1st Edition

Sexual Violence, Dissociation, and Inequality A Guide to Understanding Traumatic Memory

By Muriel Salmona Copyright 2025
    292 Pages
    by Routledge

    292 Pages
    by Routledge

    Sexual Violence, Dissociation, and Inequality is a book about traumatic memory—or how lived trauma is repeated by victims as if happening again.

    The author, internationally renowned psychiatrist Muriel Salmona, lays out a convincing argument for the ways in which victims are neurologically compelled to relive trauma and how, with proper treatment, they can fully heal. Informed by decades of clinical practice, research, and activism, Salmona explains how victims’ behaviors are rooted in neurology as normal responses to abnormal situations. In contrast to a climate of victim-blaming denial, Salmona explains how grave the violation of victims’ human rights truly is and what to do about it in terms of care and prevention. She explains in clear language how to reconstruct victims’ narratives, which are often clouded by traumatic amnesia, and thereby reconnect parts of the brain that were severed during the traumatic event.

    This is a guide for professionals who work with survivors, for survivors themselves, and for anyone committed to understanding and reducing violence and inequality.

    Introduction  1. Consequences of Sexual Violence  2. The Shattered Mind  3. The Time-Machine from Hell  4. Traumatic Dissociation  5. On Your Own: Survival Strategies of Victims  6. See No Evil: Denial and Misrepresentation of Violence  7. The Lives of Victims  8. Who Are the Perpetrators?  9. Surviving Unspeakable and Unspoken Violence  10. How to Care for Victims and Cure Traumatic Memory  Conclusion  Appendices  


     Muriel Salmona is a psychiatrist specializing in the care of victims of violence. She is the founder and president of the Association of Traumatic Memory and Victimology and a member of the International Mukwege Chair and the Independent Commission on Incest and Sexual Violence Against Children (CIIVISE). She was awarded the Legion of Honor in 2018 in recognition of commitment to victim advocacy. Please visit her website to learn more: www.memoiretraumatique.org

    “[This book] gave me deeper understanding of the extreme suffering of sexual violence survivors in our patriarchal societies where still today, the law of silence, denial, and manipulation rules alongside impunity and banalization of crimes and the guilt, solitude, and rejection in victims. Whatever your interests, discipline, persuasion, or profession, I am persuaded that reading this book will help you to better understand the victim in front of you or the survivor seeking your help.”

    Denis Mukwege, winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize

    “Muriel is a professional who is pushing forwards the understanding of victims of domestic and sexual violence with the determination of an activist.”

    Roland Coutanceau, psychiatrist

    “Thank you, Muriel Salmona, for all the lives you’ve changed for the better, including my own; you are a beacon of intelligence, rigor, and kindness in this world.”

    Kate Rose

    “Muriel Salmona, psychiatrist specializing in domestic and sexual violence, has developed the concept of traumatic amnesia. Since the lockdown, she has faced a surge of calls for help.”

    Le Monde

    “Muriel Salmona: ‘The tide is turning in favour of victims of sexual violence’”


    “Muriel Salmona, the repairer of abused bodies and souls. She has become the voice of victims of domestic, psychological, and sexual violence, and child criminal exploitation ... Through her association, she has above all succeeded in having the seriousness of assaults on minors recognized.”

    Le Temps

    “Muriel Salmona fights internationally to defend victims of sexual abuse and works in particular with the University of Liège as well as with the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege.”

    Le Soir

    “Muriel Salmona exposes ‘a veritable code of silence, which prevents victims from being genuinely saved and efficiently helped.’”