Global conversations about a rape-free world

On October 7th, SHaME will be celebrating the release of Professor Joanna Bourke’s new book, Disgrace: Global Reflections on Sexual Violence, published by Reaktion Books. Joanna will be joined by Jude Kelly CBE, Marai Larasi, Dr Rhea Sookdeosingh, and Maisha Sumah in a conversation between artists, activists and academics on boundary-crossing global approaches to creating a rape free world.

Clore Lecture Theatre (B01)
Clore Management Centre,
27 Torrington Square, London

On October 7th, SHaME will be celebrating the release of Principal Investigator Joanna Bourke’s new book, Disgrace: Global Reflections on Sexual Violence, published by Reaktion Books. Joanna will be joined by Jude Kelly CBE (The WOW Foundation), Marai Larasi (Imkaan and End Violence Against Women Coalition), Dr Rhea Sookdeosingh (Public Engagement, Shameless! London), and Maisha Sumah (SheWalksInValue) in a conversation between artists, activists and academics on boundary-crossing global approaches to countering sexual violence.

Disgrace is the first truly global history of sexual violence. The book explores how sexual violence varies widely across time and place, from nineteenth-century peasant women in Ireland who were abducted as a way of forcing marriage, to date-raped high-school students in twentieth-century America, and from girls and women violated by Russian soldiers in 1945 to Dalit women raped by men of higher castes today. It delves into the factors that facilitate violence – including institutions, ideologies and practices – but also gives voice to survivors and activists, drawing inspiration from their struggles. Ultimately, Joanna Bourke intends to forge a transnational feminism that will promote a more harmonious, equal and rape- and violence-free world.

Throughout the project, SHaME has sought to foster and build relationships and ideas across, not only national borders, but between disciplines and sectors. In particular, the ongoing collaboration between SHaME and the WOW Foundation, the Shameless! Festivals of Activism Against Sexual Violence, represent a global initiative bringing together academia, the arts, survivors, and others working and speaking on sexual violence. Speakers at this event represent a range of these groups. Founder and Director of WOW, Jude Kelly, will be chairing the discussion and reflecting on WOW’s approach to global activism through the arts. Marai Larasi has worked as a social justice advocate for over twenty-five years, focusing on ending violence against Black/ Global Majority women and girls. She will be speaking on these issues in light of the publication of Disgrace. Rhea Sookdeosingh is a public engagement specialist and led the SHaME team in the production and delivery of Shameless! London. Rhea will be reflecting on why these events are particularly special and crucial as bridges between academia and the arts. Maisha Sumah is an advocate against domestic violence and motivational who will be sharing her experience of Shameless! and how it has impacted her life and thinking.

The evening will feature a reading from the book, followed by a discussion reflecting on these collaborations and interplay between arts and academia; personal meaning and global change, and how the Shameless! Festivals are part of a broader initiative about a global issue with a lot of work still to be done.

This will be followed by a Q&A and reception. Disgrace will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

Registration details

Age Guidance: 18 yrs +
FREE – but please register in advance
To register, please click the relevant ticket link below:

Remote Livestream Tickets

Please also see our safeguarding statement for the event here: SHaME Safeguarding Global Conversations

7 October 2022
6.15-8:00PM BST
Followed by a Reception and Book Signing

*This event is taking place in person and being livestreamed online.
*Please note: this event will be recorded (speakers only).


Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is the Principal Investigator of the SHaME project. She is the prize-winning author of fifteen books, as well as over 100 articles in academic journals. Among others, she is the author of Rape: A History from the 1860s to the Present (2007), What it Means To Be Human: Reflections from 1791 to the Present (2011), and The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers (2014). Reaktion Books published Disgrace: Global Reflections on Sexual Violence in July 2022. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek. She is a frequent contributor to TV and radio shows, and a regular correspondent for newspapers.


Jude Kelly CBE is CEO and Founder of The WOW Foundation. She founded WOW in 2018 to celebrate the achievements of women and girls and confront global gender injustice. Starting as a three-day festival at London’s Southbank Centre in 2010, where Jude was Artistic Director for 12 years, the festival now takes place in 30 locations across six continents. Jude has directed over 200 theatre and opera productions, is the recipient of two Olivier Awards, a BASCA Gold Badge Award for contribution to music, a Southbank Award for opera, an RPO award for her festival The Rest is Noise, Women’s Hour’s one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK in 2013, Red Magazine’s 2014 Creative Woman of the Year, CBIs 2016 First Woman Award for Tourism and Leisure and in 2017 the inaugural Veuve Clicquot Woman of the Year Social Purpose Award. She was also headhunted to join the bidding team for the 2012 London Olympics and create the programme for culture and ceremonies, she subsequently advised both Rio and Tokyo on their successful bids Jude has founded a range of arts institutions and has commissioned and supported the work of thousands of female artists across all genres. In 1997, she was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre and in 2015 she was made a CBE for services to the Arts.


Marai Larasi is a Black, African-Caribbean-British feminist advocate, community organiser and consultant who has worked in social justice for over twenty-five years, with a specific focus on ending violence against Black / Global Majority women and girls. Till May 2019 she was the Executive Director of Imkaan (UK), and she also served as Co-Chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (UK). She was one of six activists that attended the 2018 Golden Globes Awards as Red Carpet Guests, during the launching of #Time’sUp. Marai was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Birkbeck College, University of London , in a Birkbeck College Fellow, and is Professor of Practice, in the Department of Sociology at Durham University.


Rhea Sookdeosingh is the Public Engagement Lead for The SHaME Project at Birkbeck, University of London. She is an experienced public engagement practitioner and has previously worked in capacity-building roles at Birkbeck and the University of Oxford. Rhea works to develop and steward partnerships that drive humanities-led research and innovation, and she has an overarching interest in showcasing the social and civic value of arts and humanities research and practice. She is also an historian with interests in the intellectual, social and cultural history of medicine. Her first monograph on the history of anorexia nervosa in nineteenth-century Britain is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. Rhea is currently the co-chair of Birkbeck’s staff diversity network REACH (Race, Ethnicity & Cultural Heritage), which works to support and amplify the voices of underrepresented ethnically diverse staff across the University.


Maisha Sumah is an international multi award winning speaker who inspires , empowers and influences thousands of individuals through her platform SheWalksInValue, featured in magazines and books. She has given numerous TV and radio interviews (SKY , BBC radio London , BBC evening news and BBC Nottingham) and featured in London Evening Standard, The Telegraph, Yahoo News and Metro newspaper, speaking on how she overcame her traumatic life experiences to become who she is today. She has been chosen as the youngest mental health expert representative  for the BME communities within the NHS to talk about solutions for mental health and has been listed within the 50 most inspiring black women in the UK and much more. The speaker has an upcoming show coming out on Sky soon which she will be hosting and discussing matters close to her heart.