Non-Fiction Books

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Intimate Partner Violence

Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence by Alex Roslin [Amazon | Bookshop]

“Police Wife” gives a rare front-seat look at the amazing struggles and courage of abused police spouses worldwide—from Los Angeles to Montreal, Puerto Rico and South Africa—the ordeals of a handful of intrepid cops trying to change policing from within and why the abuse is an epidemic, one that may be getting worse. “Police Wife”, the first investigative book on the epidemic, shows how abuse in police families affects us all and is closely linked to botched responses to 911 domestic calls at other homes, police killings of African Americans, police sexual harassment of female cops and young female drivers at traffic stops, and growing inequality in our communities.

Chain, Chain, Change: For Black Women in Abusive Relationships by Evelyn C. White [Amazon | Unavailable on Bookshop]

Offering practical information for African-American women in physically or emotionally abusive relationships, the editor of The Black Women’s Health Book discusses identifying abuse, the cycle of violence, agencies and shelters, and using the legal system.

Battle Cries: Black Women and Intimate Partner Abuse by Hillary Potter [Amazon | Bookshop]

Battle Cries is an eye-opening examination of African American women’s experiences with intimate partner abuse, the methods used to contend with abusive mates, and the immediate and enduring consequences resulting from the maltreatment. Based on intensive interviews with 40 African American women abused by their male partners, Potter’s analysis takes into account variations in their experiences based on socioeconomic class, education level, and age, and discusses the common abuses and perceptions they share. Combining her remarkable findings with black feminist thought and critical race theory, Potter offers a unique and significant window through which we can better understand this understudied though rampant social problem.

But I Love Him: Protecting Your Teen Daughter from Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships by Jill Murray [Amazon| Bookshop]

In But I Love Him, Dr. Murray identifies these controlling, abusive patterns of behavior and helps you get your daughter out of the relationship without alienating her. You will learn what draws her to this type of relationship, why she has a hard time talking to you about it, the special barriers teens face when breaking off a relationship, and what’s going on in the mind of a teen abuser. Dr. Murray will help you show your teen what a respectful relationship looks like and teach her the importance of respecting herself.

Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life (Interpersonal Violence) by Evan Stark [Amazon | Bookshop]

Coercive Control breaks through entrenched views of physical abuse that have ultimately failed to protect women. “Domestic violence” is neither primarily domestic nor necessarily violent, but a pattern of controlling behaviors more akin to terrorism and hostage-taking. Stark details coercive strategies that men use to deny women their very personhood and urges us to move beyond the injury model and focus on the real victimization that allows men to violate women’s human rights with impunity. Coercive Control reframes abuse as a liberty crime rather than a crime of assault and points the way to bringing “real” equality for women in line with their formal rights to personhood and citizenship, freedom and safety.

Sexual Violence

Naming the Violence: Speaking Out About Lesbian Battering by Lobel [Amazon | Unavailable on Bookshop]

Essays tell the stories of battered lesbians and discuss community organizing activities, support groups, and the possible causes of this form of domestic violence.

Woman-to-Woman Sexual Violence: Does She Call it Rape? by Lori B. Girshick [Amazon | Unavailable n Bookshop]

Lori B. Girshick exposes the shocking, hidden reality of woman-to-woman sexual violence and gives voice to the abused. Girshick explores the experiences and reflections of seventy women, documenting what happened to them, how they responded, and whether they received any help to cope with the emotional impact of their assault. The author discusses how the lesbian community has silenced survivors of sexual violence due to myths of lesbian utopia, and considers what role societal homophobia, biphobia, and heterosexism has played in this silencing.

Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching by Crystal N. Feimster [Amazon | Bookshop]

Between 1880 and 1930, close to 200 women were murdered by lynch mobs in the American South. Many more were tarred and feathered, burned, whipped, or raped. Crystal Feimster breaks new ground in her story of the racial politics of the postbellum South by focusing on the volatile issue of sexual violence. Pairing the lives of two Southern women―Ida B. Wells, who fearlessly branded lynching a white tool of political terror against southern blacks, and Rebecca Latimer Felton, who urged white men to prove their manhood by lynching black men accused of raping white women―Feimster makes visible the ways in which black and white women sought protection and political power in the New South. Southern Horrors provides a startling view into the Jim Crow South where the precarious and subordinate position of women linked black and white anti-rape activists together in fragile political alliances.

College Sexual Assault

Missoula by Jon Krakauer [Amazon | Bookshop]

From best-selling author Jon Krakauer, a stark, powerful, meticulously reported narrative about a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana – stories that illuminate the human drama behind the national plague of campus rape. The Department of Justice investigated 350 sexual assaults reported to the Missoula police between January 2008 and May 2012. Few of these assaults were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. Krakauer’s devastating narrative of what happened in Missoula makes clear why rape is so prevalent on American campuses and why rape victims are so reluctant to report assault. 

Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America by Diane Roberts [Amazon | Bookshop]

Florida State’s football team is always in the headlines, producing Heisman Trophy candidates, winning championships, and, at the same time, dealing with federal investigations into corruption and rape. Same as many big time collegiate sports programs. Seems no matter how the team transgresses off the field, if they excel on the field, everyone forgives them. Writer, professor and conflicted Seminole Diane Roberts looks at the problems plaguing her campus in Tallahassee, examining them within the context of college football itself and its significance in American life, and explores how the game shapes our culture.

