Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor by Karen Moe Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This book contains real-life mentions and memories of abuse and sexual assault. Anyone who is triggered by this type of nonfiction memoir is hereby advised to proceed with caution when reading this book. 

Author Karen Moe takes readers on an emotional, painful, and heartbreaking journey of surviving a horrendous crime and using her experience to help others see how the patriarchal hierarchy that has ruled this world for centuries has led to a societal imbalance that fuels these types of crimes in the book “Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor”.


The Synopsis

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.

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.”

The Review

This was powerful, moving, and chilling yet important read. The author’s voice and unique writing style cut through the horror and shock of her experiences to bring to light the themes and messages that the author’s journey taught her, and in turn, teach us all. The honest way in which the author writes these experiences down is hard to read and yet speaks to the strength and courage the author has in the face of such trauma. The author’s ability to connect her story to her own personal family life as well, especially her relationship with her father and the impact it had on them, was truly inspired and helped bridge the emotional connection of her story with the broader study of the patriarchal hierarchy. 

The way the author utilizes her experiences to help readers understand the broader theme of how the patriarchy has impacted how society as whole views certain events or actions is both brilliantly done and yet sobering in its reality. The lengths people will go to in order to paint a victim of this type of assault as anything but a victim are shocking and disturbing, and the public ability to believe these falsehoods over logic and morality that should exist is a symptom of a far greater lie woven into the fabric of our society. The author’s use of history and crimes throughout history illustrate these points, from the disappearances of 43 Mexico students that was swept away as statistics in the drug cartel violence of the nation to the horrifying reality of high school boys rooting each other on as they *TW* gang rape a woman, showcase how fractured and haunted our world has become.

The Verdict

Moving, heartbreaking, yet empowering in its delivery, author Karen Moe’s “Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor” is a must-read nonfiction memoir and feminist theory read. One of 2022’s contenders for must-read nonfiction books, the author not only did an exemplary job of rooting out the causes of this patriarchal society but did so with a unique voice that spoke of the strength and courage the author held in bringing her story to light. While the subject matter of her own life was tragic, her strength and ability to turn her trauma into empowerment gives hope to many for the future and helps shape the blueprints to help build a better society that values compassion, equality, and justice. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

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.

Karen has just returned from her US Trauma & Triumph Tour for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, will be having a variety of events throughout the summer, and will be embarking upon her Cross-Canada Tour in September 2022.


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