It’s in our backyard

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That’s what shocked Dr. Katharine (Kate) Bushnell in the nineteenth century.  Authorities wouldn’t believe her stories of girls enticed, held captive, and abused in the pristine forests of northern Wisconsin. And today we’re hearnig such a story right in a Cleveland neighborhood- three girls held captive for ten years and no one knew?

For the last five years — off and on– I’ve been writing Kate’s story. A valiant, fearless, unconventional woman living in the Victorian era, it was a lot more difficult for Kate to talk about prostitution, rape, brothels, bondage then than it is in today’s far too open society. The pendulum swings from one side to the other. As the first book Boundless reaches completion, I’ll be writing more about what I’ve found — not only what’s happening today, but how society dealt with “trafficking” more than one hundred years ago.

Share your thoughts and stories.  It’s not a pleasant subject, but it is among us, and I believe God cares about those who are caught in this desperate quickisand.

 

 

 

 

Changing directions

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I’ve shared my joys and concerns over my trip to South Africa — and if new issues arise I’ll get back to it.  But I want to begin sharing what I see going on as threats to women around the world.  Check out the progress of Boundless, my new book about Dr. Katherine Bushnell, who spent her life trying to release women from cruelty, trafficking and disabling attitudes.

Here are two short pieces about women’s response to recent acts of violence:

In the Muslim world, society often judges a victim of rape, rather than the perpetrator.  In spiet of this, women in Turkey are now rallying around a 26-year-old mother of two who killed a man who repeatedly raped her while her husband was away on a seasonal job.  She shot the rapist as he again returned to force his way into her house.  She then turned herself in to the police, saying she preferred to die but had cleansed her honor for her children’s sake.  Intercede for the protection and salvation of this woman and her family.  Also uphold Turkish politicians who wrestle with women’s issues in a harsh male-dominated environment. TWO

India (MNN) –
Remember that rape case in New Delhi that got international attention recently?
Six men assaulted a woman aboard a moving bus, and she later died from her
injuries. The defendants’ lawyer blames her for the attack. “That attitude
is very common in India. To blame a woman for dressing inappropriately or being
in a certain place at a certain time: these are just not constructive, not helpful attitudes.” Brent Hample of India Partners says the culture is a big part of the problem. “Even before they’re born,girls are discriminated against.” If they make it past birth, young girls
are often sold into sexual slavery. “Pray that God would do a miracle within the culture of India [and] within the people of India — within their hearts.”

Doubly cursed

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Why would this young woman be attacked and murdered? Because of ser sex? Because of her religion? or both?

April 8, 2014 (MNN) — Muslim Brotherhood radicals are being blamed for the horrific murder of a 25-year-old Christian woman in Egypt. According to reports, Mary Sameh George was in a suburb of Cairo delivering medicine to an elderly woman near a church when the attack took place.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs writes that she “literally was dragged out of her car by a mob of radical Muslims. They had just left the Mosque after Friday prayers in a suburb of Cairo. Their prayer service had been generating some anger.”

One report indicated the woman had a cross in her possession. “The mob started banging on her car. [They] eventually climbed up on top of the car. The roof began to collapse. Then they dragged her out and beat her and stabbed her until she was dead.”

The message this attack is sending to the world is obvious, says Nettleton. “Radical factions of Islam are still very strong in Egypt and are still vying to have control or to have influence in the country.”

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed in Egypt before the revolution. With elections approaching, Nettleton says, “This is really going to be a challenge for whoever the new leader is to get the Muslim Brotherhood under control and to really provide law and order and to provide protection for Egypt minorities including our Christian brothers and sisters.”
MNN

Throughout history women, as the weaker sex, have fallen prey to assault, rape, murder. When you combine her sex with her faith in Jesus a double message is sent: women are to be kept subservient, and Jesus is our enemy. If they only knew that Jesus loves her — and them.-

Trafficking at the world Cup

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Brazil (MNN) — The FIFA World Cup is among the world’s most widely-viewed sporting events, with the last event filling stadiums in South Africa with some 3.18 million fans.
With less than 90 days to go until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, tickets are in high demand. But so are Brazilian women and children.
Trafficking is already on the rise in Brazil; government reports indicate a 1,500% increase last year. The 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games are expected to bring another spike.

In the nineteenth century, when Kate Bushnell was asked to expose trafficking in the British military in India, her efforts had to be kept secret. She shocked a defiant parliament which refused to believe her findings. Today society is not not only keenly aware of the growing
epidemic (like at the World-Cup) but many organizations, public and private, are working to eliminate the scourge. Yet the plague continues without abatement. No wonder Kate’s mentor advised her to stop wearing herself out visiting “dens” and fighting authorities, and find ways to change men’s attitudes toward women as objects.

Is there a solution?

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One hundred ten years ago Dr.Kate Bushnell([see more under “about the books”} finally figured out that trafficking, a word unknown until a few decades ago,would never end until the hearts of men and women changed. And little has changed– young trafficked girls are like a chocolate bar at the checkout counter. Chocoholics can’t resist the temptation until they’ve changed their lifestyle and diet. Sexual addicts will always find a place to find available girls, until their moral and ethical values change.It’s like the drug traffic. America would be free of drugs if there were no buyers!

