Books to Read During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the team at Prevention Innovations Research Center is committed to keeping the conversation going all month (and year) long. We find that literature can often help us talk about difficult topics. Here are several books we recommend to help you start a conversation. We have also provided links to reading guides, discussion questions, and interviews with authors for each of the books listed.

we-believe-you-annie-clark-andrea-pino-3d-1 (1).jpgWe Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out
By: Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino

A powerful collection of 36 true stories of survival, healing, and everyday activism from survivors of campus sexual assault, representing diversity of race, economic and family backgrounds, gender identities, interests, and capacities.

Click here for FAQs about the book.

51n6YlupRmL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus
By: Vanessa Grigoriadis

Grigoriadis travels across the country, interviewing college students, administrators, parents, and researchers about their experiences with sex and sexual assault on campus.  Her investigation presents a host of new truths and dispels myths and conflicting statistics related to rape and sexual violence on campus, and demonstrates how the long-standing rules of sex and power are being rewritten by the new generation of college students.

Click here for an interview with the author.

9780671021009_p0_v1_s550x406She’s Come Undone
By: Wally Lamb

Dolores Price recounts her life from age four to age 40.  After her parents separation and her mother’s mental breakdown, Dolores moves to her repressive grandmother’s house in Rhode Island. By the time she reaches eighth grade, she has only one friend, a boarder who eventually rapes her. Anesthetizing herself with junk food and soap operas, Dolores becomes an obese, isolated young woman who attempts suicide during her first semester in college and spends seven years in a mental institution. Ultimately, the heroine develops self-esteem, and finds love she was always searching for.

Click here for a reading guide and list of discussion questions.

9781449474256_p0_v11_s600x595Milk and Honey
By: Rupi Kaur
Poetry Collection

A collection of poetry and prose about survival and the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.  The book is divided into four chapters: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing.

Click here for an interview with the author.



9780345514400_p0_v2_s550x406.jpgI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
By: Maya Angelou

Angelou’s coming-of-age story illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. The book begins when three-year-old Maya and her older brother are sent to Stamps, Arkansas, to live with their grandmother and ends when Maya becomes a mother at the age of 16. In the course of the book, Maya transforms from a victim of racism into a self-possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice.

Click here for a reading guide and list of discussion questions.

9780062362599_p0_v3_s550x406.jpgHunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
By: Roxane Gay

Gay describes her experience of her body and her relationship to food and weight, particularly in the aftermath of being gang-raped at 12 years-old. Gay gained weight in the wake of her trauma, as both a means of comfort and of protecting herself from the world. The memoir explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

Click here for an interview with the author.

i-have-the-right-to-9781534425712_lgI Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope
By: Chessy Prout and Jenn Abelson

In 2014, Chessy Prout was a freshman at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, when a senior boy sexually assaulted her as part of a ritualized game of conquest. Chessy bravely reported her assault to the police and testified against her attacker in court. Then, in the face of unexpected backlash from her once-trusted school community, she shed her anonymity to help other survivors find their voice.

Click here for a reading guide and list of discussion questions.

9781476789644_p0_v2_s550x406.jpgLuckiest Girl Alive
By: Jessica Knoll

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job,expensive wardrobe, and handsome fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. Yet the question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for, or will it set her free?

Click here for a reading guide and list of discussion questions.

Do you have any book suggestions to add to our #SAAM reading list?
Email us at and let us know what you are reading this month!

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