic, it sent shockwaves through the country. Not only did this intimate investigative memoir usher in a media storm of coverage, but it also prompted the elite St. Paul's School to…


Book cover of Things We Didn't Talk about When I Was a Girl: A Memoir

Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman Author Of Sounds Like Titanic

From my list on memoirs with an unconventional structure.

Who am I?

I am a reader, writer, and professor specializing in memoir writing. I think every single person has a fascinating life. But, when writing it down, it can be difficult to find a narrative structure that allows the story to feel as unique as the human being writing it. I am drawn to memoirs that have fresh, creative ways of organizing their material—memoirs that go beyond or subvert the conventional, straightforward, chronological approach. After all, our memories are often scattered, fragmented, interrupted, non-linear, or just bizarre; memoirs that capture not only the person’s lived experience but also the messiness of memory itself feel more powerful and true to me. 

Jessica's book list on memoirs with an unconventional structure

Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman Why did Jessica love this book?

The best memoirs, to me, are not only records of past events. They are also the record of a writer grappling with how best to tell the story. Jeannie Vanasco takes this idea to an entirely new level in this brilliant meta-memoir that not only chronicles a sexual assault she experienced in college, but also her present-day investigation into her rapist’s memories of the event, his motives, and his present-day thoughts about what happened. This book challenged me to think in new ways—not only about sexual assault, but also about the ways we remember it and write about it. 

By Jeannie Vanasco,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Things We Didn't Talk about When I Was a Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Editors’ Choice and Best Book of the Year at TIME, Esquire, Amazon, Kirkus, and Electric Literature


Jeannie Vanasco has had the same nightmare since she was a teenager. It is always about him: one of her closest high school friends, a boy named Mark. A boy who raped her. When her nightmares worsen, Jeannie decides—after fourteen years of silence—to reach out to Mark. He agrees to talk on the record and meet in person.


Jeannie details her friendship with Mark before and after the assault, asking the brave and urgent question: Is it possible for a…


Book cover of Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture

Jennifer L. Pierce Author Of Racing for Innocence: Whiteness, Gender, and the Backlash Against Affirmative Action

From my list on women’s rights in the American workplace.

Who am I?

Women’s rights in the workplace have been my passion for thirty years. As a sociologist who does fieldwork and oral histories, I am interested in understanding work through workers’ perspectives. The most important thing I’ve learned is that employers can be notoriously reluctant to enact change and that the most effective route to workplace justice is through collective action. I keep writing because I want more of us to imagine workplaces that value workers by compensating everyone fairly and giving workers greater control over their office’s rhythm and structure. 

Jennifer's book list on women’s rights in the American workplace

Jennifer L. Pierce Why did Jennifer love this book?

Roxane Gay’s memoir writing is brilliant! So is her collection of personal essays written by women who have experienced sexual harassment and rape.

Gay’s painful introductory piece on learning to understand her own experience of being gang raped at age twelve as “not that bad” illuminates the problem with rape culture. Women learn to blame themselves. 

As the essays by other authors make clear, rape culture is bad and women are often denigrated when they speak out, but they must come together to foment change. Whether the essays focus on workplace harassment or date rape, they all hold key lessons for the importance of women’s sexual autonomy at work.

By Roxane Gay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not That Bad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Edited and with an introduction by Roxane Gay, the New York Times bestselling and deeply beloved author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology of first-person essays tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on.

Vogue, 10 of the Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2018
Harper's Bazaar, 10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018
Elle, 21 Books We're Most Excited to Read in 2018
Boston Globe, 25 books we can't wait to read in 2018
Huffington Post, 60 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018
Buzzfeed, 33 Most Exciting New Books of 2018

In this valuable and…


Book cover of Asking For It

Jaq Hazell Author Of I Came to Find a Girl

From my list on the aftermath of sexual assault.

Who am I?

I write novels for adults, young adults (My Life as a Bench won the International Rubery Book of the Year), and children. Using my experience as an art student in Nottingham, I wanted to look at the dark side of Sex in the City. The sexual revolution of the 60s gave women freedom, but at what cost? Conviction rates for sexual assault remain depressingly low and our streets remain unsafe for women at night.

Jaq's book list on the aftermath of sexual assault

Jaq Hazell Why did Jaq love this book?

Emma O’Donovan is a pretty and popular 18-year-old whose life completely changes after she attends a couple of parties and the following day is found semi-conscious on her doorstep. Unaware of what she has been through the night before, Emma struggles to cope with the public shaming that ensues. This is a brilliant examination of consent, rape culture, and how hard it can be to speak out and seek justice.

By Louise O'Neill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Asking For It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'A soul-shattering novel that will leave your emotions raw. This story will haunt me forever. Everyone should read it' Guardian

In a small town where everyone knows everyone, Emma O'Donovan is different. She is the special one - beautiful, popular, powerful. And she works hard to keep it that way.

Until that night . . .

Now, she's an embarrassment. Now, she's just a slut. Now, she is nothing.

And those pictures - those pictures that everyone has seen - mean she can never forget.

For fans of Caitlin Moran, Marian Keyes and Jodi Picoult.

BOOK OF THE YEAR AT…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in rape, self esteem, and Mumbai?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about rape, self esteem, and Mumbai.

Rape Explore 66 books about rape
Self Esteem Explore 94 books about self esteem
Mumbai Explore 34 books about Mumbai