February 24, 2018

Next edition Scars Across Humanity IVP

Book signing 18-11-2016 at 06.42   Book signing3New cover SAH

Delighted to post that a new edition of Scars Across Humanity will be published by IVP on Feb 20 2018. Here’s a snippet from the revised first chapter:

Breaking the silence

The reality of gendered violence means we need to rethink the way we plan our cities, transport, public lighting, buildings so we consider those vulnerable to attack. This was brought home in the Baltimore, Maryland, USA when a psychiatric patient with a long history of sexual violence against women was able to enter the room of a woman patient and strangle her. [1] In a similar incident in a UK hospital, a nurse helping a male patient in the shower turned her back to allow him privacy and was subject to a sexual attack from him. He, too, had a history of assault, but the nurse was given no warning.[2] When seven out of ten women are targeted for sexual violence in their lifetime, there is clearly a need for ongoing vigilance in every area of public life.

Even more widespread has been predatory abuse in particular professional areas, where powerful men exercise great influence. In October 2017, the multiple allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the celebrated film mogul rocked the Western world. For 20 years, as his films were earning more than 300 Oscar nominations, he is alleged to have used his status and power to make unwanted sexual advances to very many young actresses seeking employment. Their stories of intimidation, violation, and fear of having their careers ruined by refusal are now in the public domain. [3] Other men in the public media world had already been discredited. For example, Bill O’Reilly, a host at Fox News, was forced to resign after Fox was discovered to have paid five women millions of dollars in exchange for silence about their accusations of sexual harassment. In response to the mounting revelations of sexual misconduct in high places and gross abuse, celebrity women responded publicly. The singer/actor Alyssa Milano posted on twitter, asking those who had experienced sexual assault to use the hashtag #MeToo. Within minutes the social media was flooded with stories of abuse from women across the United States, and the rest of the world. If there was any doubt that the violation of women was in need of exposure and eradication, this outpouring surely dispelled it.

We can begin to see the alarming depth of truth in the statement of the UN Report.  ‘Violence constitutes a continuum across the lifespan of women, from before birth to old age. It cuts across both the public and the private spheres.’ It also takes many forms – physical, sexual, psychological and economic – which are interrelated yet which remain largely hidden, suppressed by silence. Intimate partner violence is very widespread, and sometimes leads to death. Harmful culture, violent practices, including early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting are also pervasive. Traditional communities still somehow hide the insidiousness of femicide, sexual violence, sexual harassment and trafficking. Violence perpetrated by the State, through omission, torture, public agents or public policy is persistent, along with the high incidence of violence against women in armed conflict, particularly rape. Even women in high profile professions can be subject to sexual harassment, and be bullied into accepting unwanted attentions from powerful, predatory men.

So we can begin to understand the all-encompassing nature of the problem on a global scale: that one in three women has either been beaten, coerced into sex or abused in some other way—most often by someone she knows.





[1] Rhine, Sarah, ‘Violence against Women Common in Psychiatric Hospitals’, Baltimore Sun, 4 October 2010

[2] Thompsons Solicitors, ‘Vigilance Needed to Avoid Sexual Attacks on Health Workers’, 28 December 2011: <http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/personal-injury/vigilance-needed- sexual-assaults-health-workers.htm>

[3] ‘From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s accusers tells their stories’ The New Yorker October 23 2017. (https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-aggressive-overtures-to-sexual-assault-harvey-weinsteins-accusers-tell-their-stories.

Campaign Trail

Confirmed Itinerary February 16- May 24 2016

Elaine Storkey 2scars across humanity flyer A5 (22 06 15) (2) (3) (1)

Feb 16                         St Edmundsbury Cathedral: ‘Roots of Violence’

Feb 21                         Radio Ulster: Sunday Sequence

Feb 21                         BBC 1  Big Question- Is Atheism the Rational Choice

Feb 21                         Radio Suffolk: Jon Wright interview – Scars Across Humanity

Feb 26-28                 Sidmouth – Tavistock church weekend – Creation, sin, redemption

Feb 29 -March 4     Scargill House: Micah’s prophecy today


March 5                      York – International Women’s Week. York Central Library 2.30


March 6                     Preaching: Elim Church, York

March 10                   Nottingham University public lecture 7pm


March 29                  Spring Harvest Skegness: S. H. book launch

April 1-7                     Spring Harvest, Minehead – seminars on gender and ethics

April 14-20               USA Princeton NJ: Abraham Kuyper Award.

