Books and Discussion Questions about Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: A Resource for Book Clubs


  • Strange Fits of Passion by Anita Shreve
  • Big Girls Don’t Cry by Connie Briscoe
  • Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Hines
  • Island Justice by Elizabeth Winthrop
  • Jazz by Toni Morrison
  • Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo by Ntozake Shange
  • Tar Baby by Toni Morrison
  • “Weight” in Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
  • This Charming Man by Mariah Keyes
  • In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
  • We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Vinegar Hill (P.S.) by A. Manette Ansay
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy


  • The Burning Bed: The True Story of Francine Hughes – A Beaten Wife Who Rebelled by Faith McNulty
  • Community Secret: The Story of Two Filipinas by Jaqueline J. Agtuca
  • Deals With the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot by Pearl Cleage
  • Doorways to Freedom by Cynthia Ford
  • I, Tina: My Life Story by Tina Turner
  • Living with the Enemy (photographs) by Donna Ferrato
  • Next Time She’ll Be Dead: Battering and How to Stop It by Ann Jones
  • Point Last Seen (a memoir) by Hannah Nyala
  • Lucky by Alice Sebold
  • Crazy Love by Leslie Morgan Steiner
  • A Natural Woman by Carole King
  • I Closed My Eyes: Revelations of a Battered Woman by Michele Weldon

Young Adult

  • Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen
  • Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
  • Revenge of a Not-So-Pretty Girl by Carolita Blythe
  • Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
  • Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
  • Split by Swati Avasthi

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Discussion Questions

  • Which characters were impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault in this book, and how were they affected by it?
  • What did you learn about domestic violence or sexual assault from this book?
  • Was the problem handled well, or did the book include stereotypes about the women being abused or the men hurting them?
  • In what ways did other characters in the book help the women experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault to stay safe?
  • If they didn’t reach out to help, why didn’t they and how could they have?
  • In what ways was violence against women portrayed as socially acceptable in this book?
  • Was the problem of domestic violence or sexual assault connected to other social problems and oppressions faced by the characters (i.e.: child abuse, racism, poverty)? How so?
  • Was there victim blaming in this book?
  • How did the book make you feel?
  • Did it remind you of a situation you have experienced yourself?
  • How has that experience affected you?

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