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Eve Was Shamed: How British Justice is Failing Women

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What comes after #MeToo? One of our most eminent lawyers and defenders of human rights answers with this urgent, authoritative and deeply shocking look at British justice In Eve Was Shamed Helena Kennedy forensically examines the pressing new evidence that women are still being discriminated against throughout the legal system, from the High Court (where only 21% of jud What comes after #MeToo? One of our most eminent lawyers and defenders of human rights answers with this urgent, authoritative and deeply shocking look at British justice In Eve Was Shamed Helena Kennedy forensically examines the pressing new evidence that women are still being discriminated against throughout the legal system, from the High Court (where only 21% of judges are women) to female prisons (where 84% of inmates are held for non-violent offences despite the refrain that prison should only be used for violent or serious crime). In between are the so-called ‘lifestyle’ choices of the Rotherham girls; the failings of the current rules on excluding victims’ sexual history from rape trials; battered wives being asked why they don’t ‘just leave’ their partners; the way statistics hide the double discrimination experienced by BAME and disabled women; the failure to prosecute cases of female genital mutilation… the list goes on. The law holds up a mirror to society and it is failing women. The #MeToo campaign has been in part a reaction to those failures. So what comes next? How do we codify what we've learned? In this richly detailed and shocking book, one of our most eminent human rights thinkers and practitioners shows with force and fury that change for women must start at the heart of what makes society just.


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What comes after #MeToo? One of our most eminent lawyers and defenders of human rights answers with this urgent, authoritative and deeply shocking look at British justice In Eve Was Shamed Helena Kennedy forensically examines the pressing new evidence that women are still being discriminated against throughout the legal system, from the High Court (where only 21% of jud What comes after #MeToo? One of our most eminent lawyers and defenders of human rights answers with this urgent, authoritative and deeply shocking look at British justice In Eve Was Shamed Helena Kennedy forensically examines the pressing new evidence that women are still being discriminated against throughout the legal system, from the High Court (where only 21% of judges are women) to female prisons (where 84% of inmates are held for non-violent offences despite the refrain that prison should only be used for violent or serious crime). In between are the so-called ‘lifestyle’ choices of the Rotherham girls; the failings of the current rules on excluding victims’ sexual history from rape trials; battered wives being asked why they don’t ‘just leave’ their partners; the way statistics hide the double discrimination experienced by BAME and disabled women; the failure to prosecute cases of female genital mutilation… the list goes on. The law holds up a mirror to society and it is failing women. The #MeToo campaign has been in part a reaction to those failures. So what comes next? How do we codify what we've learned? In this richly detailed and shocking book, one of our most eminent human rights thinkers and practitioners shows with force and fury that change for women must start at the heart of what makes society just.

30 review for Eve Was Shamed: How British Justice is Failing Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Imogen Kathleen

    Here's my review... almost a month after I was meant to write it! Eve Was Shamed is a powerful, engaging, and highly accessible insight into how the British legal system is failing women, particularly BAME, LGBTQ+ and low-income women. That's right kids - we got intersectional feminism! Helena Kennedy is a barrister, the ex-principal of Mansfield college at Oxford University, and has been involved in founding more inclusive barrister's Inns to help increase female and BAME representation in the l Here's my review... almost a month after I was meant to write it! Eve Was Shamed is a powerful, engaging, and highly accessible insight into how the British legal system is failing women, particularly BAME, LGBTQ+ and low-income women. That's right kids - we got intersectional feminism! Helena Kennedy is a barrister, the ex-principal of Mansfield college at Oxford University, and has been involved in founding more inclusive barrister's Inns to help increase female and BAME representation in the law. To put it mildly, she's a pretty fucking awesome woman. In this book, Kennedy discusses a variety of areas where the law ought to be improved to better fight the good fight (view spoiler)[we do love equality (hide spoiler)] , including in relation to rape trials, incarceration of single mothers for petty crimes, and the murder trials of domestic abuse victims. Whilst this is certainly a very dark read, it is an important read. What I found particularly refreshing was the simple language used by Kennedy to discuss these matters, avoiding unnecessary legal jargon where possible. Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone and everyone!