 April 14th                 Public lecture: Princeton Seminary

April 15/16th            Kuyper Conference, Princeton

April 23-25              Chestertown MD

May 4/5                     Georgetown University, Washington. Power Shift Conference

May 5                          ‘Faith’ Panel – Women Business Leaders

May 22                       St Peter’s College Oxford – evensong: ‘Global inequality’

May 24                       Manchester Cathedral – meet the author.

More details to follow

Recent Media broadcasts

Is atheism the rational choice? (BBC’s The Big Questions, 21 Feb 2016)

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0721q2b (41 mins in) p02h7myb

How far can faith influence the public space? -Sunday Sequence BBC Ulster

Sunday Sequencehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07174vr

(33 mins into programme)


Scars Across Humanity. Interview by Jon Wright, Radio Suffolk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03hh9zw (1 min into programme)

Jon Wright



How to Spend Lent?

Time Out. Time inpraying2

Apparently #Lent has been trending on Twitter! I’m wondering what that says about the way Christians have taken up the challenge of social media. For the rest of Lent I am giving up Twitter, and Facebook too – not as any real act of self-denial, but more to reclaim time which has soaked away into self-indulgence over the past few months.

I can justify mild bouts of self-indulgence easily, of course. Days can be quite pressured, commitments often demanding at this stage of life. Four generations of family keep us very busy – from the ages of 19 months to 95 years!  There are close friends also who need time, folk who are wrestling with issues in  isolation, people who are facing despondency and disappointment. We have to be in this together; no-one should be left to struggle on their own. Then there are cases of justice to address, wrongs to highlight, causes to support. We know that all it takes for injustice to flourish is for people of good will to do nothing. Since I wrote my last book there have been many more invitations to speak, broadcast and write – all of which is encouraging  but these bring their own deadlines. So at the end of the day it is all too easy to log on to Facebook and Twitter and let time go by in pleasant surface engagement with streams of consciousness!

So, I’m giving it up; just for the rest of Lent. I’ll visit a few elderly neighbours who don’t have computers, let alone Twitter, and see friends in person rather than via screens. I’ll be present to people I am with, rather than elsewhere in my head. I’ll go to sleep at the end of the day, and not stray on to these sites in moments of weariness. And I’ll get into concentrated preparation for my own programme of speaking, so that I can build up new thought-capital rather than lazily rely on what is already there.

I’ll post my itinerary here, in case anyone is anywhere near where I shall be travelling, and has the time to come along. And, I’m hoping that those of you who are praying friends this Lent, might just offer a prayer for some of the events that I’m involved in, as well as your own. If you want me to pray for you, please post your requests below- or email me. I’d like this to become a bigger habit in my life. We all know that praying carries no guarantees. But I’m still ready to wager that time spent on my knees (metaphorically, as much of my praying is in transit!) might just make me – and those I pray for –  more effective citizens in the Kingdom of God.

The art of the reviewer

reviewing     A thank you to my reviewers

A book becomes a very personal part of life for an author, so exposure to reviewers can be quite an invasive process. To have someone else pick over your thoughts, ideas, stories, arguments, and idiosyncratic ways of expression is rather like inviting people into your house to go through all your drawers and cupboards. Inevitably, there are inconsequential oddities nestling among things of use; ancient bits and pieces that don’t belong anywhere; objects lacking obvious value or point, yet never examined because they have been around so long. If we are not on our guard, what creeps into a manuscript can easily have the same provenance. Questions from a reviewer are usually well-founded.

