When Secrets Become Stories edited by Sue Nyathi

She was asking for it.

She should have known better.

Bekezela (persevere), she was told.

It’s because I love you, he said.

It’s not that bad, she told herself.

In sharing their experiences from girlhood to the boardroom, from Cape Town’s suburbs to the hills of KwaZulu-Natal, women from different walks of life show how chillingly common male violence against women is. Together, their voices form a deafening chorus.

Gender-based violence feeds on shame and silence but in this extraordinary collection, brave women reclaim their power and summon the courage in others to do the same. In speaking out, sharing what was once secret, shame’s hold is broken.

With contributions by Lorraine Sithole, Desiree-Anne Martin, UCT vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Shafinaaz Hassim, Cathy Park Kelly and Olivia Jasriel, who as a child was sexually abused by tennis star Bob Hewitt.

Heart-rending at times, it is the honesty and courage of the writing that truly inspires.