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

By Sohaila Abdulali,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Woman's Mysteries

By M. Esther Harding,

Book cover of Woman's Mysteries: Ancient & Modern

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

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

By Lee Madigan, Nancy C. Gamble,

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

 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

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

By Ellen Snortland, Ken Gruberman (editor),

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

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

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

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…


Notes on a Silencing

By Lacy Crawford,

Book cover of Notes on a Silencing

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. 

Notes on a Silencing

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…


Things We Didn't Talk about When I Was a Girl

By Jeannie Vanasco,

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

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. 

Things We Didn't Talk about When I Was a Girl

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…


Asking For It

By Louise O'Neill,

Book cover of Asking For It

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.

Asking For It

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.

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…


Beneath a Ruthless Sun

By Gilbert King,

Book cover of Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found

If you’re like me, you’ve never been the victim of senseless, cruel injustice, and may find it hard to believe that anyone could inflict that on another person. Injustice—the false accusation of rape made against an innocent young Black man—is at the heart of King’s book and it might just break your heart, as it did mine. Reading it reinforced my conviction that William Dean—murdered not far from where I live—deserved justice, even if the crime took place a hundred years ago. 

Beneath a Ruthless Sun

By Gilbert King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beneath a Ruthless Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR and THE WASHINGTON POST

"Compelling, insightful and important, Beneath a Ruthless Sun exposes the corruption of racial bigotry and animus that shadows a community, a state and a nation. A fascinating examination of an injustice story all too familiar and still largely ignored, an engaging and essential read." --Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller Devil in the Grove, the gripping true story of a small town with a big secret.

In December 1957, the wife of a Florida citrus baron is raped in…


The Way I Used to Be

By Amber Smith,

Book cover of The Way I Used to Be

I always say that you never know what goes on behind someone else’s closed door. How they appear physically and/or mentally in public doesn’t tell their whole story. It’s like social media. We only share the good parts of our lives. Everyone has secrets and fears and reasons they keep parts of their lives to themselves. The Way I Used to Be is a perfect example of why we should never judge a person without knowing them and why we should take the time to get to know a person, pay attention to changes in personality, and let them know you are a friend. We are all guilty of not taking the time and this book is a reminder to myself that I must be better than that.

The Way I Used to Be

By Amber Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way I Used to Be as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller.

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel “is a poignant book that realistically looks at the lasting effects of trauma on love, relationships, and life” (School Library Journal, starred review).

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed…


Still Beating

By Jennifer Hartmann,

Book cover of Still Beating

This romance caught me off guard. It was a dark romance about a kidnapped man and a woman. The heroine and her sister's fiancé who she disliked. I have to say this book isn’t for everyone as the sensitive subject matter is written about, such as rape and also a suicide attempt. However, because of Hartmann’s amazing way with words, I can’t stop thinking about this book and the characters. Hartmann’s exquisite writing style took me into the basement where the couple was kept. I felt fear and sadness for them. I felt hope. I felt so many things that left me confused at times, but as I was struggling with emotions, I found myself falling in love with these characters. This book was unlike any I have read before. It is a must-read.

Still Beating

By Jennifer Hartmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WARNING: This book contains subject matter that may be sensitive for some readers, including dark and triggering content. 18+ only. Please read responsibly.
When Cora attends her sister’s birthday party, she expects at most a hangover or a walk of shame. She doesn’t anticipate a stolen wallet, leaving her stranded and dependent on Dean—her arch nemesis and ultimate thorn in her side.
And she really doesn’t anticipate waking up in shackles in a madman’s basement.
To make matters worse, Dean shares the space in his own set of chains.
After fifteen years of teasing, insults, and practical jokes, the ultimate…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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