Archive for the tag “women”

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.

Social justice is about relationships that redeem

Melissa Deming has posted a guest column from Multiply Justice at Hive Resources. Here’s an excerpt:

“Many ‘social justice’ campaigns will tell you how much difference a donation can make, but if you really want to ‘do justice’ and change the world, the key is personal relationships focused on redemption. … We do donate generously to legitimate organizations that need our support to bring new lives and New Life to people in need. But women — and mothers in particular — know the Kingdom isn’t about buying bangles and baubles, but about God’s redeeming power giving new birth — one life into another. Jesus brought justice into your life when he began setting you free from your captivity, and he plans to use his relationship with you to bring Kingdom justice into the lives of others.”

Hive Resources is a great help for women looking to “sweeten their walk with Christ.” Please check out the site!

When men treat women as objects …

objects for saleA core dynamic of injustice is objectifying others, seeing them as means a means to your end — failing to see them as being like ourselves: human souls cherished by God. Men are particularly guilty, and never more so than the way they regard women. Whether it’s the women we encounter every day or the women and girls whose sexualized images we see in the media, we seldom stop to ask ourselves if we would want to be used/treated the way we are using/treating them. The majority of males in America are emotionally and spiritually crippled by the everyday porn the consumer culture constantly throws at them, and women suffer even more, in a myriad of ways, because of men who treat them as objects to be used and consumed.

Marty Duren offers some excellent thoughts at Kingdom in the Midst:

The movement to liberate women from the supposed shackles of male oppression in the U.S. celebrated the right of women to assert themselves, to use their feminine wiles to their lasting advantage. “If you have it, flaunt it,” was expressed by more than one approving feminist.

But a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to, or perhaps as a result of liberation: objectification.

One end of liberation has clearly been a loss of respect. Men have certainly lost respect for women, but women have also lost respect for themselves. When primary expressions of liberation include women making objects out of themselves someone needs to ask, “Is this all there is?”

… Most do not see most objectification for what it is. However, the attitude is the same even if the end result is not. That we oft mistake it for beauty speaks as poorly on the viewer as on the victimized.

… Objectification and exploitation can only be stopped by men, because in almost every case men are the end users. Men fill the brothels, men descend upon the Super Bowl host city to pay for the opportunity to exploit women and girls for the night, men fly into cities like Atlanta, Georgia to attend “parties” where they’ve paid for the opportunity to rape girls, many of them drugged into compliance. Men pimp, men coerce, men kidnap, and even when women are in the line of exploitation it is often because they have victimized previously. Men can stop this. Men must.

The differences between the woman in the revealing swimwear, drunken coeds on Girls Gone Wild, a prostitute, a stripper or a sexually exploited child are only in the extremes and opportunities. The mindset is the same. Objects have no opinion, no right of refusal, no humanity, no femininity. Like a tire or a piece of lumber they are only good for as long as needed, then discarded. Human waste.

Read the rest of this excellent post by clicking here.
Related: Marketing and our Messed Up Priorities: How We Got it Wrong with GoDaddy

If treating women as objects is a core dynamic of injustice, a key principle for multiplying justice is allowing God to transform the way you regard and interact with women. When a man banishes evil, selfish thoughts and begins to relate to women the way Jesus did, the Almighty will awaken the giant that sleeps within him. Here’s a resource from Kenny Luck that could transform men and launch a justice revolution in your church and community.

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