Women for Women International is dedicated to improving the lives of millions of the most marginalized women who have been affected by international conflict and war.
According to the United Nations Human Rights’ Office of the High Commissioner, conflict increases the risk faced by women and girls of experiencing violence. A woman who survives violent conflict lives through sexual violence, brutality, extreme poverty and loss.
Our16 Days of Activism campaign encourages WfWI supporters to participate in daily actions that promote awareness of violence against women (VAW). As part of our campaign, we crafted a list of books to assist in our mission, because education about the impact of VAW through the experiences of survivors is #WhatMakesUsStronger.
Note: Please be advised that some of the books contain graphic detail of sexual violence, loss of children and torture.
The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State by Nadia Murad
Nadia Murad was twenty-one years old when ISIS invaded the northern Iraqi village of Kocho, where she lived with her family. Gathering the villagers and murdering the men and aging women who refused to convert to Islam, she would lose six of her brothers and her mother to the deadly invasion. Nadia is part of a group of women forcibly taken to Mosul and enslaved by ISIS fighters, where she endures repeated physical abuse and sexual assault. She shares her story of escape through this book, while emphasizing the importance of ISIS militants facing justice for their brutal crimes and genocide against the Yazidi community.
Mayada: Daughter of Iraq by Mayada Al-Askari and Jean Sasson
The life of Mayada Al-Askari begins with an abundance of wealth and safety as a member of one of the most elite families of Iraq. However, after ex-dictator Saddam Hussein's rise to power she is arrested, accused of treason and taken to the Baladiyat prison in Baghdad, notorious for its abject cruelty. Imprisoned in Cell 52 without a trial, she exchanges stories of life before detainment with the "shadow women” in the cell while enduring torment, interrogations and torture. These conversations frame Mayada’s story of survival during one of the darkest times of Iraq’s history, and are now brought to the world.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Set in rural Georgia in the early 20th Century, The Color Purple is a collection of letters written to God by Celie, a fourteen-year-old girl living through severe abuse. She has just given birth to a second child after repeatedly being sexually assaulted by her father and is placed in a forced marriage to an abusive man. Enduring the abusive marriage after separation from her sister, whom she is closest to, Celie finds a community of support in the women she encounters, who are also subjected to the cycle of mistreatment and marginalization enforced against Black women in their community. Through their support, Celie forms bonds which encourage her to embrace her value and reach for hope.
Nobody's Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs and Trolls by Carrie Goldberg
Victim’s Rights Lawyer Carrie Goldberg shares the experience that led her to quit her job and establish C.A. Goldberg, PLLC, where she advocates for and defends her clients against incidents of blackmail, assault, extortion, stalking and sexual violence. This “call to arms” includes some of her most groundbreaking cases, her advocacy and work to develop laws against cyber sexual abuse, and how she has empowered her clients to become “powerful warriors” who fight back against the perpetrators and systems complicit in their attacks.
Our Bodies Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women by Christina Lamb
Journalist Christina Lamb sheds light on the prevalence of rape as a weapon of war through the accounts of women who survived the Rwandan Genocide, World War II, and the invasion of Iraqi communities by ISIS. Each unflinching account depicts the reality of women who contend with loss and trauma in the aftermath of conflict and sexual violence. Lamb also details the bravery of those who have risked their lives to rescue and provide aid to sexual assault survivors during wartime, and the group of women who pursue justice against war criminals.
No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder
15% of violent crime that occurs in America is domestic violence, yet the devastating effects that it can leave on entire communities are not fully recognized. In No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us, journalist and American University professor Rachel Louise Snyder gives the reader an opportunity to gain awareness about this “global epidemic” through sharing the experiences of domestic violence survivors and the people in their lives, analyzing the factors that contribute to the prevalence of domestic violence and what action is necessary to undertake the fight against this epidemic.