A few years ago, I was at a writers’ conference for women. We were from different disciplines and what brought us together was an awareness that academia – much like the rest of the world – was still an old boys’ club. At dinner one evening, at a table of about ten women, we talked about our work and interests. Inevitably, our conversation turned to sexual violence, and it became apparent very quickly that pretty much every woman at that table had survived childhood sexual violence. We came from different sub-Saharan countries, and also different class and race backgrounds, and yet we could all attest to the reality that we had grown up in a world where our bodies were public property, and that as children, the feeling of being physically unsafe – particularly from older men – was a daily experience.
Here is a a highly recommended personal account of a woman writing on this topic: Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence