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.

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