“Queering Sexual Violence is the anthology I wish I'd had at 13, at 21, last week. When I was in an abusive relationship in my 20s, I searched through all the books in the library in vain looking for some book that showed my story- two queer, tattooed, non-binary people of color in a relationship full of love, freedom struggle, trauma and scary violence. Queering Sexual Violence gives voice to the stories of folks who know that queer sexual violence happens in youth lockup, immigration detention hold, our bedrooms and families, that the vision of the white, cis, straight, middle class non-sex working able-bodied "perfect victim" is killing us, and gives a space for our queer and trans brilliance and freedom dreams to breathe a future of true safety and justice into being."
-- Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, author, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, Bodymap, Love Cake, co-editor, The Revolution Starts At Home
"This book is a fierce tenderness. This book begins the hard work of not writing violence, but unwriting it, giving our bodies back to us, moving our voices from silence to song."
-- Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children, Dora and The Chronology of Water
“Would it be a queer thing to live in a world free from sexual violence? I think so. And by queer I mean transformative. I am ready for that queer feeling of embodied freedom. Are you? The queer thing would be a future where we don't reproduce the systems of oppressions we are surviving right now. And I mean queer like the authors of this collection mean it, as a command. We must queer our days and queer our nights and queer our questions and queer our responses and most importantly queer our actions, QUEER!!! until the world we are experiencing is a world we recognize only from our wildest most luscious dreams. This is a book full of insight for and examples of how we can queer our relationships to justice and addressing harm, our relationships to our movements and each other.”
-- Alexis Pauline Gumbs, co-founder of UBUNTU (a women of color/survivor led coalition to end gendered violence), co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines
"Queering Sexual Violence cups the joy, power, and brutality of naming and healing, or not healing, from sexual violence. Too often, experiences of sexual violence become tight-lipped narratives laced with controlling images of gender, race, class, ability, and systems access. If you have survived or not survived sexual violence, and you don't fit the dominant images and/or can't access resources, what stories and possibilities grow beyond the binds of sexist and racist imagery and triumphant individualism? This book centers the stories often on the margins, opening and holding space for trans, queer, poor, nonwhite, and anti-racist white voices on sexual violence.”
-- Susannah Bartlow, educator, writer and activist
"One of the burdens of living in the margins of a culture is that recognition, if and when it finally comes, often comes in a voice not your own. It comes in the voice and language of the institutions and systems that have marginalized you. True visibility means self-representation and the most effective agents of social change--be they artists, activists, or editors of anthologies--understand this. This book brings a glorious chorus of voices from the queer community who are speaking for themselves--in story and ideology, poetry and polemic--and it is as dazzling and devastating and various as I know such people to be. To simply call them survivors is reductive; they are warriors, artists, lovers, and intellectuals--they are my favorite kind of people: ones who have survived with grace and gumption, whose bodies and minds have suffered violence and who have responded by healing and speaking out, by opening their hearts and lives to show us that it is possible. This is not just survival; it is activism on the most intimate level. It is proof that we can live in a broken world without losing ourselves, and without giving up on it."
-- Melissa Febos, author of the memoir, Whip Smart, and the essay collection, Abandon Me
"This is a dangerous, powerful anthology -- a new way of seeing and believing survivors without hiding our messy truths, our grief, and desires. Yes, this work queers sexual violence, but it also queers everything we know about healing. This book will change lives - I know it would have changed mine."
-- Leah Horlick, For Your Own Good
“Queering Sexual Violence questions the binaries—man and woman; victim and perpetrator; innocent and guilty—that have made spaces for survivors of sexual violence inaccessible to so many of us. For too long now, mainstream movements against sexual violence have operated under and perpetuated hierarchies of violence and victimhood, telling us what counts as harm and who deserves protection. After reading this book, I not only understood, but also felt more deeply, that consent, victimhood, and violence are not stable categories with simple definitions. We cannot tell those we love what has or has not been done to them; rather, we need to do the work of listening. The voices in this collection push me to hold the complexity of violence and survival without looking to simple solutions that erase so many people’s experiences.”
