How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists
By Joan Smith
An urgent manifesto revealing the link between domestic violence and terrorism by seasoned journalist and human rights campaigner
Terrorism begins at home.
In the debate about what makes a terrorist, a striking common factor has been long overlooked - a history of domestic violence. From the Manchester bomber, who was known to police for assaulting a woman, to the London Bridge attackers, who abused their wives, mothers and sisters, the portrait is shockingly clear.
Terrorism is seen as a special category of crime that has blinded us to the obvious - that it is, almost always, male violence. It belongs alongside cases such as the Finsbury Park Mosque attacker and the Florida school shooter - privately abusive men whose public outbursts cost lives.
The Charlie Hebdo killers provide a further insight, into the role of childhood trauma in developing violent behaviour. But the greatest proof lies in ISIS, who deliberately recruit youths who have been indoctrinated into cruelty and rape. It's the world's biggest boys' gang.
Until Joan Smith's radical outcry in 2017 criminal authorities missed this link, because violence against women is dangerously normalised. Yet, since domestic abuse often comes before a public attack, it's here a solution to the scourge of our age might be found.
Home-Grown is not just a book - it's a manifesto. Joan Smith has researched the backgrounds of terrorists across the UK, Europe and the US. With scouring perception, she sets out a course of action that could transform the way we counteract domestic abuse and save lives.
Joan Smith is a novelist, columnist and campaigner for human rights. She is the author of the feminist classic Misogynies, the Loretta Lawson crime series and the thriller What Will Survive as well as non-fiction on food, secular morality and the monarchy. Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Independent, Sunday Times and the Labour weekly Tribune.
Since 2013 she has been co-chair of the Mayor of London's Violence Against Women and Girls Board. She is a former Chair of the English PEN Writers in Prison Committee and has advised the FCO on freedom of expression. Currently, she is on the board of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society, is a patron of Humanists UK and an honorary associate of the National Secular Society. She lives in London.
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- Publication date:
16 May 2019
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