The Federation Press

Serial Survivors

Women’s narratives of surviving rape

Overview

This book tells the story of fifteen women who survived a sexual assault, all of them attacked by the same serial rapist. It tells the story of their survival, and is based on extensive interviews with the fifteen women.

The interviews illustrate how each stage of the process following the attack became an exercise in survival – surviving the assault, managing police interviewing, surviving and coping with going to court, surviving all the many impacts on their lives, and also managing how those close to them were affected.

The picture that emerges demonstrates that surviving rape is not a one-off event but a continual process. The different procedures and aspects each pose their own challenges as the victims/survivors manage the various and on-going intrusions and encounters that follow in the aftermath of rape.

This book presents their stories – the losses and the triumphs, the battles and the victories. Their accounts make both their fear and courage palpable. They demonstrate the many diverse ways in which a sexual attack can impact, not only on the woman herself but on her partner, parents, children, friends, neighbours – all of us. For when one woman is raped, a whole community hurts. That is why we need to understand so much more deeply the impacts of rape, and why we must do all we can to minimise its occurrence.

Reviews

This text should be read by any judicial officer concerned with ensuring that every element of the trial process is not only consonant with a fair trial for the accused for a fair process for the accuser. - Provincial Judges’ Journal, Canada, 2009 Summer, Volume 32 No 1

This is an extraordinary, unique and compelling book. In honouring her word to the women she interviewed, Jan Jordan crafts an account not just of how law enforcement gets it wrong, but more importantly how they ‘got it’ when their practice began from belief of, and respect for, victims of sexual violence. Women’s voices and variations offer succour to others who brave the legal system, whilst providing insight and guidance to all professionals interested in both just outcomes and the human rights of victims. - Professor Liz Kelly, Child & Women Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University

Jan’s book demonstrates that although there are often common themes and stages in a victims’ survival journey, the process of recovery and healing is individual to each survivor. We should not hold expectations about how survivors of such violence will react, how they will behave in the situations they face during the act of violence and in the aftermath that follows.
Serial Survivors provides victims with a tool to assist them in their journey of survival. It provides validation that there is no single ‘right path’ to healing and it provides hope that, despite the enormous challenges ahead, recovery is possible. - Annette King, Minister of Justice, the Minister of Police and the Minister of Transport, New Zealand, from the launch speech

The book is highly engaging and readable, but also factual, clear, and well researched. It represents a valuable tool for understanding a range of womens’ experiences, but more importantly, gives powerful insight into the ways in which the criminal justice system, police and counsellors can work most effectively and sensitively with women who have experienced rape. - Victims’ Voice, December 2008

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

The women
Surviving the attack
Surviving police processes
Surviving the trial
Surviving others; others surviving
Surviving and moving on
Appendix 1 – Writing this book
Appendix 2 – Malcolm Rewa, serial rapist
Notes
Index

Of interest...