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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor by Karen Moe is a powerful, immersive memoir about patriarchal hierarchy and how it allows a climate for abuse to occur and go under-addressed. This book is several things at once: It's a compelling survival story of a vibrant young woman being stripped of her easy-going nature by capture and rape. It's also a story of the violation of trust between the author and her father, and the dynamics of communication and healing that came while he was dying. But far more than an account of abuse, it's elevated to a cry and demand for social justice for women and other victims in a world where male-oriented machinations rule.
Moe writes with painful honesty that needs to be heard by men and women alike. She took what would break most people and turned it into a clarion call. This memoir serves as a powerful tool for awareness and advocacy--a voice for the voiceless. Her personal account is raw with details, and you can't help but respect what she had to do to survive and bring her attacker to justice. I like the many points she makes, like how women have almost accepted victimization as a given or rite of passage, something to be expected; and the way that society accepts, minimizes, and covers up the corrupt attitudes and practices when it comes to crimes and exploitation of women. Another powerful part is about the toxicity of suppressed pain. Where a lot of women would accept their fate, Moe has turned it into a saving grace and weapon of choice. As she says in her book, a victim can also be a hero.
As a former social worker, I'd like to say that using one's abuse as a way to help others takes dignity, insight, and grace. No doubt this book will go a long way in fixing our broken system, or at least bring attention to it. She doesn't come off as naively expecting overnight changes, however. Most real change happens in increments over time. But time is really a commodity that victims can't afford or endure much longer. If you like books that could change the world, you will love Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor by Karen Moe.