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Scars Across Humanity: Understanding & Overcoming Violence Against Women

Author: Elaine Storkey
Published By: SPCK (London)
Pages: 224
Price: £9.99
ISBN: 978 0 281 075089

Reviewed by Patricia Price-Tomes.

Elaine Storkey offers a wide ranging survey of violence against women, from infanticide and selective abortion, through FGM, early/forced marriage, ‘honour killings’, domestic violence, trafficking, prostitution and rape, to sexual violence as an element in war. She shows how all these forms of violence affect every society (including our own) in various ways, and explains some of the devastating, often lifelong, consequences for women who suffer. She is also careful to attribute responsibility where it belongs – in individual cases to the perpetrator, and in church and society generally, to all of us.

She then examines various theoretical attempts to establish possible causes – biological (our evolutionary heritage), social sciences (functionalism, family conflict theories, feminist theories), before turning to religion with a fairly detailed chapter on Islamic theories and practice.

Finally, we have a chapter on Christianity and gender, in which for the first time the reader with no prior knowledge about Elaine Storkey will discover that her own views are deeply rooted in an open Bible-based Christianity.

For most people, this is a frightening, distasteful and challenging subject, but we cannot afford to ignore it. Violence against women is not something which happens only ‘out there’ – indeed, as Elaine Storkey shows, some trends in Christian thinking tend to promote it. Furthermore, all too frequently in churches there is more support for perpetrators than concern for victims.

The understanding to be gained from this book should encourage church leaders to strive for better and more appropriate reactions to, and pastoral care for, both victims and perpetrators.

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You are reading Issue 65 of Ministry Today, published in November 2015.

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