Yet, the process of review is revealing as well as questioning.  Through the pen of another, an author is confronted with how her ideas are received, how her stories are followed. She becomes more aware of her own power to communicate. For what seems quite obvious in the process of writing can become strangely unfathomable under the scrutiny of another. The reviewer can also spot nuggets of gold, which the author sees only as familiar base metal for these thoughts are old companions, often taken for granted.  In an open interaction of minds between author and reviewer,  a new level of wisdom and understanding is born.

This has been my experience in reading the reviews of my book sent so far. Official publication day is not until tomorrow, but reviewers have been at work for the last month, and I have already learnt a lot. The earliest reviewers had only had the uncorrected proofs to delve into; thankfully, the text has been much improved since then. Those who wrestled with this raw offering can applaud themselves that their observations had already found their way into the revised book.

The reviews are all different, reflecting the interests and insights of the different writers themselves. I have been delighted, even moved, at the unpacking of my arguments and the willingness to enter into the journey I have taken in writing the text. I have felt the pleasure of knowing that my own sense of sorrow, outrage, grief and elation have found an echo in the hearts and minds of those who have thoughtfully analysed this book. I have been gratified that my sense of the challenge to our shared humanness has been reflected in the responses I have received.

So here are six reviews to share with you, in order of their publication.

  1. ‘Review of Scars Across Humanity’: CBE International, by Kimberley Patch.  http://www.cbeinternational.org/blogs/review-scars-across-humanity
  2. ‘Scars Across Humanity: the scourge of Global Violence Against Women’ IDEA review by Chine Mbubaegbuhttp://www.eauk.org/idea/scars-across-humanity-the-scourge-of-global-violence-against-women.cfm
  3. ‘Unmasking the Horror: How violence against women is poisoning the world’: Christian today review by Mark Woods  http://www.christiantoday.com/article/unmasking.the.horror.how.violence.against.women.is.poisoning.the.world/67614.htm
  4. ‘Unsettling the Choir: Scars Across Humanity’: in the Age of Uncertainty Claire Jone’s blog  http://theartofuncertainty.com/2015/11/18/unsettling-the-choir-scars-across-humanity-by-elaine-storkey/
  5. ‘Theologian documents global scale of violence against women’: Anglican Communion News Service by  Gavin Drake  http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2015/11/theologian-documents-global-scale-of-gender-based-violence-against-women.aspx
  6. ‘Book Review: Scars Across Humanity ‘by Thomas Creedy, http://admiralcreedy.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/book-review-scars-against-humanity.html

Thank you to you all.      rape 6

Gender-based violence as a weapon of war

Scars Across Humanity Posting 14

Chapter 9 Sexual Violence and War

From any angle, war and terrorism are a horrible blight on the human race……….

War embodies a gender paradox. It is traditionally fought by male military combatants, yet from every international or non-international war zone we hear reports of brutal violence against women. In our contemporary world, according to Amnesty International, 90 per cent of casualties in modern warfare are civilian and of these 75 per cent are women and children.

Rape as a weapon of war: counting the toll

The number of women involved in coercive violence is staggering. In the 100 days of genocide that ravaged the small African nation of Rwanda, an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were raped. In Sierra Leone, between 1991 and 2000, about 64,000 internally displaced women endured sexual assault. In the Balkans tensions of the 1990s, thousands of women in Bosnia- Herzegovina and Kosovo experienced terrible violations involving mass rape: 20,000 to 50,000 women were violated in the Bosnian conflict over three years. During the Liberian civil war, from 1999 to 2003, about 49 per cent of women aged 15 to 70 experienced sexual violence from soldiers or armed militia. In the early 2000s Janjaweed paramilitary and Sudanese government troops raped and murdered tens of thousands of non-Arab women in Darfur. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an estimated 200,000 surviving rape victims are alive today, although the figure for those who were killed will probably never be known. In 2013 rampant violence against women was reported in the civil war in Somalia, and reports from Syria said that 90,000 women and children had fled rape and sexual persecution.Yet fleeing guarantees no safety, for reports of gender-based violence towards women refugees – from Iraq, Somalia, Chad, Syria – flood out from the internally displaced person (IDP) camps that take them in. As recently as 2014, chronic instability and lawlessness in the Central African Republic opened up another wave of violence against women, and the brutal barbarity of Islamic State fighters continues the vicious process. Yet none of this awful scenario is new. Sexual violence was prevalent in Europe as far back as the 1914–18 War; it was in Asia during the Asia–Pacific Wars, and across more than one continent in the Second World War. One hundred years after the outbreak of the First World War, the National Catholic Reporter called for us to properly recognize gender-based violence in war for what it surely is:

