Reading book while drinking coffee

Being designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the month of April serves as an opportunity for those impacted by sexual violence to receive the help and find the healing they may need.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in five women living in the United States are sexually assaulted by someone they trust or know, at some point in their lives.

Although the statistic pertains to women, sexual assault is not just limited to women, as men and those identifying as non-gender binary also have experiences with sexual assault.

Below are books written about sexual violence, trauma and healing that survivors and people who work with survivors recommend people to read to have a better understanding of these topics.

  • It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn

This book explores the recent scientific research that shows how traumatic experiences can be passed down through family generations and not just impact a single family member, but many. Wolynn suggests ways for people to self-identify the trauma through everyday living and for people to develop genograms, which are extended family trees, to understand and pinpoint experiences from previous generations.

  • The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk

This book looks at how traumatic stress has had an impact on society and guides readers on understanding and treating traumatic stress. Kolk is considered one of the leading experts on trauma and throughout the book, he offers a new paradigm for trauma treatments, explains how drug addictions and therapies are discussed and develops a new approach to helping heal a person’s mind, brain and body.

  • Women: Body Positive Art to Inspire and Empower by Carol Rossetti

The images illustrated and found within this book by Rossetti depict women and their womanhood. Those depicted have found ways to express themselves and their experiences, whether through their fashion, sexual identity, relationships or even traumatic experiences. The book gives affirmations to the women and their respective journeys.

  • We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out by Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino

The two authors, Clark and Pino, began their activism in 2013 as students at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as survivors of sexual assault. The women filed a federal complaint against the university for mishandling the reported assaults. Before long, other universities along with University of North Carolina were under investigation over their handling of assaults. The book highlights the voices of survivors from schools across the nation and their experiences at their respective schools.

  • American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus by Lisa Wade

Wade explores the ins and outs of the hookup culture found across college campuses and the cultural shifts on gender norms. While looking at the newly developed sex culture on campus, Wade also looks at the negative effects of the culture, such as competition for status and sexual violence, and discusses the impact from different social categories, such as gender, class and race.

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