Happy book birthday to Toufah: The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement by Toufah Jallow with Kim Pittaway, out now from Random House Canada, and the Chapters Indigo Nonfiction Staff Pick of the Month for February!

“A fiercely readable, potent memoir of a survivor who refuses to be silenced. . . . [A] harrowing story with moments of humor and humanity that make the book an inspirational page-turner. . . . [Jallow] vividly describes her fear, strength, and sorrow, always cognizant that her experience, no matter how raw, can be a source of comfort to fellow survivors.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“[A] riveting autobiography….The tale of Jallow’s escape is harrowing and propulsive. While her trauma is extreme, the real story takes place in its aftermath, in the ways it defined the victim’s life….It takes extraordinary courage and vision to induce social change in a single lifetime, and Jallow has done just that.” —The New York Times

“[A] captivating debut. . . . This powerful story shouldn’t be missed.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“I am in awe of Toufah. . . . She is a rare person, and many will take valuable lessons from her story. This terrific book had me on the edge of my seat, and sends an inspiring message to all women about the power of their voice.” —Anna Maria Tremonti, journalist and broadcaster/podcaster

“My (s)heroes do not wear capes. My (s)heroes call out injustices in the world with enough grace and forgiveness to heal anyone that hears their story. Toufah is that graceful shero the world desperately needs. Toufah is the graceful shero the world is better for.” —Celina Caesar-Chavannes, author of Can You Hear Me Now?

“This book is not an easy read, but I couldn’t put it down. Toufah’s story is horrifying and infuriating, but ultimately also hopeful and inspiring because of what she was able to achieve out of such darkness. To anyone who cares about addressing gender-based violence, this is essential reading.” —Robyn Doolittle, investigative reporter and author of Had It Coming and Crazy Town

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, and 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, but then 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.

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. Toufah is represented by Marilyn Biderman.