Lady Violet Room, National Liberal Club, London
What do the attacks in London Bridge and Manchester have in common with those at the Charlie Hebdo offices, the Finsbury Park Mosque and many US school shootings? They were all carried out by men with histories of domestic violence.
Our guest this month is the writer and campaigner Joan Smith, whose latest book, Home Grown, explores the link between terrorism and violence against women. The fact that terrorism is seen as a special category of crime, she argues, has blinded us to the obvious – that it is, almost always, male violence, and it begins at home.
Smith’s clear-eyed research transforms incomprehensible ideology into a disturbing but familiar pattern. Whether ‘Islamist’ or white supremacist, in almost every case the perpetrators have practised in private, on the women in their lives, before unleashing their public atrocities. From angry white men to the London gang members who join ISIS, this fierce, brilliant and timely study shows that, time and time again, misogyny, trauma and abuse lurk beneath the ‘justifications’ of religion or politics.
Joan Smith is a novelist, human rights activist and a columnist for the Independent, the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. She is the author of several books on feminism and human rights, including Misogynies (1989), Different for Girls (1998), Moralities (2001) and The Public Woman (2013), hailed by Bernadine Evaristo as ‘a red-hot account of what it means to be a woman today’. Among her six novels are the popular mysteries featuring Loretta Lawson, an English Literature professor turned sleuth.
Joan was co-chair of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Panel and a former Chair of the English PEN Writers in Prison Committee. A victim of phone hacking, she gave evidence to the Leveson Enquiry and served as Executive Director of Hacked Off, the organisation that campaigns for a free and accountable press. She is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.
The charge for the two-course lunch (starter, main course, coffee and chocolates) and a glass of club wine is £33 per person. To book, phone 020 7930 9871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 12 July. Payment can be made by cheque, bank transfer or debit card.