Snorkelling the Abyss: One woman, striving to survive, fighting for survivors

Jan Jordan


An honest, unapologetic and moving account of trauma, survival and advocacy.

ISBN: 978-1-98-859573-3 Categories: , Tags: , , ,

About the book

I am standing, stock still. Terror constricts my chest. I struggle to breathe. When I swallow the sound splices the air: it competes with the beat beat beat of my heart. My legs won’t move; they have mutinied … I inch forward, staying low beneath the windowsill. My life depends on my not being seen.

Emerita Professor Jan Jordan: successful academic and passionate advocate for survivors of sexual violence. Janet Robinson: despairing cutter and overdoser, excluded from university ‘for failure to make satisfactory progress’.

Snorkelling the Abyss explores the two worlds of one woman and the apparently unnavigable void between them. With searing honesty, Jan Jordan shows how she fought to free herself from an inner culture of self-loathing and the external culture of a suburban childhood that repressed ‘feelings’ and ignored psychic pain – and only then could she work towards transforming the rape culture and gender inequities of Aotearoa. This is a powerful story that affirms the importance of connection and the imperative of speaking out.

About the author

Jan Jordan became the first woman criminology lecturer at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington in 1989 and was appointed as a professor before retiring from teaching in 2020, when she became emerita professor. Her research has focused on how women’s lives and the justice system intersect, and in 2022 she published Tackling Rape Culture and Women, Rape and Justice. Jan lives in Waikawa Beach with her partner, Chris, and dog, Willow.


Dimensions: 128 x 198mm
Number of pages: 326
Binding: soft cover