-- Grace Dunham, writer and activist
“In her introduction to this important collection, Jennifer Patterson writes: "Every person in this anthology is doing vital and radical work. We are filling in the gaps where systems, institutions, families, communities and partners have failed us. We are speaking our truths even when they aren't welcomed. Or even asked for." The courage it takes to put together an anthology, with such an acute sense of what is missing, from a cultural conversation about sexual and domestic violence in the queer community, is formidable. I offer my support to this necessary creative and critical work.”
-- Bhanu Kapil, Naropa University and Goddard College
“When our bodies and identities are sites of sexual violence and we have been denied the basic recognition of that which we have survived, Queering Sexual Violence is nothing short of life-saving testimony. To do the labor of truth telling, to weave the analysis born of the systemic erasure of one’s survival, to tear down the binaries surrounding survivor-hood that we never consented to, these are the undeniable integrities we bear witness to in Queering Sexual Violence. These are the stories that give us back to ourselves and challenge the anti-violence movement to fundamentally shift and embody the work to keep us all alive.”
-- Jai Dulani, co-editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities
“Jennifer Patterson’s timely and sensitive book, Queering Sexual Violence, is truly an original work of memoir, narrative nonfiction, poetry, and grace. By raising the voices of poor, trans and genderqueer people, sex workers, people of color (obviously overlapping categories) and more, Queering Sexual Violence pivots the center of the conversation about what sexual violence is and how we can resist, reject, reclaim, and redefine our lives. You will cry, laugh, smile --- and then you’ll want to take to the streets and act for all victims and survivors of sexual violence. Patterson is a master editor and the authors have done an outstanding job teaching us about their queer experiences. This book belongs on the shelf of any activist who cares about sexual violence.”
-- Stephanie Gilmore, Ph.D., Author, Educator & Activist
“Queering Sexual Violence is the much-needed book that has been simmering within the "violence against women" movement for decades. These testimonies don't just break silence; they bust it wide open in order to redefine, resist, and reclaim the movement to end intimate violence. They dismantle the false binaries between genders, between consent and coercion, and even between survivor and perpetrator. Editor Jennifer Patterson has skillfully and lovingly assembled a stunning diversity of voices, centering trans and gender non-conforming people and folks of color. This book is essential for us all in finding the way toward a healthy sexuality movement and a post-sexual-violence future.”
-- Minal Hajratwala, author & editor of Out! Stories from the New Queer India
"…shame, silence, isolation, shame, silence, isolation … again and again I’ve witnessed this ternion of cyclical coercers hinder us from sharing our survivor wisdom and evolving a sustainable collective healing movement. On a bad day, I myself will surrender to the pervasive messages that tell me there is something desperately wrong the ways I love, heal, use my voice and come together with survivor communities. On a good day, I am handed a resource like Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement. This remarkable anthology is a touchstone. It reminds us that both speaking up and hearing each other is an act of resistance; it is how we break shame, silence and isolation. This anthology is also a multi-voiced mentor, my understanding of healing from individual and systemic trauma evolved with each and every chapter."
-- Amber Dawn, author of How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler's Memoir
“Violence disrupts. Out of fear, trauma, and a desire to clean up and re-package survivorship the anti-sexual violence movement/support industry has created categories, boundaries, and norms that erase the experiences of survivors of color, trans survivors, queer survivors, survivors with disabilities, and all marginalized survivors. Queering Sexual Violence is a refreshingly complex and ambitious anthology striving to make room for the full experiences of sexual violence. With an analysis of structural oppression and highlighting the explicit violence of the criminal legal system, this anthology is a powerful charge to the anti-sexual violence movement to address the harm and erasure that the professionalization of the movement has caused. As a black queer organizer I see this book as a powerful tool for movement building. As a black queer survivor I am so damn thankful.”
-Ejeris Dixon, Founding Director of Vision Change Win Consulting
"In a movement saturated by strictly heteronormative understandings of violence against women, Queering Sexual Violence is a watershed moment for those of us whose bodies have been pushed to the margins. This anthology urges us to build new and expansive ways to think about violence in our queer and trans lives - and each of the 35 contributors help lay the groundwork for moving that thinking forward. Reading this book as a survivor, I felt seen – and as a longtime worker in the anti-violence against women non-profit world, I felt like I’d finally been given the perspective I’d been craving. This book records more than just a moment in our collective thoughts, it gives us the tools to think ourselves into a future in which we dismantle the systems that put us here in the first place.”
