Archive for the tag “rape”

Women pay a high price for Syrian civil war

Eden Nelson writes for our communications partner, EurasiaStories.com:

womenMIDDLE EAST — The room is filled with Syrian women, all with similar struggles, similar fears, similar despair. Each was drawn to this place where they could hear stories about God, about Jesus — stories they have never heard before.

As the Bible study comes to a close, a few of these displaced women began sharing of how they came to live in a country that is not their home.

Jala,* a refugee, now shares a one-bedroom apartment in Lebanon with her husband, two sons and mother-in-law. Sitting in a poorly lit, old, crowded apartment, Jala makes a bold announcement.

“People really need to pray for the women in Syria because they are being raped,” she says.

Jala describes some of the horrific things she has seen and heard — women being raped in their homes or while fleeing the country and some being taken as brides of the militia.

God’s Beloved is a small booklet featuring six New Testament stories specifically tailored to help you point Muslim women to Jesus. Click here to learn more about this resource.

“They steal, they kill and they rape in the name of God,” Jala says.

In the two years since the war began, the death toll in Syria has climbed above 90,000 people. The plight of women, though, is seldom discussed.

Other women at the Bible study reiterate Jala’s point — pray for the women.

“They steal, they kill and they rape in the name of God.”

It’s common knowledge in the Middle East that it is easy to find a Syrian bride.

In a culture where honor is highly esteemed, a woman is considered defiled after suffering an assault. Many families struggle with how to react and marry their daughters off quickly.

A Washington Post article published in November 2013 focused on the growing reality of Syrian brides being married off to men from around the Middle East. “Of course I would rather her marry a Syrian, someone from our community, but what can we do?” Abu Yousef said of his daughter, whose husband was killed in the Syrian uprising.

Yousef reluctantly consented to the arranged marriage of his widowed daughter, 27, and her three children to a 55-year-old retired Saudi engineer.

Many families like Yousef’s are allowing these marriages in order to remove their daughters from refugee camps, hoping they will find a better life.

In the countries surrounding Syria — Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan — single mothers can be seen walking the streets begging for money or food.

Some women have become prostitutes in order to provide for their families. “Women are prostituting themselves in Lebanon for between 5,000 and 10,000 lira (about $3 to $6),” says Christian worker Catherine Steel.* With no husbands and no job skills, these women find prostitution is their last resort.

Andrew Harper, a representative of the UN refugee agency UNHCR, said on BBC News, “I can’t think of anything more disgusting than people targeting refugee women. … You can call it rape, you can call it prostitution, you can call it what you want, but it’s preying on the weakest.”

In a situation that seems desperate, women are left not knowing what to do, how to provide for their young children or how to survive. Praying for these women is tremendously important, Steel says.

Another challenge is that many married women do not leave their houses because their husbands fear their new city and the dangers it may hold.

“Their husbands are their lives — everything they do is decided by their husband,” says Steel.

She asks the church to pray for the husbands as well.

Most Syrian women are accustomed to going outside only with a man, their mother or with an older son. “If you do not have that right now, then you do not go out,” Steel says.

So countless women remain cloistered indoors as their husbands search for work, waiting and hoping that they can soon afford to have food on the table again.

*Name changed
You can assist with relief efforts among Syrian refugees through BGR.

Egypt: ‘Raped in broad daylight’

egypt coptsMission Network News reports:

Attacks against Christians in Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt are unprecedented. “They’re very brazen. We’re talking women being raped in broad daylight, men being attacked, or the homes of Christians being ransacked. And really, they have no recourse,” says Brittany Tedesco, Africa director for Christian Aid Mission.

Despite that, one ministry leader and his co-workers are determined to not flee the community because many Egyptians are open to the message of Jesus: “The nominal Muslims are even frightened by what they’re seeing from this government because it is so radical. This is not what they were wanting for their nation. To see these events unfold has been frightening for them as well.”

Read the full story by clicking here.
Video: Police watch violent attack on Christian funeral
Make a difference for persecuted Christians through International Christian Concern or Christian Solidarity International.

The only way justice will be done in Steubenville, Ohio

Ma'lik RIchmondMany Americans are shaking their heads over the rape convictions of two teenage boys, members of a high school football team in Steubenville, Ohio. While those who respect God are shaking their heads in sorrow over the moral and cultural disintegration of a society, many of the rest are baffled by the arrogance of these boys and their friends — and how readily the treat others as objects and abuse them for their pleasure.

What is mystifying about injustice and oppression, except to a society that denies the darkness of the broken human heart? Tell children the entire universe is a cosmic accident and that right and wrong are personal decisions. Encourage them to “obey your appetite.” Deprive them of a two-parent home where adults honor God and make every effort to walk in his ways. Instead, fill their hearts with an insatiable desire for material things and teach them to dull the pain with alcohol and other drugs. Center adult lives around the exploits of youth and, when young men demonstrate athletic prowess, cater to their every whim — especially their hormone-inflamed sexuality.

And then we are shocked when they oppress girls sexually?

Dan Wetzel writes for Yahoo! Sports:

 The five-day trial of [Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond] for the August 2012 rape of the West Virginia girl, who had come across the Ohio River for a night of partying, engulfed this old mill town in the eastern part of the state. Both boys are members of the high-profile and historically successful Big Red football team at Steubenville High School, which serves as a point of pride for the city dealing with economic hardship after the collapse of the steel industry.

Put in the spotlight was the local football team, which, critics said, allowed players to brazenly operate seemingly above the law for years. Social-media accounts, self-made videos, photos and classless text messages exposed an entire world that seemed like a Hollywood script of a high school team out of control.

It also exposed a teenage culture of weak ethics, rampant alcohol abuse and poor family structures that wound up dooming Mays and Richmond, both of whom had promising futures and no criminal past. …

Rape, experts say, is a crime of power and control more than sex. Underlying all of that is arrogance, and in Steubenville it was taken to the extreme.

Throughout this trial, the two defendants and a parade of friends who wound up mostly testifying against the defendants, expressed little understanding of rape – let alone common decency or respect for women. …

Arrogance from the defendants. Arrogance from the friends. Arrogance within the culture.

Arrogance based on the fact that this night, witnesses testified over and over, wasn’t strikingly different than any other night in the life of a Big Red football player.

The boys drank. They drove around. They went to each other’s houses until 2, 3, 4 in the morning. They exploited permissive parents who let the party continue. They, according to so many locals, knew there were bars that would serve them, liquor stores that would supply them and adults who would look the other way. They were football players being football players.

They slept wherever and whenever they crashed, preferably with some girl. Any girl.

———

The Steubenville police reportedly investigated the charges aggressively and swiftly. The state’s attorney general, Mike DeWine, called for a grand jury to continue the investigation. “This community desperately needs to have this behind them,” DeWine said, according to Wetzel’s article. “But this community also desperately needs to know justice was done and that no stone was left unturned.”

“This community also desperately needs to know justice was done.”

The state can exact retribution for this crime, but doing justice is not possible when the people are broken and their hearts are filled with self-seeking injustice. Our society clamors for justice without understanding the root of injustice, clueless that injustice is all that is left when they have cut themselves off from the Just One.

The only way justice will be done in Steubenville — or any community — will be when people who have found freedom, healing, and restoration in Christ begin telling and living the truth among their neighbors.

How do you multiply justice?

Update: Two teenage girls charged with online threats against Steubenville victim

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