Without a word of introduction or warning Benson and Stangroom launch into a detailed catalogue of murders, rapes, torture and brutality against women; all carried out with the blessing and sometimes instigation of religious leaders. Honour killings, teenage rape victims stoned for adultery, children sent back into a burning building at gunpoint for dishonouring dress codes.
These are the extreme examples, but the authors critically examine and argue that religion is used as a tool in the oppression of women worldwide. Benson’s and Strangroom’s arguments are clear, rational, logical, and convincing. Benson (editor of the delightfully provocative website Butterflies and Wheels) and Strangroom are philosophers, used to complex debate, yet their books are easy for the lay person to understand. This is a must read book for feminists (and non feminists) everywhere but not an easy one. Readers who would like an easier introduction to Benson’s and Strangroom’s work might like to try Why Truth Matters (one of my favourite books) a more light hearted piece, but still an intelligent, philosophical and political discussion of rational thought in the modern world. But for the more courageous amongst you, give this latest work a try, but be aware it probably is a case where you will read it and weep!