  2. 5 out of 5

    miscellanypages

    Rating: 4 stars Category: Non-fiction Format: Audiobook Content Warnings: murder, violence, rape, domestic violence, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, coercive control, misogyny, transphobia, infant death, child abuse, trauma, reference to mental illness and self-harm. This may be a difficult read for some – use caution. Synopsis: Working as a high-level barrister at the very heart of the justice system, Helena Kennedy is well placed to examine whether this system is working for women. In her book, sh Rating: 4 stars Category: Non-fiction Format: Audiobook Content Warnings: murder, violence, rape, domestic violence, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, coercive control, misogyny, transphobia, infant death, child abuse, trauma, reference to mental illness and self-harm. This may be a difficult read for some – use caution. Synopsis: Working as a high-level barrister at the very heart of the justice system, Helena Kennedy is well placed to examine whether this system is working for women. In her book, she draws on extensive experience working with women, both as victims and perpetrators of crime, and the challenges she has faced as one of the only QC female barristers. Eve Was Shamed is a shocking revelation of how women remain discriminated against by the law. It is also a powerful call for change. Review: First Page Impressions I was immediately impressed by Helena Kennedy’s passion and knowledge. The audiobook narrated by the author was fantastic at getting across this passion, so I would definitely recommend it. The introduction about the barriers to entering law school was something I could relate to from my own experience trying to access the veterinary profession, which is very elitist. Having entered the university through a diversity programme (I was one of the few state school students on the course), I can appreciate the importance of such programmes. They couldn’t keep me there, but at least they got me there in the first place! Kennedy makes a valuable point about increasing diversity within the justice system as a way to address discrimination inflicted upon the people it is supposed to serve. Final Page Reflections Wow, this book really hammers home the realisation that work is still needed to achieve equality. It is impossible not to be angered by the outdated, almost interrogative enquiries that female crime victims are subjected to by judges. It sometimes seems as if they are the ones on trial! There are shocking, emotive stories throughout, from women falsely accused of murdering their infants to those fined for wasting police time after desperately trying to report stalking (yes, really). I would have liked some more of these case studies, drawn from Kennedy’s own knowledge and experience as a barrister, to humanise the facts. Eve Was Shamed outlines solutions as well as problems, including improved diversity and training within the entire justice system. This creates a note of hope that means the book doesn’t feel too pessimistic. Diversity and Representation Kennedy’s intersectional feminist approach is refreshing. She considers how misogyny, race, class and trans issues all act together to affect women’s experiences in the courts. Themes Justice Discrimination Law Crime and punishment Gender Feminism Race Class Diversity Social mobility Beyond the Book If knowledge is power, then Eve Was Shamed is certainly empowering. It reminds us that awareness of discrimination is the first step in addressing it and that this awareness can be applied to any area of life. Continued Contemplation Kennedy discusses the need for increased diversity in professions such as law. Do you think these professions should have quotas to ensure they meet diversity aims? This book explores the ethical dilemmas faced by female barristers when representing criminals who have committed violence against women. Should barristers have more freedom to choose their cases, or would this threaten the right to legal representation? Eve Was Shamed focusses on the British justice system. If you live elsewhere, how did the issues raised compare? Were there similarities or differences? Favourite quote: “we have equal legal rights to spend real time with our families, where there really is equal pay, where the pressures of the long-hours culture are removed, where pay in the caring professions was made so rewarding that it did not invariably fall to women to look after the elderly, the disabled or children in nurseries, nor that teaching in primary schools was a female role.” Read if: You are interested in reading a feminist challenge to an unjust justice system. If you found this review helpful, there are many more on my blog! https://miscellanypages.wordpress.com ~ Exploring Difference ~ Opening My Mind ~ Striving for a Better World Through Books ~

