The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement
"This powerful story shouldn't be missed." Publishers Weekly (starred)
"A fiercely readable, potent memoir of a survivor who refuses to be silenced. . . . An inspirational page-turner." Kirkus Reviews (starred)
An incandescent and inspiring memoir from a courageous young woman who, after she was forced to flee to Canada from her home in The Gambia, became the first woman to publicly call the country's dictator to account for sexual assault--launching an unprecedented protest movement in West Africa.
In 2015, Toufah Jallow was a nineteen-year-old dreaming of a scholarship. Encouraged by her mother, she entered a presidential competition designed to identify and support the country's smart young women, ands he won.
Which brought her to the attention of Yahya Jammeh, the country's dictator, who styled himself as a pious yet progressive protector of women. At first, he behaved in a fatherly fashion towards his winner, butthen he proposed marriage. When Toufah turned him down, he drugged and raped her.
She could not tell anyone what happened. Not only was there no word for rape in her native language, if she told her parents, they would take action and incur Jammeh's wrath. Wearing a niqab to hide her identity, she gave his security operatives the slip and fled to Senegal, eventually making her way to safety in Canada.
Then Jammeh was deposed. In July 2019, Toufah Jallow went home to testify against him in a public hearing, sparking marches of support and a social media outpouring of shared stories among West African women. Each bold decision Toufah made helped secure the future Jammeh had tried to steal from her, and also showed her a new path of leadership and advocacy for survivors of sexual violence.
About this Author
TOUFAH JALLOW is an African anti-rape activist who inspired a #MeToo movement in West Africa. A compelling and poised speaker, she has told her story to her nation on live television, as well as to reporters from the BBC, CBC, NPR, New York Times, Globe and Mail, Guardian, Al Jazeera and more. She has spoken before the United Nations, presented at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and given testimony at The Gambia's Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she is studying to become an assaulted women and children's counselor, and travels frequently to The Gambia, where she heads The Toufah Foundation in support of survivors of sexual assault.
KIM PITTAWAY is the Executive Director of the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program at the University of King's College. She is an award-winning journalist, former editor-in-chief of Chatelaine, and a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Canadian National Magazine Awards Foundation. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
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