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Lent Talk

Today we celebrate our co-lead Katie Edwards who yesterday won a Jerusalem Award, in the Festivals (Radio) Category. ‘Silence of the Lamb’ was Katie’s contribution to The Lent Talks, an annual fixture of Radio 4. Katie’s powerful and moving piece resonates with the disclosures of #MeToo and incorporates her own experience of abuse in challenging the idea that silence in the face of suffering is a strength and a virtue.

Just to put her piece into perspective, here is a digest of today’s The Guardian (Wednesday, 17 October 2018).

The cover picture is of Northern Irish author Anna Burns who yesterday was awarded the Man Booker Prize for her novel Milkman ‘about a young woman sexually harassed by an older man’ (p.1). On p.13 there is more about the novel, with Claire Armitstead describing it as ‘plucky and challenging’ and as a novel ‘that speaks directly to the #MeToo era and political anxieties over borders in Ireland and elsewhere.’

On p.4 is a story headed ‘MPs clash over bullying as Bercow stands his ground’, reporting on the inquiry by Dame Laura Cox ‘into sexual harassment and bullying in Westminster’. This is also the topic of on opinion piece on p.2 of the ‘Journal’ section.

On p.7 is an article entitled ‘Surge in hate crimes follows EU vote and terrorist attacks’. It states that ‘Religious hate crime has increased by 40% in the two years to March, to 8,336 incidents, representing 9% of all hate crimes.’ It also reports, ‘Race was deemed to be a motivating factor in 76% of recorded hate crime – 71,251 incidents in the year to March – while sexual orientation was a factor in 11,638 (12% of incidents). A further 7,226 incidents (8%) were recorded as disability hate crimes, and 2% (1,651) of incidents were classed as transgender hate crimes.’

On p.9 is a report about the retrial of a convicted paedophile who stands accused of the killings of two nine-year-old girls in Brighton in 1986.

On p.14 is an item entitled ‘Catholic aid charity is suspended from global fight to end sex abuse’, reporting that Cafod, Britain’s largest Catholic aid charity, has failed an audit by the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative.

On p.21 is another account of a historical case of child sexual abuse. The abuse is said to have been committed by a Catholic monk.

There are two articles on p.23. The first reports on an online anthology published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). In this anthology 125 victims of sexual abuse detail the horrors they experienced in schools, sports clubs, churches and other groups.  The second article is headed ‘Data rules “denying rape victims justice”.’ It details how the mass gathering of data (such as from phones and computers) from rape victims can violate their rights and prevent them from coming forward.

On p.32 is a short piece reporting that President Donald Trump referred to adult film actor Stormy Daniels as ‘Horseface’. Daniels responded with a tweet that Trump ‘demonstrated his incompetence, hatred of women and lack of self control on Twitter AGAIN!’

The ‘Letters’ section (p.6, ‘Journal’) contains one letter signed by 54 academics reporting harassment and suppression ‘of proper academic analysis of transgenderism, and its multiple causes and effects.

On p.10 of ‘Journal’ is a piece by Agron Bajrami on a resurgence of violence in the Balkans. It reflects on the atrocities of Kosovo, which included extensive brutalities of so-called ‘ethnic cleansing’, including mass rapes of women.

This is The Guardian on just another day. It shows that rape culture is undeniable. It shows religion often intersects with rape culture. It shows we have much to do.

Tags : Jerusalem AwardsJohanna StiebertKatie EdwardsRadio 4Rape CultureThe Guardian
Johanna Stiebert

The author Johanna Stiebert

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