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Pardon the pun but truly words don't do this book justice. I think this should be obligatory reading for anybody who has an interest in gender politics, the justice system and/ or social welfare. Helena Kennedy QC cuts through the legal jargon and uses visceral language to paint a solemn picture of inequity and hope. It's a delicate balancing act but because Kennedy is pro-active in suggesting solutions, the harrowing contemporary state of affairs feels less doom and gloom. I suspect my copy wil Pardon the pun but truly words don't do this book justice. I think this should be obligatory reading for anybody who has an interest in gender politics, the justice system and/ or social welfare. Helena Kennedy QC cuts through the legal jargon and uses visceral language to paint a solemn picture of inequity and hope. It's a delicate balancing act but because Kennedy is pro-active in suggesting solutions, the harrowing contemporary state of affairs feels less doom and gloom. I suspect my copy will end up pretty weathered within a few months as I'm intending on lending it to literally anyone who'll listen.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Mills

    At this point, I completely worship Helena Kennedy! This is such an interesting exploration of how the British justice system treats women. I read Eve Was Framed last year and this updated version shows how hard we still need to work for equality.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paniz K

    Very informative, I love her critical yet practical approach to women's inequality. Rather dry, could use some headings and subheadings. Very informative, I love her critical yet practical approach to women's inequality. Rather dry, could use some headings and subheadings.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lara Alamad

    This has been sitting on my TBR pile for a while, but since I'm reading about the criminal justice system a lot at the moment, it seemed time to finally read it. I read Eve Was Framed in 2012 and it was revelatory, yet reading this was rather less so. Firstly, there is a significant amount in here which is a rehashing of Eve Was Framed, particularly the extended opening chapter on the status of women within the legal profession. The structure of this book is an issue, with chapters being overly This has been sitting on my TBR pile for a while, but since I'm reading about the criminal justice system a lot at the moment, it seemed time to finally read it. I read Eve Was Framed in 2012 and it was revelatory, yet reading this was rather less so. Firstly, there is a significant amount in here which is a rehashing of Eve Was Framed, particularly the extended opening chapter on the status of women within the legal profession. The structure of this book is an issue, with chapters being overly long and occasionally rambling. Long discussions about Myra Hindley and Rose West do not seem to reach any particularly insightful conclusions which the reader may not already hold. More disappointing is what the book does not mention. When talking about the deaths of women in custody, the work of Deborah Coles and INQUEST is inexplicably absent. Likewise, Kennedy praises the work of female judges, but ignores Justice Thirlwall's highly publicised sentencing remarks in the Philpott case which brought the issue of coercive control into the public realm. A decent read, but not a hugely satisfying one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    A really informative yet shocking read. Helena Kennedy’s writing and approach to addressing the systemic failures of the justice system to deliver exactly that for women and girls is both reasoned and impassioned. She also just seems like a total badass and I fully buy into her manifesto for an overhaul of not only the legal and justice systems, but gender politics more broadly.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Conni Dawson

    Not a fun read, but an extremely worthwhile one. Helena kennedy is an expert in her field and it shows. Her writing is clear, concise, well founded and utterly ruthless in its condemnation of womens experiences in the british legal system.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This is a very interesting read on the las in Britain and which parts exist to maintain male ascendency and which keep women in as second class citizens. While interesting, it is a slog to read. But will cause me to revise how I look at criminal procedurals when the case involves a woman.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Harry