- Morgan M. Page, trans artist, activist, and cultural worker
“This is an informative and useful book on an important subject our community is reluctant to face– rape. Here you will learn about the impact sexual assaults have on our queer lives no matter where they originated—from when we were kids, from heterosexual encounters, or from deep in the beating hearts of our own relationships. I highly recommend Queering Sexual Violence as a book to snag off this bookshelf and devour. Tell your friends.”
-- Jane Eaton Hamilton, author of Weekend
"Sexual violence and trauma permeate in places where we are most tender and driven. What happens when our communities, families, and those most intimate internalize systemic and state harm? How can we debunk the myths of “good survivor” and who gets to claim that experience anyway? Queering Sexual Violence engages truth in a stunning multidimensional approach of poetry, storytelling, political strategy, & collective reflection brazen with testimony. In an evolving social justice culture, this text dares to address the trauma, hold the responses and losses, and carve space for achy complexity. In doing so, this book centralizes those most affected and marginalized. As a trans, gender non-conforming, disabled, brown survivor, who’s witnessed sexual violence among comrades, who’s been informed by & caused harm, one who's felt erased by social service providers-- the words in this anthology are beyond text, they offer an honest compass to help to repair and regenerate. Queering Sexual Violence goes beyond what has been polarized or structurally possible and seeks to be a liberatory resource we’ve needed for quite some time."
-- Kay Ulanday Barrett, nationally recognized poet, educator, and cultural worker
“Over the past decade there has been an escalating proliferation of books addressing the epidemic of sexual violence. It would be tempting to celebrate as the conversation grows more boisterous, but the reality is that even in a conversation about power and violence, silencing still occurs. Even among survivors, some stories are heard while others are ignored. The general public still struggles to understand trauma and healing even though there have never been more resources available to comprehend the epidemic.
The gift of Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement is the extraordinary grounding and vision of its contributors who centralize and expound on the systematic power that feeds the social and moral disease of rape and sexual violence, as it is experienced by the most marginalized survivors and advocates. By queering this heteropatriarchal conversation, the possibilities of healing and reflection are endless.
There is still so much to learn and unlearn about violence and healing, and this anthology is an incredible resource to help the reader do both. Jennifer Patterson has orchestrated an incredible symphony of voices to underscore the landscape and realities of what is happening inside the movement to eradicate sexual violence. Queering Sexual Violence is the beginning to a new and overdue conversation. This book teaches us how to deepen our consciousness, believe survivors, and simply evolve as a human being.”
-- Lisa Factora-Borchers, writer and editor of the anthology, "Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence"
“This long-awaited and much-needed anthology queers the cultural conversation about sexual violence and sexual abuse. In Queering Sexual Violence, editor Jennifer Patterson has gathered essays that tangle with and complicate the stories that we as a society tell about sexual violence: that it's a male-female problem, that queers are not perpetrators, that queer space is always safe space. These poems, stories, and essays are songs of resistance, truth-tellings, visionings of a different future, as well as calls-and-response with and maps for those queer survivors who are (unfortunately) following us on the path of healing and recovery. The structure of the text itself offers up the editor's and authors' visions for this book's impact: Redefining, Reclaiming, Resisting, and Reimagining – these pieces give voice to the lives and realities of queer survivors of color, trans* survivors, femme survivors, kinky survivors, those who have been abused by women, those who are survivors of abuse at the hands of other queer folks. The book questions the “solutions” of incarceration and isolation that many of in the mainstream sexual abuse industrial complex have favored. Many of the pieces wrangle with the myth of the “good” survivor, striving to dismantle a narrative that still dictates what a survivor of sexual violence must do or say or be in order to be believed, in order to deserve support and empathy, in order to deserve to heal. We survive and heal in innumerably, queerly beautiful ways, we all deserve a whole liberation, and we all deserve to heal.”
-- Jennifer Cross, writer, editor, and founder of Writing Ourselves Whole