"We often try to separate the personal from the professional and the political from the academic. I have learned over and over that this is a false and disempowering dichotomy." – Julie Macfarlane
The #MeToo movement is far from over. At all levels of society, systemic forces are still at work to stop women in their tracks, block their access to justice, and silence their experiences of violence and abuse.
To accompany our Silence Breakers author event series, this reading list centres the voices of women who risked their lives and careers to take powerful institutions, systems, and individuals to account. What emerges is the beginning of a blueprint for future activism, distilled from their many failures, successes, insights, and frustrations.
It took Julie Macfarlane a lifetime to say the words out loud—the words that finally broke the calm and traveled farther than she could have imagined. In this clear-eyed memoir, she confronts her own silence and deeply rooted trauma to chart a remarkable course from sexual abuse victim to agent of change. Drawing upon decades of legal training, Macfarlane decodes the well-worn methods used by church, school, and state to silence survivors, from first reporting to cross-examination to non-disclosure agreements.
For over a decade, Julie Lalonde kept a secret. As an award-winning advocate for women’s rights, she criss-crossed the country, denouncing violence against women and giving hundreds of media interviews along the way. But while appearing fearless on the surface, Julie met every interview and event with the same fear in her gut: was he here? Resilience Is Futile is a story of survival, courage, and ultimately, hope. But it is also a challenge to the ways we understand trauma and resilience. It is the story of one survivor who won’t give up and refuses to shut up.
Leslie Kern wants your city to be feminist. Feminist City: A Field Guide combines memoir, feminist theory, pop culture, and geography to expose what is hidden in plain sight: the social inequalities built right into our cities, homes, and neighbourhoods. Taking on fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, and the joys and perils of being alone, Kern maps the city from new vantage points. From the geography of rape culture to the politics of snow removal, the city is an ongoing site of gendered struggle. Yet the city is perhaps also our best hope for shaping new social relations based around care and justice.
With women’s anger, empowerment, and the critical importance of intersectional feminism taking center stage in much of the dialogue happening in feminist spaces right now, an anthology like this has never been more important. The voices in this collection of essays and interviews offer perspectives and experiences that help women find common ground, unity, and allyship. Through personal essays and interviews about what it is like to live as a woman (cis + trans) in this modern world, All of Me includes vulnerable, painful truths and bold inspiration from contributors such as Silvia Federici, Michelle Cruz Gonzales, Ariel Gore, Laurie Penny, and more.
Libby Davies has worked steadfastly for social justice both inside parliament and out on the streets for more than four decades. Davies looks back on her remarkable life and career with candid humour and heart-rending honesty. Her astute political analysis offers an insider’s perspective that never loses touch with the people she fights alongside. Outside In is both a political and personal memoir of Davies’ forty years of work at the intersection of politics and social movements.
The Fight for Adoption Disclosure and the Search for My Son
In the late 1960s, at the age of eighteen and living far from home, Marilyn Churley got pregnant. Faced with few options, she gave the baby up for adoption. Over twenty years later, as the Ontario NDP government’s minister responsible for all birth, death, and adoption records, Churley found herself in a surprising and powerful position: fully engaged in the battle to reform adoption disclosure laws and find her son. Shameless is a powerful memoir about a mother’s struggle with loss, love, secrets, and lies—and an adoption system shrouded in shame.
Taking the Rap
Women Doing Time for Society’s Crimes
When Ann Hansen was arrested in 1983 along with the four other members of the radical anarchist group known as the Squamish Five, her long-time commitment to prison abolition suddenly became much more personal. Now, she could see firsthand the brutal effects of imprisonment on real women’s lives. In Taking the Rap, she shares gripping stories of women caught in a system that treats them as disposable.
Radical activist, thinker, and comrade of Walter Rodney, Andaiye was one of the Caribbean’s most important political voices. For the first time, her writings are published in one collection. Through essays, letters, and journal entries, Andaiye’s thinking on the intersections of gender, race, class, and power are powerfully articulated, Caribbean histories emerge, and stories from a life lived at the barricades are revealed. Featuring forewords by Clem Seecharan and Robin DG Kelley, these texts will become vital tools in our own struggles to “overcome the power relations that are embedded in every unequal facet of our lives.”
Following the U.S. Congress’s attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion launched a grassroots storytelling movement, inspiring countless individuals to share their stories in art, media, and community events. Shout Your Abortion is a collection of photos, essays, and creative work, a template for building new communities of healing, and a call to action. This book illuminates the individuals who have breathed life into this movement, illustrating the profound liberatory and political power of defying shame and claiming sole authorship of our experiences.