    An expert’s balanced and nuanced account of the systemic issues facing not only women, but people of all minorities.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    The trigger warnings are for everything that could happen to a woman. She went into detail about crimes commited such as assaults, murders, child abuse, rape. I originally rated this 4 stars but have since upped it to 5. It was one of those books that makes you think.. and I mean REALLY think! I want to read more from her and, for the first time EVER, made me want to take up a law degree to fight for women's injustice. I was shocked, I was enraged and I was moved by what she wrote about. I sobbed in The trigger warnings are for everything that could happen to a woman. She went into detail about crimes commited such as assaults, murders, child abuse, rape. I originally rated this 4 stars but have since upped it to 5. It was one of those books that makes you think.. and I mean REALLY think! I want to read more from her and, for the first time EVER, made me want to take up a law degree to fight for women's injustice. I was shocked, I was enraged and I was moved by what she wrote about. I sobbed in places too.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This book is very informative. It is full of extensive research, case studies and well developed. The information is inclusive and looks at it from a gaze of someone who believes in equality for minority groups e.g LGBT, woman and minor ethnicity groups. Can be a little dull and dry in places, the middle section is lengthy. I would recommend listening to the book on audio rather than reading the book in a visual form. Therefore it loses a mark - so 4*

  13. 4 out of 5

    MargCal

    4 ☆ Finished reading … Eve was shamed: how British justice is failing women / Helena Kennedy ... 04 July 2019 ISBN: 9781784742225 … 344 pp. In many ways this is a companion piece to another book I read recently, The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... But this book goes further. It shows the bias experienced by women right across the spectrum (from barrister to prostitute and beyond), the poor, the non-white on top of the flaws and fail 4 ☆ Finished reading … Eve was shamed: how British justice is failing women / Helena Kennedy ... 04 July 2019 ISBN: 9781784742225 … 344 pp. In many ways this is a companion piece to another book I read recently, The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... But this book goes further. It shows the bias experienced by women right across the spectrum (from barrister to prostitute and beyond), the poor, the non-white on top of the flaws and failings of an underfunded justice system. The bias is expressed through seeing women as lesser humans yet often held to a higher standard than men, and it is also expressed through the ignorance and disbelief of lawyers, barristers and judges of what the day-to-day life of “lesser beings” is like. Men claim they judge equally but there is no allowance made for the vast differences in where people start from that brings them to court. The book gives so many examples of bias across so many types of criminal charges. One sticks out in my mind although it is by no means any worse than other examples: at a time when in one court a woman was gaoled for killing her husband who had beaten her regularly, in another court a man was given a suspended sentence for killing his nagging wife. The book also gives background information about domestic violence and its effects upon women, especially psychological effects that paralyse them; trafficking, usually of women and not infrequently under-age girls; the scourge of pornography; drugs; that children being taken into care can lead them to a life of crime; and more. Additionally, that there are women who are bad is acknowledged. Kennedy calls for justice for women, but not at the expense of men, nor at the expense of going soft on women. Rather, she argues not for identical outcomes but for justice in each individual case; that justice should not be blind but instead should see the whole picture. And of course, like the anonymous Secret Barrister, Kennedy pleads for stripped funding to be restored and expanded in order to fix a system that is well and truly broken. She also deplores the movement to Brexit for (a) the money being spent which could go towards helping fix not only the legal system but health, housing, education etc and (b) moving away from international cooperation with regards to issues such as trafficking. If you don't know Helena Kennedy, check wikipedia for her long list of credentials, involvements and achievements. Very highly recommended. Very readable. Note: presumably Eve fights back was a working title. Borrowed from my local library. Bought by my local library at my request.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Hershkovych

