One Hour in Paris:
A True Story of Rape and Recovery

by Karyn L. Freedman

April 23, 2014
5 x 8 paper 208 pages
CDN $21.95

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Winner of the 2015 British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
Longlisted for Canada Reads 2017
Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of 2014
Shortlisted for the 2015 Alberta Book Publishers Book of the Year Award (Trade Non-Fiction)

In this powerful memoir, philosopher Karyn L. Freedman travels back to a Paris night in 1990 when she was twenty-two and, in one violent hour, her life was changed forever by a brutal rape. One Hour in Paris takes the reader on a harrowing yet inspirational journey through suffering and recovery both personal and global. We follow Freedman from an apartment in Paris to a French courtroom, then from a trauma center in Toronto to a rape clinic in Africa. At a time when as many as one in three women in the world have been victims of sexual assault and when many women are still ashamed to come forward, Freedman’s book is a moving and essential look at how survivors cope and persevere.

At once deeply intimate and terrifyingly universal, One Hour in Paris weaves together Freedman’s personal experience with the latest philosophical, neuroscientific, and psychological insights on what it means to live in a body that has been traumatized. Using her background as a philosopher, she looks at the history of psychological trauma and draws on recent theories of posttraumatic stress disorder and neuroplasticity to show how recovery from horrific experiences is possible. Through frank discussions of sex and intimacy, she explores the consequences of sexual violence for love and relationships, and she illustrates the steep personal cost of sexual violence and the obstacles faced by individual survivors in its aftermath. Freedman’s book is an urgent call to face this fundamental social problem head-on, arguing that we cannot continue to ignore the fact that sexual violence against women is rooted in gender inequalities that exist worldwide—and must be addressed.

One Hour in Paris is essential reading for survivors of sexual violence; an invaluable resource for therapists, mental health professionals, and family members and friends of victims; and a powerful book for anyone interested in issues of gender and social justice.

“Karyn L. Freedman’s terrifying and shattering story, One Hour in Paris, reveals the devastating truth about rape — that it is not confined to one terrible moment, but it determines and shapes a lifetime. If you want to understand why we need to do everything in our power to end rape, read this book.” — Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues


Magic 8 interview, CBC Books, January 2017.

Interview: Writer’s Block, CJSW 90.9 FM, May 2015.

“Freedman’s book, which recently won the British Columbia National Non-fiction award, works because it is personal, political and philosophical. Freedman is able to share her own experiences, but can also look outside herself and look at the larger societal implications of the silence around rape and trauma.” — Grande Prairie Daily Herald-TribuneMarch 12, 2015.

Interview: The ‘WS Daily, CKWS TV, March 6, 2015.

Karyn’s remarks at the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction award ceremony, February 13, 2015.

“Karyn Freedman wins BC National Award for non-fiction,” Globe and MailFebruary 13, 2015.

“Memoir of rape and its aftermath wins B.C. national non-fiction award,” Vancouver SunFebruary 13, 2015.

One Hour in Paris is a slim book but a powerful one, and has the potential to catalyze the kind of dialogue that can lead to social change.” — BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction jury citation.

“Freedman’s work is honest and often profound in its exploration of personal trauma and ongoing recovery, and sensitive to the range and diversity of women’s experiences.” — Alberta Views, December 2014.

“Vital reading for addressing the aftermath of sexual violence and challenging rape culture.” — Globe and MailNovember 21, 2014.

Interview: “Manitoba university pens how-to guide for helping sexual assault victims,” CBC News, November 20, 2014.

One Hour in Paris is a gripping and courageous read; the writing is also graceful and accessible. Equally fascinating is Freedman’s focus on the field of trauma studies and discussion of ‘the nature and reliability of traumatic memories.'” — Coastal Spectator, November 6, 2014.

“It is a short and forthright book, lit with insight and often with compassion, in which Freedman describes the 20 years of her journey toward recovery. For her at least, psychological trauma is permanent and she likened her recovery to a chronic illness, a disorder of remissions and exacerbations.” — Literary Review of CanadaNovember 2014.

One Hour in Paris is not only for survivors: it is a story of the audacity of courage in the face of trauma, a brave and moving book that deserves to be read by audiences at large.” — Quill and Quire starred review, June 2013.

“Recovering from rape: One woman shares her therapeutic journey,” ChatelaineMay 22, 2014.

Review: Times Higher EducationMay 22, 2014.

“[A] brilliant, brave and soul-searing account of how she survived a near-deadly rape… [Freedman] has crafted a book destined to become an important tool for rape survivors, as well as for members of all professions who deal with them.”  Winnipeg Free Press, May 17, 2014.

“If there is any justice, Karyn L Freedman’s memoir, One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery, will be widely celebrated one of the best Canadian nonfiction titles of 2014… Like WaveOne Hour in Paris is a harrowing memoir, difficult to read but even harder to put down.” — Pickle Me This, May 4, 2014.

“In her brave and compelling memoir, the professor of philosophy uses her keen intellect and in-depth knowledge of trauma to unravel the complexity of rape, and to make sense of the imprint it has made on her life, and on the lives of so many others.” — National PostMay 2, 2014.

“[A]n extraordinary new book… Freedman seizes her rape and dissects it, with candour, intelligence and a calm that I did not share as I read it… You were raped. You are going to have to live in spite of it. How wonderful that Freedman crafted this piece of assistance, a kind of healing drug.” — Toronto StarApril 29, 2014.

Excerpt in The Chronicle Review“What Rape Is for a Rape Survivor.” April 28, 2014.

One Hour in Paris is a brave book, and an important one.” — Toronto StarApril 25, 2014.

“Freedman is especially sensitive to suggestions that women can readily prevent their own sexual assaults. “Think about the corrosive effect that has on survivors themselves,” she says. As for the idea that drinking at a party makes women vulnerable to rapists lurking everywhere, or that most guys are incapable of restraining their sexual urges, “it’s a sad characterization of men.”” — Globe and MailApril 25, 2014.

Interview: “Memoir confronts the trauma of rape,” Globe and MailApril 24, 2014.

“I’ve just finished the first five chapters and they’re brilliant. The story is about a journey — like all great stories are — but it’s also about survival and coming back and trying to be normal.” — Dave Bidini, National PostApril 18, 2014.

Interview: “Facing down rape: Women stand up to stay they are not ashamed,” Toronto StarApril 16, 2014.

“Most rape survivors who pen their stories do so with the aim of bringing awareness to rape’s staggering commonness, to remove the negative stigma, and to make the private nature of the assault public, so that their voices are heard. Karyn L. Freedman wrote One Hour in Paris for all of these reasons, but also to understand the body’s reaction to trauma and how trauma affects memory.” — The Winnipeg ReviewApril 2014.

“Stunning.” — Inside Higher Ed, April 2, 2014.

“The most harrowing book of the season.” — Toronto LifeMarch 2014.

“The frank discussion in this book is valuable for those interested in social justice as well as to survivors, their loved ones, and mental health professionals.” — Library Journal starred review