Monday, 13 February 2017

Scars across humanity

I don't consider myself a particularly good person. I know - nobody else does either. But I try to do the right things, and often fail. I know that there are those who might raise times  when I have been offensive, or inappropriate.

I don't do very well at being good.

Then I read Elaine Storkeys new book, Scars Across Humanity.

As always from Elaine, it is a superbly written book, well researched, clearly and honestly written. But the subject matter is appalling, harrowing and intensely disturbing. As it is meant to be. It is detailing abuse against women across the world, from FGM, to rape, child brides to intimate partner abuse and femicide. It touches on all of these areas, in some detail, and with statistics to back them up.

As I said, I am not a particularly good person. But the wilful, deliberate abuse of another person, the mutilation and killing of other people for no reason other than their gender makes me sick. The deliberate mental or psychological injury is as bad, and the justification based on culture of religion makes me look with disdain at those cultures and religions. I suspect I am not alone in this, even among people who would, theoretically align themselves with these religions.

And yes, Christianity has an appalling record in terms of women's rights. Or rather, an appalling record of patriarchal domination and abuse, of justification for horrible, hideous crimes against women.

And yes, I am ashamed of what has been done in the name of the faith I believe in. And what continues to be done in it's name. Because my faith is about trying to be better, trying to be the presence of the divine, seeking the good in all (and many other things, of course). It is not a faith of abuse and oppression, any more than any other of the major world religions is.

And as I read the book, I became ashamed of my fellow human beings - especially men. Because when you read something like that, something that highlights the scale and degree of violence and hatred, you have to question what sort of creatures we are who wreak such havoc on ourselves. It is a disgrace.

I would love to recommend that you read it, but I found it bordering on traumatic, so I struggle to. But if you want to understand why there is a need for feminism still, when, in some parts of society there seems little real need any more, or only against the few stalwarts of paternalism, this book shows why feminism is still so needed. Across the world - in the rich, poor, "Christian" or not, wealthy or in desperate poverty, being a woman is still a disadvantage.

Until that is changed, there will be a need for books like this. That is a sad necessity.

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