A Survivor's Education

Women, Violence, and the Stories We Don’t Tell

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By Joy Neumeyer

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A moving, timely, and riveting memoir of intimate abuse, campus politics, and the narratives we choose to believe.
 
On a picturesque campus in the springtime, a young woman is shoved backwards down a concrete stairway by her partner. This follows months of slowly escalating violence. She ultimately ends the relationship, flees across the country, and initiates a Title IX case against him. She knows what she has experienced and survived: gaslighting, assault, manipulation, mortal threats. But others say, simply, that she hasn’t—and that her boyfriend is the real victim. Trained to interpret the past, she finds herself swept up in a struggle to define the truth about her life.
 
In this poignant self-investigation, historian and journalist Joy Neumeyer explores how violence against women is portrayed, perceived, and adjudicated today, decades after the inception of Title IX and in the immediate wake of MeToo. Interweaving the harrowing account of the abuse she experienced as a graduate student at Berkeley with those of others who faced violence, on campus and beyond, Neumeyer offers a startling look at how the hotly-debated Title IX system has altered university politics and culture, and uncovers the willful misremembrance that enables misconduct on scales large and small.
 
Deeply researched, daringly inquisitive, and resonant for our times,  A Survivor's Education reveals the entanglement of storytelling, abuse, and power, and how we can balance narrative and evidence in our attempts to determine what “really” happened.
 


  • In this sharp debut memoir, the author expertly weaves together historical abuses of power on a global scale with carefully researched stories of interpersonal violence, allowing her to reflect deeply about—and beyond—her own experiences… Neumeyer’s compelling first book... gives a fresh perspective on what it means to be a survivor.
    Kirkus, *starred*
  • “Joy Neumeyer has created a work of alchemy. Part memoir about escaping an abusive relationship, part philosophy of history, and part an unflinching examination of academia’s Title IX system, A Survivor’s Education is timely, meditative, and compulsively readable.”
    Becky Cooper, author of We Keep the Dead Close
  • "Reading A Survivor’s Education is like diving into a vortex of collective female histories, fascinated and stunned as you fall, yet certain the author will land you squarely on your feet. Joy Neumeyer is a brilliant investigator and historian, exploring the roots of silence and sparing nobody, least of all herself. This is an important and compelling story, exquisitely told."
     
    Erika Krouse, author of Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation
  • “Neumeyer uses her own experience and academic prowess to investigate the impact of intimate-partner violence and the external response when survivors seek justice. Her impeccably researched book walks the reader through the systemic flaws of the Title IX process on college campuses, the impact of institutional betrayal, and its aftermath. Dr. Neumeyer is also a scholar of Russian and European History and adds an additional layer into the narrative by weaving in stories of betrayal, trust, power, violence, and war, showing the connection between individual and universal experiences.  This book is truly exceptional in every way.”
    Michelle Bowdler, author of Is Rape a Crime?
  • “Neumeyer brings sophistication and scholarship to a global concern that has been reduced, over and over again, to women’s individual choices or failures. It’s an undeniable account and a powerful gift to survivors.”
     
    Lacy Crawford, author of Notes on a Silencing

On Sale
Aug 20, 2024
Page Count
320 pages
Publisher
PublicAffairs
ISBN-13
9781541702790

Joy Neumeyer

About the Author

Joy Neumeyer is a writer and historian of Russia and Eastern Europe whose essays have appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Nation, the Atlantic, and New Left Review. She was a Fulbright fellow in Russia and has lived and worked as a reporter in Moscow and Warsaw. She received a PhD in history from the University of California, Berkeley in 2020.

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