Survivor Injustice: State-Sanctioned Abuse, Domestic Violence, and the Fight for Bodily Autonomy

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by Kylie Cheung

North Atlantic Books

8/15/2023, paperback

SKU: 9781623179083


Journalist and Jezebel staff writer Kylie Cheung exposes the insidious--and often unseen--connections among domestic abuse, state-based violence, political disenfranchisement, and the carceral state.

Incisive, urgent, and written exactly for our post-Roe times, Survivor Injustice is the feminist frame-changing read we need now--for each of us, and for all that's at stake.
With an abolitionist lens, journalist and Jezebel staff writer Kylie Cheung shows how domestic abuse and state violence are systemic and interconnected. She shatters the harmful and convenient narrative that abuse is a "private matter" perpetrated by individual bad actors--and situates popular understandings of domestic abuse in an indictment of the racism, misogyny, and carcerality baked into U.S. culture and politics. Cheung explores:

  • The links between capitalism and domestic abuse: how late-stage capitalism colludes with the state to incentivize forced birth and reproductive coercion
  • Intimate partner violence as a tool of political silence and social control
  • America's tacit acceptance of sexual assault, from the home to the White House
  • The interplay of race, power, gender, and sexuality in state-based violence
  • How the United States runs on carcerality, and what that means for victims
  • The way we view survival crimes, and our complicity in defining which acts are "violent" and whose actions are "criminal"
  • How white feminism and carceral feminism fail us all

Cheung plainly names all that goes unsaid when we, as a culture, talk about abuse: How state and society criminalize women, girls, and gender-oppressed people of color. That what happens behind closed doors affects whose voices we hear at the ballot box. What it means when we put predators--from every party--up for vote. That sex workers are more likely to be victimized by law enforcement than "saved" by them. That this is all by design. And that ultimately--with organizing, abolition, and beyond-the-ballot action--we can change it all for good.


"A must-read analysis of the devastating impact gender-based violence plays in upholding white male supremacy." -- Robin Marty, author of Handbook for a Post-Roe America

"Cheung exposes how domestic abuse and sexual violence targeting women of Asian descent is frequently overlooked, downplayed, and rendered invisible. A compelling and important book for these times." -- Michele Goodwin, author of Policing the Womb, host of Ms. magazine's On the Issues podcast, and Chancellor's Professor at UC Irvine School of Law

"By identifying rape culture's political, systemic roots--omnipresent regardless of political affiliation--Cheung provides the anticapitalist analysis lost when the mainstreaming of #MeToo led to a whitewashed movement." -- Lexi McMenamin, news and politics editor at Teen Vogue

About the Author:

Kylie Cheung is a journalist and the author of two other books on gender and power, A Woman's Place and The Gaslit Diaries. Currently a staff writer at Jezebel, she previously worked at the culture desk at Salon and at several nonprofits where she researched reproductive health policy. Cheung holds a BA in political science from the University of Southern California and lives with her pit bull-chihuahua, Bucky. In their free time together, they enjoy watching NBA games and superhero movies.