Imagine being a carefree, independent young woman enjoying life. Your bold, adventurous spirit pulls you to travel to distant locales. Then out of nowhere, you’re abducted, assaulted, and raped. That is the terror-filled experience that Karen Moe survived almost thirty years ago.
But this is not a crime story. This is not even just a survivor's tale. Instead, this is a manifesto. In dialogue with other feminists and through case studies from around the world, Moe uses her trauma to shine a light on how not only violence against women, but all exploitation, is a natural result of patriarchal hierarchy. Yes, this is Moe’s story of triumph over violence, but it is also a call-to-action for both men and women.
During the process of writing, Moe’s father was dying. She relates with raw candor the complex relationship between a father and a daughter where, through a cycle of abuse and forgiveness, “he groomed me as a perfect victim. And as the perfect survivor, too.”
Moe’s direct, unflinching memoir allows readers a glimpse at the adventurous but uncertain person she was prior to the assault. That narrative explodes with stunning detail as she is tricked, strangled, bound and abducted. Raped repeatedly in the horrifying span of nearly twenty-four hours, the story evolves into one of empowerment and survival as Moe tricks the serial rapist into letting her go. “As far as I was concerned, I was already dead. And, strangely enough, little did I know then, thinking I was dead was starting to give me power—I had nothing to lose.”
Moe recounts the courageous lengths she went to, returning after her escape to collect evidence, putting herself in further danger. These efforts would be instrumental in putting her attacker behind bars for life. Moe, not one to shy away from hard truths, uses her attack as a launching pad to examine the ways women are both conditioned to be victims and the excuses society makes for toxic male behavior.
The ultimate goal of Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor is to provide tools for resistance against a culture of exploitation. “In the end, what I have suffered and survived has given me a gift. Now, resistance, fighting for justice, is what I live for. My life is far bigger than myself.”
“Victim is a brutally honest account of not only one women’s rape but the brutal reality of violence and the routine sexual exploitation of women. Without false optimism, Karen Moe finds authentic hope in her experience and the struggle to make this broken world safe for women and children.” Robert Jensen author of The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men.
“Victim will sound in your blood and psyche forever as you learn to see the world through unveiled and awakened eyes.” Catherine Owen author of fifteen books including Riven and Locations of Grief: Emotional Landscapes.
“This story is honest in so many ways. Like nearly every other woman will, I take Victim very seriously.” Kelsey Evans, The Bukowski Literary Agency.
“Karen Moe has penned a powerful manifesto. This book touched my soul deeply. Some areas were difficult to read, but from one strong survivor to another – WELL DONE. Victim no more. Through her trauma she found her calling, one far bigger than herself. Fighting alongside others for justice. She digresses from her story several times to ask and seek answers about how to make the world safer, especially for women and children. This book is a call to action for all of us—women and men. You will want to put it down, but you can’t, because it’s so compelling.” —Marie McKenzie, #1 Amazon bestselling author of Things That Keep Me Up At Night.