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Rape Narratives

The following discussion offers suggestions for fiction, memoirs,
and other literature that include narratives of rape.  The
discussion took place on WMST-L in November 2004.  For other
WMST-L files now available on the Web, see the
WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 17:12:26 -0500
From: Kathy Miriam <kmim AT EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: narratives of rape

A student of mine is looking for good books that include "rape
narratives": I suggested Susan Brison's book, Aftermath and Robin
Warsaw's I never called it rape (I'm not actually sure if this
includes narratives; i'm assuming it does).  She has read that memoir
of rape by the author of the lovely Bones-

Do any of you have other suggestions?  thanks in advance,

Kathy Miriam
kmim  AT  earthlink.net
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:04:59 -0800
From: Janni Aragon <jannilaragon AT SHAW.CA>
Subject: Re: narratives of rape
After the Silence: Rape and My Journey Back by Nancy Venable

From Amazon and I'm not sure if all of these include narratives:
  a.. Recovering From Rape by Linda E. Ledray
  b.. Telling : A Memoir of Rape and Recovery by Patricia Weaver Francisco
  c.. I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and
Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape by Robin Warshaw
  d.. The Truth About Rape by Teresa M. Lauer
  e.. Hours of Torture, Years of Silence : My Soul Was the Scene of the
Crime by Teresa Lauer
  f.. Sexual Assault: Will I Ever Feel Okay Again? by Kay Scott
Hope this helps.
Janni Aragon
jannilaragon  AT  shaw.ca
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 21:51:09 -0500
From: Susan B Marine <marine AT FAS.HARVARD.EDU>
Subject: Re: narratives of rape
some suggestions:

Just Sex: Students Rewrite the Rules on Sex, Violence, Activism, and Equality --
by Jodi Gold, Susan Villari

After Silence : Rape & My Journey Back

Surviving the Silence: Black Women's Stories of Rape
by Charlotte Pierce-Baker

Hope this helps,

susan marine
marine  AT  fas.harvard.edu
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 12:23:03 +0530
From: Naomi Graetz <graetz AT BGUMAIL.BGU.AC.IL>
Subject: Re: narratives of rape
Kathy: I don't know if this is what your student is looking for, but
the following are personal narratives (or in the first person).

1)Laura Levitt, "Speaking out of the Silence around Rape: A Personal
  Account." Fireweed: A Feminist Quarterly 41 (Fall 1993): 20-31.

2)Laura Levitt, "A Mikvah Ceremony for Laura," (co-authored with Rabbi
  Sue Ann Wasserman) in Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality:
  A Sourcebook. Ed. Ellen Umansky and Dianne Ashton. (Beacon Press,
  1992), pp. 321-326.

3)Laura Levitt,Jews and Feminism: The Ambivalent Search for Home (NY: Routledge, 1997).

4)Naomi Graetz, "A Daughter in Israel is Raped," S/He Created Them
  (see signature below).

5)Jill Hammer, "Shimon's Prison," "Sisters at Sinai," (Philadelphia:
  Jewish Publication Society, 2001):84-103.

6)Sophia Benjamin, "God and Abuse: A Survivor's Story," Four Centuries (see above)
I recommend as well:

7) Rebecca Campbell, Emotionally Involved: The Impact of Researching
   Rape (NY: Routledge, 2002)

8) Laura Tanner, Intimate Violence: Reading Rape and Torture in 20th
Century Fiction.  You might also want to look up Julie Pfau, a
graduate student at Emory, on google; she is doing her work in this
area and might be willing to share.  Good hunting, Naomi Graetz

Naomi Graetz
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
graetz  AT  bgumail.bgu.ac.il
Author of
The Rabbi's Wife Plays at Murder (Shiluv Press, 2004)
Pre-publication orders: graetz  AT  bgumail.bgu.ac.il
Unlocking the Garden: A Feminist Jewish Look at the Bible, Midrash and God (Gorgias Press, 2005)
Pre-publication online orders: www.gorgiaspress.com
S/He Created Them: Feminist Retellings of Biblical Tales (Gorgias Press, 2003)
Online orders: www.gorgiaspress.com
Silence is Deadly:Judaism Confronts Wifebeating (Jason Aronson, 1998)
Online Orders   http://www.rowmanlittlefield.com/
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 06:33:42 -0800
From: Tamara Agha-Jaffar <tamara_aghajaffar AT YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: narratives of rape
See also Susan J. Brison's Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of the
Self.  Princeton UP, 2002.

all best.