Scoreboard, Baby: A story of college football, crime, and complicity by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry [Amazon | Bookshop]

In Scoreboard, Baby, the reader is taken behind the scenes of the Huskies Cinderella story to reveal a timeless morality tale about the price of obsession, the creep of fanaticism, and the ways in which a community can lose even when its team wins. The authors unearth the true story from firsthand interviews and thousands of pages of documents: the forensic report on a bloody fingerprint; the notes of a detective investigating allegations of rape; confidential memoranda of prosecutors; and the criminal records of the dozen-plus players arrested that year with scant mention in the newspapers and minimal consequences in the courts. The statement of a judge, sentencing one player to thirty days in jail, says it all: “to be served after football season.”

Fraternity by Alexandra Robbins [Amazon | Bookshop]

Fraternity is a vital book about the transition from boyhood to manhood; it brilliantly weaves psychology, current events, neuroscience, and interviews to explore the state of masculinity today and what that means for students and their parents. It’s a different kind of story about college boys, a story in which they candidly discuss sex, friendship, social media, drinking, peer pressure, gender roles, and even porn. And it’s a book about boys at a vulnerable age, living on their own for perhaps the first time. Boys who, in a climate that can stigmatize them merely for being male, don’t necessarily want to navigate the complicated, coming-of-age journey to manhood alone.

Human Trafficking

Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy by Barbara Ehrenreich [Amazon | Bookshop]

Confronting a range of topics from the fate of Vietnamese mail-order brides to the importation of Mexican nannies in Los Angeles, Global Woman offers an original look at a world increasingly shaped by mass migration and economic exchange. Collected and with an Introduction by bestselling social critics Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild, this groundbreaking anthology reveals a new era in which the main resource extracted from developing nations is no longer gold or silver, but love.

Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo by Rhacel Parreñas [Amazon | Bookshop]

Illicit Flirtations challenges our understandings of human trafficking and calls into question the U.S. policy to broadly label these women as sex trafficked. It highlights how in imposing top-down legal constraints to solve the perceived problems―including laws that push dependence on migrant brokers, guest worker policies that bind migrants to an employer, marriage laws that limit the integration of migrants, and measures that criminalize undocumented migrants―many women become more vulnerable to exploitation, not less. It is not the jobs themselves, but the regulation that makes migrants susceptible to trafficking.

Sexual Harassment

Breaking the Silence Habit: A Practical Guide to Uncomfortable Conversations in the #MeToo Workplace by Sarah Beaulieu [Amazon | Bookshop]

Sarah Beaulieu provides a new skills-based approach to addressing sexual harassment prevention and response in the workplace, including using underdeveloped skills like empathy, situational awareness, boundary setting, and intervention. Beaulieu outlines a five-part framework for having conversations about sexual harassment. By embracing these conversations, we can break the cycle of avoidance and silence that makes our lives and workplaces feel volatile and unsafe. Grounded in storytelling, humor, and dozens of real-life scenarios, this book introduces the idea of uncomfortable conversation as the core skill required to enable everyone to bring  their full talent and contributions to safe and respectful workplaces.

Post- #MeToo Anthologies

Believe Me by Jessica Valenti and Jaclyn Friedman [Amazon | Bookshop]

In Believe Me, contributors ask and answer the crucial question: What would happen if we didn’t just believe women, but acted as though they matter? If we take women’s experiences of online harassment seriously, it will transform the internet. If we listen to and center survivors, we could revolutionize our systems of justice. If we believe Black women when they talk about pain, we will save countless lives.With contributions from many of the most important voices in feminism today, Believe Me is an essential roadmap for the #MeToo era and beyond.

Yes Means Yes by Jessica Valenti and Jaclyn Friedman [Amazon | Bookshop]

In this groundbreaking new look at rape, feminist, political, and activist writers alike will present their ideas for a paradigm shift from the “No Means No” model—an approach that while necessary for where we were in 1974, needs an overhaul today. Yes Means Yes will bring to the table a dazzling variety of perspectives and experiences focused on the theory that educating all people to value female sexuality and pleasure leads to viewing women differently, and ending rape. Yes Means Yes aims to have radical and far-reaching effects: from teaching men to treat women as collaborators and not conquests, encouraging men and women that women can enjoy sex instead of being shamed for it, and ultimately, that our children can inherit a world where rape is rare and swiftly punished.

Not That Bad by Roxane Gay [Amazon | Bookshop]

In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” for speaking out. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.

For the Love of Men by Liz Plank [Amazon | Bookshop]

In 2019, traditional masculinity is both rewarded and sanctioned. This hasn’t been good for the culture at large: 99 percent of school shooters are male; men in fraternities are 300 percent (!) more likely to commit rape; a woman serving in uniform has a higher likelihood of being assaulted by a fellow soldier than to be killed by enemy fire. In For the Love of Men, Liz offers a smart, insightful, and deeply researched guide for what we’re all going to do about toxic masculinity. For both women looking to guide the men in their lives and men who want to do better and just don’t know how, For the Love of Men will lead the conversation on men’s issues in a society where so much is changing, but gender roles have remained strangely stagnant. What are we going to do about men? Liz Plank has the answer. And it has the possibility to change the world for men and women alike.

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