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Featured Book: Refuge in the Black Deck
March 13th, 2017
When Ordinary Seaman Nicola Peffers boarded the HMCS Winnipeg in 2009, she was embarking on her first deployment with the Canadian Navy. At twenty-six years old, one of the top students in her training class, and one of the few women on the boat, Nicola began her career with a sense of optimism and hope towards seeing the world and serving her country.
Rather than finding the teamwork and belonging she had hoped for, Nicola endured constant sexualization by the men she worked with. Along with the rigors of an intense military training process, she also faced sexual harassment and mistreatment from her superiors, meanwhile bound by rigid hierarchies and the physical distance between home and life at sea. Socially isolated, Nicola’s only refuge, at times, was hiding in the black deck, a dark and cramped area of the ship that no one visits unless they absolutely have to.
Refuge in the Black Deck (Caitlin Press) is about physical and emotional strength, the failures of the justice system in the face of sexual harassment, and the harmful effects of trauma that continue even after having left the site of the experience.