Victim: a feminist manifesto from a fierce survivor
Cover Design: Bobbi Sue Smith
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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.”
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Praise for Karen Moe:
"Victim is a powerful, intensely personal and disturbing book, cutting deep into the soul about a topic that must be exposed. It is Karen Moe’s impassioned manifesto … an intensely chilling account of abduction, sexual assault and prostitution. But it is also the tragic and heart-rending story of untold millions of women and children worldwide who have been abducted, raped and forced into the brutal world of prostitution. Victim is visceral. It is a difficult book to read. It is a difficult book to put down. And it is a compelling must-read!" Victor Malarek, author of The Natashas: Inside the Global Sex Trade and The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men who Buy It.
"In Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor, Moe writes her personal experiences in the violent, misogynist world of men that women know all too well. This book embodies and forces us to look at the truth of the reality of male violence that women negotiate every day in patriarchy; and yet, it is also a story of triumph for women individually and collectively because we face that fear daily, and we are still here." —Trisha Bapti Journalist and Founder of EVE (Exploited Voices Now Educating).
“A tour de force true story of surviving and surmounting the unthinkable. Victim is literary nonfiction at its best that plunges the reader into the during, the before, and the after of a horrific abduction and rapes. Moe’s nonlinear narrative interweaves the realistic spiral-like journey of healing with the covert and the overt ways society grooms many of us to be victims and others to be victimizers. Moe demonstrates how survivors can transform their pain and internalized victim-blaming shame into an unstoppable passion to ensure these crimes are never forgotten and that justice be served. This raw triumph over tragedy proves that a victim can also be a victor.” —Sally Clark, author of The Way of The Warrior Mama: The Guide To Raising and Protecting Strong Daughters.
“A beautifully written, forensically researched story of resistance and revolution. An important tool in the feminist fight against male violence.”
—Julie Bindel author of The Pimping of Prostitution: Abolishing the Sex Work Myth and Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation.
“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 … No doubt this book will go a long way in fixing our broken system, or at least bring attention to it … If you like books that could change the world, you will love Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor by Karen Moe.” Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite Five Stars.
“Victim is an act of re-feminization (versus repatriation) of a trammeled word in a lexicon of blame and shame. In this epic of survival and triumph the term victim assumes the same resonance as victor, a position to which Moe ascends not only with her overcoming of horror but of her utter and fierce honesty.” Catherine Owen, author of Riven and Locations of Grief: An Emotional Geography.
“Victim is a brutally honest account of a brutal crime. But the most brutal thing Karen Moe asks us to face is the way in which her story is not unusual. Not every woman will be abducted and raped like she was, but the way men’s violence constrains women is an everyday brutal reality for women. Moe’s courage doesn’t stop with telling a story of sexual assault. Her book confronts other kinds of pain—both the pain she has endured and the pain swirling all around us in a broken world. And all the time, Moe moves in and out of her story to the larger question: How do we make this broken world safe for women and children? How do we create a world worth living in? Without false optimism, she writes of how we can find authentic hope. Victim charts the complexity of her life, and our lives, and reminds us of a simple truth: To embrace life we must resist patriarchy.” Robert Jensen author of The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men.
“A heartfelt chronicle of personal growth through mortal danger; Karen Moe has woven the elements of her life into a cautionary tale that unfolds like fiction but, as Truman Capote said, non-fiction makes the best fiction. This is a rigorously researched history of violence against women, and a treatise on how societal behaviour can be improved. Read this book and be informed.” —Dennis E. Bolen, Stupid Crimes and Anticipated Results.
"I can’t express how much I admire Karen Moe’s courage, intelligence, sense of humour, sense of perspective and love that she shares with all who read her book!!" Suzy Bernstein, Amazon Readers’ Review.
"An important, powerful and empowering read for all genders." Celia Laval, Amazon Readers’ Review.
"This book will go far and wide as it should. It has inspired me to start writing again." Karen Segal, Amazon Readers’ Review.
"This is an incredibly powerful and honest intelligent look at rape culture that she experienced and exposes." Dan Harbord, Goodreads Review.
"This is not like any book I've ever read. It has elements of documentary, crime thriller and memoir, but it is also a manifesto, a thesis, a call to action and, yes, poetry." Fiona, Amazon Readers’ Review.
"This is a fantastic fight for justice for all survivors and Karen Moe is an extraordinary voice in the fight." Bella, Goodreads Review.
"Not only is Victim a powerful personal story, it is also a political and philosophical triumph and a new feminist source book." Rena del Pieve Gobbi, Goodreads Review.
Book Release April 2nd, 2022.
The Trauma & Triumph Tour 2022: US April 2022/Canada September 2022.
Karen Moe is an art critic, visual and performance artist, author and feminist activist. Her work focuses on systemic violence in patriarchy: be it gender, race, the environment or speciesism. Her art criticism has been published internationally in magazines, anthologies and artist catalogues in English and Spanish and she has exhibited and performed across Canada, in the US and in Mexico. Karen is the recipient of the “Ellie Liston Hero of the Year Award” 2022 for being instrumental in putting the serial rapist, who raped and brutalized herself and countless other women, away for life in 1996. She lives in Mexico City and British Columbia, Canada. Published by Vigilance Press on April 2nd, 2022, Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor is her debut book.