    Despite the fact that the book is very information-packed and argumentative, which makes it easier to look at the issue of gender inequality in criminal justice in a rather calm manner, I had a visceral reaction to this book. Having a firsthand experience of domestic abuse, I couldn't help becoming very emotional about it, especially in the part, where Helena Kennedy describes how emotionally and physically battered women fail to protect their kids because they fear this will unleash even more a Despite the fact that the book is very information-packed and argumentative, which makes it easier to look at the issue of gender inequality in criminal justice in a rather calm manner, I had a visceral reaction to this book. Having a firsthand experience of domestic abuse, I couldn't help becoming very emotional about it, especially in the part, where Helena Kennedy describes how emotionally and physically battered women fail to protect their kids because they fear this will unleash even more abuse. This is all too prevalent. It is not an easy book to read but it is, by all means, an essential read for women and men alike. For women to get an idea about how a good relationship should feel like (hint, not him, being all too concerned for you to look beautiful, tells you what to wear, or not him reprimanding you for having too many male friends) and for men, who are still wilfully blind to the pernicious effect gender inequality still has even in first-world countries (this is a hard read not least because it evoked in my memory every single episode, where I had to speak up against gender inequality and was silenced about it; I remember how a person that used to be in my life said that 'those who shout about gender inequality are just making excuses for their own failures' and every comment akin to this that women still have to rebuke on a daily basis). I loved how Helena Kennedy emphasized the pervasive nature of the disbelief culture, that surrounds a lot of police reports filed by women. The crux of the debate is that gender inequality hurts all of us and there is a lot of work left to be done to even fathom a levelled playing field. Read this book, give it to your partners (who should not take it personally but, rather, be more sensitized to this issue and call out gender stereotypes as well), friends, family. Knowledge is the first step to empowerment and women, and the world at large, can no longer afford being disempowered.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Siddoway

    Utterly fascinating read. My one difficulty, again, is how the trans ideology component of the book is dealt with. Given that we are talking about systemic failures in the justice system as to how they pertain to women, it is vital that we understand what the term woman means and why it is sex-based. Trans women have their own inherent difficulties within the justice system, but conflating those issues with those faced by biological women only serves to muddy the waters. This book gave me a lot Utterly fascinating read. My one difficulty, again, is how the trans ideology component of the book is dealt with. Given that we are talking about systemic failures in the justice system as to how they pertain to women, it is vital that we understand what the term woman means and why it is sex-based. Trans women have their own inherent difficulties within the justice system, but conflating those issues with those faced by biological women only serves to muddy the waters. This book gave me a lot to think about, particularly with regard to the question of how prostituted women are dealt with by the justice system, and by the lack of support in general made available to female victims of crime. The appallingly low conviction rate for sexual assault is also a matter that needs urgent attention. Women everywhere need to sit up and take note of how little the justice system works form them, especially in the current context of election time when we have the opportunity to hold our politicians to account for these failures.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie Saunders

    Interesting take on how women are stereotyped and divided into whores and saints, victims and perpetrators and the rest of the legal system excludes and diminishes their Testimony. The patriarchy is flourishing within the criminal justice system and Helena Kennedy is to be applauded for her efforts to bring this to public attention

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    This book should be mandatory reading. For everybody, no exceptions. Helena Kennedy QC outlines how the British legal system lets down women, diminishes their testimonies, and how women are treated in the justice system. Can't recommend this book highly enough. This book should be mandatory reading. For everybody, no exceptions. Helena Kennedy QC outlines how the British legal system lets down women, diminishes their testimonies, and how women are treated in the justice system. Can't recommend this book highly enough.

  18. 4 out of 5

    angie

    3.5!

  19. 5 out of 5

    ClaireBear81

    I found it to be a bit repetitive of Eve Was Framed - the anecdotes were even the same in the majority of chapters. I loves Eve Was Framed but this book was the same as the updated 2015 edition.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Interesting look at the British justice system. It was easy to read and kept me interested.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kjersti Johansen

    This was a real eye opener on how the law works and how women are disadvantaged in the system, particularly in sexual assault or rape cases.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Portia S

    Fascinating and horrifying. A must-read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tegan

    Everybody should be reading this. So powerful and sadly so true.

  24. 5 out of 5

    sarah hammond

    (published title is Eve Was Shamed)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Claire Phillips

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  27. 4 out of 5

    Milly Percival

  28. 5 out of 5

    Charis

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tom Waller-Webb

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zohra

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