Non-State Torture of Women: Reclaiming Their Human Right


  • Jeanne Sarson Persons Against Non-State Torture
  • Linda MacDonald Persons Against Non State Torture



Non-State Torture


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Author Biographies

Jeanne Sarson, Persons Against Non-State Torture

Jeanne Sarson, BScN, MEd, predominately worked in community and public health, including working and living in Canada’s Arctic communities for 11 years before returning to Nova Scotia and entering university as a mature student. As a Nova Scotia public health nurse she developed and presented a domestic violence program to all Department of Health nursing staff and designed a relational education program for school children in her area. In 1993, along with Linda MacDonald, she began a one-night a week private feminist, human-rights-based nursing practice addressing relational violence. This transformed her nursing practice having now spent 29 years of published co-scholarship developing grassroot science including participatory research and supporting women recover from non-State family and non-family torture and sexualized human trafficking victimizations. This work is national and global, advocating at United Nations levels for acts of torture committed by non-State actors to be acknowledged as a specific human rights violation. Co-authored with Linda is their 2021 book, Women Unsilenced Our Refusal To Let Torturer-Traffickers Win. 

Linda MacDonald, Persons Against Non State Torture

Linda is a retired nurse who worked in many fields of nursing including surgery, ICU, CCU, VON, public health and home care. Her father was a very abusive man and she started speaking up about the abuse in her family as a three year old girl. No one listened. In 1993 she and Jeanne Sarson started a small independent nursing practice listening to women and men who endured abuse. One woman spoke of her family torturing her. Twenty nine years later as a grassroots activist on non-State torture (NST) Linda has listened to many women all around the world who have endured NST. Together with Jeanne she is a co-author of their first book, Women Unsilenced Our Refusal To Let Torturer-Traffickers Win



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Sarson, J., & MacDonald, L. (2018a). No longer invisible: Families that torture, traffic, and exploit their girl child. Oñati Journal of Emergent Socio-legal Studies, 8(1), 85-105.

Sarson, J., & MacDonald, L. (2018b). Having non-state torture recognized by the UN and member states as an infringement of woman’s human rights is imperative. Canadian Woman Studies/Les Cahiers de la Femme, 33(1.2), 143–155.

Sarson, J., & MacDonald, L. (2019a). “A difficult client”: Lynn’s story of captivity, non-state torture, and human trafficking by her husband. International Journal of Advanced Nursing Education and Research, 4(3), 107-124. DOI:10.21742/IJANER.2019.4.3.13

Sarson, J., & MacDonald, L. (2019b). Non-state torture human trafficking family systems: Coming out alive—normalizing women’s survival responses. Justice Report, 34(3), 11–15.

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How to Cite

Sarson, J., & MacDonald, L. . (2022). Non-State Torture of Women: Reclaiming Their Human Right. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 4(1), 1–6.