Tag Archives: courage

Scarred

“Sonia”, age 24, survived an acid attack in Bangladesh after declining the offer of an arranged marriage, Source Narayan Nath/FCO/Department for International Development (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Voice of the Martyrs http://www.persecution.com began reporting some 15 years ago on a growing trend toward acid attacks against women.  One early attack took place in Pakistan against a 17 y.o. Christian girl who had refused the advances of a Muslim man. A striking photo of the girl (“Gulnaz”) showed one side of her face beautiful, the other side horribly scarred.

But acid attacks are not all religiously motivated.

As with Sonia (pictured above), the overwhelming number of attacks are made on young women who have rejected sexual advances by a male or whose parents have refused an offer of marriage [1].  The purpose of these attacks is to enforce gender inequality, and punish perceived transgressions by women against traditional norms.

More recently, acid attacks have been made against children, older women, and men. These attacks have been associated with dowry demands, land disputes, and revenge. Continue reading

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Filed under Christianity, Physical Abuse, Religion, Violence Against Women

Madame Mayor

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time” (Judges 4: 4).

In Turkey, a Muslim woman with a 5th grade education, married at 15 y.o. to an abusive husband, and largely confined to home all her married life, has been elected co-mayor of her district [1].

Technically, men and women have equal rights in Turkey. The reality is far different. Four in ten Turkish women polled in 2009 said they were victims of domestic violence.

Long isolated from the outside world by her husband, Berivan Kilic somehow found the courage to divorce him after fourteen years of marriage. Turkish women do have the legal right to divorce. Since employment is not widely available to women, however, they must either remarry or “fall into the streets”.

Aisan, Berivan’s mother, brokered a third alternative. Aisan convinced Berivan’s father to let Berivan move back home.

With her two young sons, Berivan returned to the house where she grew up. To support herself, she began cutting hair. And she resumed her education by studying at home. This shocked, but intrigued the small town of Kocakoy.

Along the way, Berivan joined the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The party, whose core values include gender equality, urged Berivan to run for office. Astonishingly, she won.

Local women now have a representative who understands their needs. One of Berivan’s priorities is, in fact, creating employment opportunities for women. She believes that this approach will for cultural reasons accomplish more good than a women’s shelter would. Berivan is, also, planning a crafts market for women’s handmade goods.

An act of courage saved a life, and is today changing other lives for the better.

[1] NBC News, “Turkish Teen Bride Divorces and Blazes Trail to Politics” by Emily Feldman, 6/5/14, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/turkish-teen-bride-divorces-blazes-trail-politics-n123611.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Christianity, Justice, Politics, Prostitution, Religion, Violence Against Women

In Esther’s Shoes

“ ‘For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise… from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ ” (Esther 4: 14).

The historic events on which this passage from Scripture is based exemplify courage for me. The verses have been an inspiration, over the years, helping me to overcome real and imagined shortcomings.

Esther, you may remember, was a young Jewish woman selected to marry Persian King Xerxes. When an order for the destruction of the Jews came down, Esther was urged by her cousin Mordecai to ask the king that it be rescinded. Though fearing for her life, Esther did speak out. Her intervention saved the Jewish people [1].

As child abuse victims we were powerless. Even as adults, we cannot help but recall the traumatic experiences we were forced to endure.  That fear is, in some sense, still with us.

Rather than a mark of shame, however, the scar is a mark of courage. At our most vulnerable, we somehow survived. That is an enormous achievement.

We stand today in Esther’s shoes.  We have the right to speak out; the right to tell our story, even shout it from the rooftops, if we like.  Secrecy be damned.

We have the right to take back our lives.

[1] Purim, the holiday celebrating Esther’s courage and the triumph of her people, falls on March 14 this year.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Through Hell and Back

 

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, the three women held captive for a decade in a Cleveland home by Ariel Castro, have spoken publicly thanking God and all those who have extended a helping hand to them.

Amanda says, “I am getting stronger each day.”

Michelle declares, “I may have been through hell and back.  But I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face, and with my head held high…I will not let the situation define who I amI will define the situation…I don’t want to be consumed by hatred…We need to take a leap of faith and know that God is in control…”

Nothing more need be added.

Contributions to assist the women in rebuilding their lives can be made through the Cleveland Courage Fund at:

Cleveland Courage Fund

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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