Displaying items by tag: violence against women
Violence against Christian women and girls continues to rise everywhere. Christian women are abducted and used as sex slaves. The 'honour' culture is used to shame and stigmatise victims of sexual or physical abuse, so victims are silent. Men attack with impunity because victims keep quiet for fear of dishonour to their family or community, so wrongdoing often goes punished. This, in turn, makes women and girls increasingly vulnerable to psychological violence. Rape victims are often viewed as sexually impure, making them vulnerable to rejection and limiting their future prospects. In many cultures, women do not hold the same value as men. This undergirds much of the persecution faced by our sisters. And in many cases, being a Christian means they are regarded as having even less worth. Open Doors’ vision is that every woman who is persecuted for her faith and gender is seen, valued, and empowered to reach her God-given potential.
Sarah Everard’s murder a year ago revolutionised how the public understand male violence against women. The first major survey of women’s groups in the UK since her death found 89% thought there had been a shift in public awareness over the last twelve months. ‘There has also been a recognition of how normalised fear is for women. It is a fear we learn very young, and we carry it with us until we are old.’ Sarah’s murder by serving police officer Wayne Couzens as she walked home in south London sparked a national debate that continues to reverberate throughout the UK. Meanwhile, two Met police constables were jailed after taking and sharing photos of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, and last week a man pleaded guilty to the murder of Sabina Nessa as her community remembered a kind and loving schoolteacher. These high-profile murders have led to significant policy shifts.
The Brumadinho dam disaster in 2019 killed 270 people and caused extensive environmental damage that affected the livelihoods of 944,000 people. Men were brought in to carry out repairs, and violence against women increased at home and outside the home. This was attributed partly to the influx of the new workers and partly to households under pressure when livelihoods collapsed. On the third anniversary of the disaster, women have described the effects on them when drinking-water supplies were destroyed, as well as fisheries and other sources of income. They said that their livelihoods, particularly in agriculture and fishing, had been ‘extinguished’ because of contamination, shortages of water and lack of investment in production. Christian Aid said, ‘Families have been torn apart and the community remains devastated three years on. It is chilling to understand countless women have been subjected to the horrors of gender-based violence.’
The Archbishop of Canterbury wrote on social media, ‘I am heartbroken for the family, partner and friends of Sarah Everard, and all those whose lives she touched. They are in my prayers. May they know the suffering God alongside them in this unimaginable pain.’ He also said that testimonies from women over recent days show us what we have ignored: ‘the profound impact of male violence, intimidation, harassment, sexism and abuse carried out against women. The culture that perpetuates and condones these sins need our urgent repentance, fervent prayer, and men’s resolute action.’ Ms Everard came from York. A message from York Minster encouraged people who are laying flowers outside the cathedral to express their feelings ‘to observe the ongoing safety regulations’. A video of Oxford Cathedral’s bell being tolled once for each year of Ms Everard’s life has been viewed 13,000+ times.
Three women a week are murdered by their current or ex-partner in the UK. One in five women has experienced sexual assault. There is a fashion today to reach for alternative facts when the truth is inconvenient. The truth is that violence against women still pervades society. With the emergence of social media, a vista of threatened violence has been unleashed online. Most of the harm against women has been effected in private, in the digital age cruelty is public and unashamed. Women are also bullied to frighten them away from public roles. The global White Ribbon campaign asks men not to commit violence against women. The Bishop of Tonbridge is calling on men to take a lead in ending violence towards women, and a series of events is taking place across the Diocese of Rochester to raise awareness of domestic abuse and highlight places of support for victims.