Books to help us understand domestic abuse and VAWG

Domestic abuse is rooted in systemic gender inequality and the only way we’ll see an end to it is by making the right connections and widening our understanding of its nature and impact. For #16days we’ve put together books which fuel the work we do. How deeply are violence against women and girls and domestic abuse embedded in our society and how deeply do they affect us individually and collectively?

There is a lot to tackle, and that can be daunting, we know!

But knowledge is power and books are a good place to start, so here is a non exhaustive list of our recommendations:

“Power and Control” by Sandra Horley

Sandra Horley draws on over 20 years supporting victims and survivors to provide an insight into the reality behind the mask of the charming man. The book’s aim is to show women they are not alone and to help them walk away from the confusing, dangerous situation they find themselves in.

”Not That Bad” by Roxanne Gay

A collection of essays that explore what it means to live in a world where women are frequently belittled and harassed due to their gender, and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.

“Everyday Sexism” by Laura Bates

This bold, jaunty, intelligent and game-changing book is the first to give a collective online voice to the protest against sexism. It’s a juggernaut of stories from all over, often shocking, sometimes amusing and always poignant – a must read for everyone.

”Women & Power” by Mary Beard

In Women & Power, Mary Beard traces the origins of misogyny to its ancient roots, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated strong women since time immemorial.

“Living With The Dominator” by Pat Craven

This is the book we use with the women we support who take part in The Freedom programme. It explains violent and abusive behaviour and places it in a social context. It can help readers to change their own behaviour and to recognise when they are being controlled.

“Trauma and Recovery” by Judith Herman

Trauma and Recovery is a powerful book that has profoundly impacted the way we think about and treat traumatic events and trauma victims.

Outspoken series which includes:
1. “Feminism Interrupted” by Lola Olufemi
shows that when ‘feminist’ is more than a label, it holds the potential for radical transformative work.
2. “Mask Off” by JJ Bola is an urgent call to unravel masculinity and redefine it.
3. “Behind Closed Doors” by Natalie Fiennes invests in a radical, inclusive and honest sex education, identifying inequality that stands in the way of sexual freedom

“Whole Again” by Jackson MacKenzie

Whole Again offers hope and multiple strategies to anyone who has survived a toxic relationship, as well as anyone suffering the effects of a breakup involving lying, cheating and other forms of abuse – to release old wounds and safely let the love back inside where it belongs.

“Look What You Made Me Do” by Helen Walmsley-Johnson

Look What You Made Me Do is a candid and gripping memoir of how Helen was trapped by a charming abuser, twice. It’s a vital guide to recognising, understanding and surviving this sinister form of abuse and its often terrible legacy. It is also an inspirational account of how one woman found the courage to walk away.