Book Review“ Scars Across Humanity: Understanding And Overcoming Violence Against Women” By Elaine Storkey (SPCK, 2015) -- By: Kevin Giles

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 30:4 (Autumn 2016)
Article: Book Review“ Scars Across Humanity: Understanding And Overcoming Violence Against Women” By Elaine Storkey (SPCK, 2015)
Author: Kevin Giles


Book Review“
Scars Across Humanity: Understanding And Overcoming Violence Against Women”
By Elaine Storkey (SPCK, 2015)

Kevin Giles

Kevin Giles, an Australian, has served as an Anglican parish minister for over forty years. He has been publishing on the substantial equality of the sexes since 1975 and is a foundation member of CBE International. He holds a doctorate in NT studies and has published books on the church, church health, ministry in the apostolic age, the book of Acts, gender equality, and the Trinity, besides numerous scholarly and popular articles.

I have read nothing quite like Elaine Storkey’s book, Scars Across Humanity. It tells the story of violence against women in today’s world. The book is very well researched and accessible; moreover, it is spine-chilling. As I sat with the book in hand after reading it I felt both pleased that someone had so powerfully told this awful story and depressed by what I had read.

This book has great weight, not only because of the important facts covered, but also because of who wrote it. Storkey is a philosopher, sociologist, theologian and BBC broadcaster who has taught in several of the most prestigious universities in England. She has been a member of the General Synod of the Church of England since 1987. She succeeded John Stott as the executive director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity in 1991. In 1997 she was appointed president of Tearfund, a UK- based evangelical aid and relief organization.

After an introductory chapter, the following eight chapters deal with specific forms of violence against women in the chronological order that they are most likely to occur in a woman’s life: abortion of female foetuses and infanticide, genital mutilation, early enforced marriage, honor killing, domestic violence, trafficking and prostitution, rape, and the abuse of women in war.

Then follow four chapters exploring the various explanations that have been given for these inexcusable realities. First, Storkey gives a good hearing to evolutionary biology as the root cause, but in the end finds it wanting. It fails to acknowledge that human beings are free agents who can decide how they behave. Second, patriarchy, the belief that men should rule over women, is considered as the cause. She agrees this is a pernicious idea but again concludes that, as free moral agents, human beings are not bound to perpetuate patriarchy and its abuses. Third, two chapters consider the argument that religion is to blame. The first chapter is on religion in general and Islam in particular as the cause, and the second is specifically on Christianity. She concedes that most religions are conservative and teach the subordination of women, although often at the same time they speak of the worth and dignity of women. Ne...

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