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Take Back the Fight: Resisting Sexual Violence from the Ground Up

Interference Archive

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Recovery from trauma after sexual assault is often imagined as a personal, internal experience. However, an exclusive focus on individual narratives of victimization and healing can obscure decades of collective, grassroots struggle by and on behalf of sexual assault survivors. Rape is not an isolated experience, but a pervasive form of violence that acts in concert with oppression in the workforce, at home, and in medical and academic institutions–as well as with structural racism, homophobia, transphobia, and capitalism. Likewise, organizing against sexual violence is intimately linked to struggles for liberation in both public and private spheres. The history of organizing against sexual assault and rape helps us to understand feminist resistance to violence as a collective struggle against patriarchy, and sexual and gender violence as a function of state violence.

Take Back the Fight: Resisting Sexual Violence from the Ground Up focuses on organized responses to gender and sexual violence, highlighting the ways individuals and communities have developed creative and powerful grassroots and non-institutional justice and healing practices. This book developed out of an exhibition of the same name mounted at Interference Archive in 2017. Like the exhibition, which was a collaboration with Lesbian Herstory Archives, this publication narrates intersecting histories of activism by and on behalf of survivors of sexual violence and their communities. It is also one of the only existing documents of the visual and ephemeral culture produced by people collectively combating sexual violence.


  • Introduction by Lani Hanna
  • “Lesbian, Feminist, and Queer Histories of Taking Back the Fight” by Rachel Corbman
  • “My Mother Liked to Fuck” by Joan Nestle
  • “Resisting Marital Rape” by Kersti Yllo
  • “How to Make a Fist: Writing on Women’s Self-Defense from the Collection of Interference Archive” by Louise Barry
  • “Akko Nishimura Creates a Ruckus” by Sabrina Margarita Alcantara-Tan (reprinted from the zine Bamboo Girl #9)
  • “No Justice When Women Fight Back” by Victoria Law
  • “Beautiful, Difficult, Powerful” by the Chrysalis Collective (zine reprint)
  • Statements by The Monument Quilt, Bordamos Feminicidios, Mujeres Grabando Resistencias, and Trans Day of Resistance


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