As Brett M. Kavanaugh faces allegations of sexual assault, many are focusing on what this means for his nomination as Supreme Court Justice. Coupled with his stance on reproductive justice and Roe v. Wade in the time of the #metoo movement, the allegation further adds fuel to what his nomination will mean for the protection of women’s rights overall.

This should be a moment for us to reconsider the lives of those who have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape. The necessity to define the difference between these offenses is clear as it can hopefully shed light on steps toward prevention.

Below are books about women who have overcome the damaging effects of abusive relationships and experiences at the hands of strangers or partners, at home or at school or in jail. Their lives help us realize the enormity of violence that some women have enduredand how they come out on the other side.

Decriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence by Leigh Goodmark

“A profound contribution to legal scholarship, the public policy debates, and, perhaps most importantly, the activist anti-violence community looking for social justice solutions.” —Beth E. Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation

“A brave and decisive critique of our commitment to governing the problem of domestic violence through crime control and an alternative vision for protecting victims.”Jonathan Simon, author of Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America




In Search of Safety: Confronting Inequality in Women’s Imprisonment by Barbara Owen, James Wells, Joycelyn Pollock 

“The authors provide a sound rationale for their proposed solutions, and they are likely to be applauded by many critical criminologists exposed to them.”—Critical Criminology

“Shows the profound neglect and violence women face in the criminal justice system, and the unique ways in which gender compounds the punishment of confinement. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to see justice-involved women regain their human and civil rights in the United States and beyond.”—Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison

Read more about Barbara’s thoughts on why women in prison need a movement too.


Caught Up: Girls, Surveillance, and Wraparound Incarceration by Jerry Flores

“Flores brilliantly demonstrates how schools and carceral institutions become inextricably connected to form a ubiquitous system of punitive control, leading to bleak outcomes in the lives of marginalized girls.”—Victor Rios, author of Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys 

“The book ends with concrete experiences from Latinas who have been able to leave the criminal justice system and those who have not—highlighting Flores’s main finding that increased contact with criminal justice agencies reduces the possibilities of escaping from them.”CHOICE

Read more on how Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” perpetuates sexual violence against women.



Journeys: Resilience and Growth for Survivors of Intimate Partner Abuse by Susan L. Miller

“The enormity of violence against women means womanhood cannot be understood without hearing how girls and women make sense of pain long after their escape from these damaging relationships. Miller’s work lets us hear these missing voices as they remake their lives. Journeys also powerfully documents the ways that the criminal justice system fails girls and women. A must read.” —Meda Chesney-Lind, Professor, Women’s Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa

“Through their searing testimony and her ability to translate their lessons of resilience into policy reform proposals, she does a service to research and activism.” —Rosemary Barberet, Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Read more from Susan on resilience and growth after adversity.