peaceBeheadings and bombings are seen as terrorist acts, but the systematic rape, abduction, and trafficking of women as a war tactic is still viewed only as a women’s or humanitarian issue. Until we recognize these acts of sexual violence as acts of terrorism and not simply as a humanitarian concern it will be difficult to combat these ongoing, catastrophic attacks on women.

Please read the whole book – 15 left in stock on Amazon for immediate delivery http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scars-Across-Humanity-Understanding-Overcoming/dp/0281075085

Or join us on November 25th – Eastbourne 1.50, London, Westminster 4.45 (see launches)

Child Marriage? – child abuse

Scars Across Humanity Post 7

Chapter 4 Early and Enforced Marriage:  child abuse by another name

This is an issue about life, families, communities, broken dreams and shattered bodies. It is about girls at risk of marriage; just as much as it is about the millions of adolescent mothers and girls in marriage.    Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda World YWCA

This is not marriage, but rather the selling and buying of young women.      Ahlam al-Obeidi, Iraq radio

Child Marriage1Some mind-blowing statistics

Every three seconds a girl under the age of 18 is married somewhere across the world – usually without her consent and sometimes to a much older man. The United Nations Population Fund suggests that, every day, 39,000 girls marry too young. It is predicted that more than 140 million child brides will have entered marriage in the decade up to 2020, 18.5 million of them under the age of 15; if nothing changes, the annual figure will grow from 14.2 million in 2010 to 15.1 million in 2030. As the General Secretary of the World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) observes, the number of children married under age is now higher than the total population of Zimbabwe!


Figures like these do indicate the massive numerical scale of the problem and the difficulties in eliminating it. But they do not unpack the human misery enfolded inside them. A moving exhibition mounted in 2014 by the United Nations in Geneva opened that up. Through very sober photographs and short, poignant narratives we came face to face with the wrecked hopes and tragic lives of survivors of child marriage. Ghulam had wanted to be a teacher, but was pulled out of school at 11 to marry a 40-year-old man; 14-year-old Afisha, in Ghana, was unable to be educated because of her father’s poverty, and instead was sold as a bride for cola nuts and 60 cedis (about £25); Asia was ill and bleeding from childbirth at 14, as she cared for her two-year-old child and new- born baby…….

Read more in Scars Across Humanity

Female Genital Mutilation

Scars Across Humanity Post 6

Chapter three: Female Genital Mutilation


‘The pain of circumcision is like a heavy burden I always carry with me. It is like darkness in my life, in my chest. You can never forget it.’ FGM Survivor

Up to 140 million women worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C). That equates to more than twice the entire population of the UK. Women who have endured this process assure me that it is something that stays forever in the memory, and it often revisits them without warning.  A Sudanese writer recalls her own experience of being cut at the age of six:

“Despite the passage of twelve years, the scene still remains vivid in my memory. From the moment the horrendous experience has begun, and until the last day of your life, it will never cease to torment you. I will never forget the faint sound of the scissor cut- ting my flesh four times, the stitching four times or relative hideous pain in urination or retention, the accompanying complications and the nightmares of vicious cycle of cutting-stitching-cutting and legacy of hereditary pain.”

A report on FGM issued by the UK government in 2014 suggested that around 140,0FGM-Anti-FGM00 women in England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM and around 10,000 girls under the age of 15 are likely to undergo cutting.

Female genital mutilation has no known health benefits, in any of its forms. On the contrary, it is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways and is extremely painful and traumatic. The procedure involves cutting off the clitoris, and, depending on the extent of the process, other parts of the external genitals may also be excised. Three main forms of FGM are practised. . . . . .

read more in Scars Across Humanity