Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence

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

Best non-fiction of 2015

For my favourite fiction books of the year, go here.

I have always enjoyed reading non-fiction, particularly history books, memoirs, biographies and socio-political analysis. These are my favourite five from 2015 (in no particular order).

Rape: A South African Nightmare by Pumla Gqola
Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend by Arianna Stassinopoulos
The Dressing Station by Jonathan Kaplan
Goodbye Sarajevo by Akta Reid and Hana Schofield
Seminary Boy by John Cornwell

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