Words of pain and emotion

Title: Breaking the Silence (Journeys to Recovery)

Author: Powa Women's Writing Competition 2008

Publisher: Jacana Media

Reviewer: Nawhal Kara

The fourth year of the annual People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa) Women's Writing Competition saw a need to create a platform for the abuse experienced by women in refugee camps and urban settings. Thus the theme Journeys to Recovery encapsulates both the literal and figurative journeys made by victims of violence.

Submissions include poetry, short stories and essays written in six languages. Survivors of abuse create an honest, graphic, liberating and highly emotional image of their roads to recovery.

Victims are usually forced to cross emotional, physical and geographical spaces in order to reach a place of safety.

Similarly, the reader is taken on a journey of awareness and realisation of the extent to which violence against women is ignored. A great desire for freedom from the constraints of culture and obligations is also expressed. Writers speak passionately about the need for support systems in communities to combat women abuse.

Their works also express their urge to resist violence and rape being considered private or normal.

This book is not recommended as a light read as the content is painfully descriptive and highly emotive.