Tamara Agha-Jaffar, Professor of English
Kansas City Kansas Community College
7250 State Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66112
taghajaf  AT  toto.net
tamara_aghajaffar  AT  yahoo.com
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 07:17:41 -0800
From: Niamh Reilly <niamh1reilly AT YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: narratives of rape
Crimes Against Women: Proceedings of the International Tribunal (1984)
edited by Diana Russell contains several first-person accounts of
rape.  (It is out of print but available second hand and directly from
the editor).

Testimonies of the Global Tribunal on Violations of Women's Human
Rights (1994) edited by Niamh Reilly also contains first-person
testimonies of rape (including in contexts of war).  It is available
from the Center for Women's Global Leadership --


Niamh Reilly
Postdoctoral Fellow
Women's Studies and Politics
University of Limerick
niamh1reilly  AT  yahoo.com
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 10:44:35 -0500
From: Miriam Wallace <mwallace AT NCF.EDU>
Subject: narratives of rape
Dear Kathy:

Is your student looking for factual accounts, personal stories and
memoirs, or powerful fictive accounts?  Most of the suggestions thus
far have been personal-memoir type or partly analysis.  There are many
many good fictional (or partly fictionalized) narratives.  Most of
them will be fairly modern, only because the conception of rape
changes over time.

Fiction or semi-autobiographical fiction:

Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

and of course, the film w/Jodi Foster, am I correct in remembering it
as The Accused??

Historical information:

Randolph Trumbach, Sex and the Gender Revolution,
vol. 1

and Anna Clark, The Struggle for the Breeches, 
both detail important shifts in how rape narratives
were told and understood in the English court system (sorry, I work on
Britain mostly)--that are quite helpful in contrasting actual legal
cases and how they were discussed with fictionalized accounts of
"seduction" or "libertine" narratives. Both also detail the real
treatment of working class women, who barely show up in literary

There are some interesting early narratives from the late 1700s when
the concept is getting some attention:

for the seduction version, Choderlos de la Clos's Dangerous
Liaisons has an interesting one, and Mary Hays's
Victim of Prejudice is partly an attack on the common
view that the raped woman could do no better than to marry her rapist
(in 1799 no less!).  Mary Wollstonecraft's Maria, or the
Wrongs of Woman (1798) is another important fictional
account, and about the only early one of a working class woman's rape
by her master.

For sociological work on rape survivors and how they tell their
stories effectively in the court system, take a look at the work of
Amanda Konradi, esp. "Preparing to Testify".

-Miriam Wallace
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 11:46:10 -0500
From: Jen McWeeny <jmcweeny AT jcu.edu>
Subject: Re: narratives of rape
Dear Kathy,
Doe Tabor's _Do Drums Beat There?_ is a great novel that
begins with and follows the main character's rape narrative.
Jen McWeeny
Ms. Jen McWeeny
Department of Philosophy
John Carroll University
20700 North Park Blvd.
University Heights, OH 44118
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 11:43:16 -0800
From: pjkafka <pjkafka AT earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: narratives of rape
Some suggestions from cultures other than the U.S.

Nawal al Sadaawi, Woman at Point Zero (Egypt)
Shashi Deshpande, The Dark Holds No Terrors (India) [rape by husband]
Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine (India/U.S.)
Amy Tan, The Kitchen God's Wife (China/U.S.) [rape by husband]
Buchi Emecheta, The Rape of Shavi (Nigeria)

Dr. Phillipa Kafka
Professor Emerita, English
Kean University

Dr. Phillipa Kafka
Professor Emerita, English
Kean University
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 12:38:26 -0800
From: lisa dettmer <cositas1 AT COMCAST.NET>
Subject: Re: narratives of rape
A book that i find enormously powerful in describing how rape under
slavery in the US is passed down psychically through generations is the
book "Corregidora" by Gayl Jones, a book that is beautifully written
by an author that is too often overlooked.

lisa dettmer
cositas1  AT  comcast.net
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 17:43:21 -0500
From: Claire Kaplan <cnk2r AT VIRGINIA.EDU>
Subject: Re: WMST-L Digest - 10 Nov 2004 to 11 Nov 2004 (#2004-295)
In addition to the wonderful books previously listed, I recommend:

I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing From Sexual Assault
and Abuse by Lori S. Robinson, which includes her own story of rape.

Claire Kaplan

Claire N. Kaplan, Ph.D.
Director, Sexual and Domestic Violence Services
UVA Women's Center
P.O. Box 800588
Charlottesville VA 22908-0588
ckaplan  AT  virginia.edu

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