Read about a brave young girl in Guatemala who managed to stop a trafficker– in another way.

Guatemala (MNN) — An estimated 90% of sexual abuse cases go unreported in Guatemala. If a case is brought to court, the likelihood that the abuser will not be punished is also 90%. That’s what makes a recent trial so special for a girl in the Oasis program. Courtney, a 14-year-old girl had to testify against the man who prostituted her for several years.

“She really had a tough time in court but stood up to it extremely well,” says Corbey Dukes of the Oasis program, who acted as the girl’s legal representative.

“The defense attorney really tried to wear her down; she had over an hour of testimony. But at the end of it, he just threw his hands up and said, ‘No more questions’ and sat down. And he was the guy who was defeated.”

According to the U.S. State Department’s 2013 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report, Guatemalan women and children are “exploited in sex trafficking within the country, as well as in Mexico, the United States, and Belize.

“Foreign child sex tourists–predominantly from Canada, the United States, and Western Europe–as well as Guatemalan men exploit children in prostitution.”

Courtney was prostituted for approximately 60-cents per visit, says Dukes. And she wasn’t the only one, he adds. “She has two cousins here; one is two years younger than her and one is five or six years younger than her,” says Dukes. “They were all exploited in the same way.”

All three of the young women are involved in the Oasis program and taking strides toward a better future. The Oasis is a Christian safe haven for girls who have been forced into child labor, experienced physical and sexual abuse (often all three), and have either been abandoned or have fled for their safety and lives.

Adapted from Mission Network News

Growing awareness and support against trafficking

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In 1891 famous British abolitionist, Josephine Butler, co-opted two Americans– Dr. Katharine Bushnell and Mrs. Elizabeth Andrew– to secretly enter British cantonments in India to find proof that the military were illegally enticing and “examining” Indian girls in Locke Hospitals for the pleasure of British soldiers. Two women standing up to the entire British Raj!
(Watch for more information about Kate’s fictionalized story under “My Books.”)
Times have changed– many are banding together against this plague. But sadly the numbers of slaves continues to grow. Hopefully our government will recognize the seriousness of modern-day trafficking and take action recommended below:

On June 25, 2013 members of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, including National Association of Evangeliclas President Leith Anderson, wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Senate and House leadership encouraging support for legislation that would upgrade the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

The letter closed saying “We respectfully urge you to take any action in your authority to elevate the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a State Department Bureau.”

Twenty-four current leaders of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships signed the letter representing a broad spectrum of faith-based initiatives.

When bounded is better

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Boundless, the fascinating life of Dr. Katharine Bushnell, who exposed and fought sexual trafficking in the 19th century, begins in China. Kate was horrified at the inhumane and brutal mangling of little girls’ feet, broken and bound to never grow beyond three inches in length. This began Kate’s lifelong passion to see women respected and freed to their full potential, unbound by tradition and free to serve God.

This little uTube turns the story around, to show how thousands of children around the world born with club feet, can be freed to live their full potential—by binding their feet.

This is a short promo piece by an NGO, but the pictures of change are amazing. Facilitators have made changed children’s lives in more than 27 countries!

And watch for my forthcoming novel, Boundless, based on a true story, full of drama, danger, romance and adventure.

The Plight of Indian Women Never Ending

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This week I’m writing about Katharine Bushnell’s first contacts with the hapless young women held in the British chakla (military brothel) in 1892. I’m surrounded by articles, books, notes I’ve taken—until I feel immersed in that culture over almost 125 years ago. But. . .

The plight of women in India is never ending

Hear the story of the wife of one of the men sentenced to hang for being one of the four rapists that so damaged a young university student, she died several days later. The story has shocked India, and it seems the courts have finally seen that justice will be done.

But Punita Devi may die too. Not that she’s done anything wrong. But she’s the wife of a murderer and no one in her village or family will take her and her two year old boy in. It isn’t because of the murder; it’s because they claim they can’t afford her. The in-laws don’t want her now that their rapist son is out of work and can’t send money to cover the family’s expenses. Her own family doesn’t want her back because they are already trying to feed too many people from the small income on their one-acre holding. After-all, that’s why they married her off, and sent her with a dowry – a bed and some kitchen utensils.

Punita has had no education. She was taken out of school as a young girl to help in the home since her mother was ill. And even if she were educated, the traditions would not allow her to work outside the home. Her mother-in-law bluntly states, “In our family women die at home. They never venture outside.” The customs of purdah practiced in the region make it almost impossible for her to work outside the home.

So will Punita and her son pay the price for her husband’s crime? Where will she go for help? Oh yes, her last name, Devi, means “goddess.”

Information condensed from a full-page article in The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, September 24,1013, A16

Women denigrated

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ATTITUDES ABOUT WOMEN RESULT NOT ONLY IN TRAFFICKING BUT IN RAPE. CHURCH LEADERS IN INDIA ARE BEING CHALLENGED TO RECOGNIZE THIS AND TO SPEAK TO TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE

India (MNN) — India has witnessed a huge economic boom and is going through a rapid modernization process.

In the flux that follows change like this, there’s upheaval while a new social order emerges. Asian Access India Director David Dayalan explains, “If you look at India, traditionally, we’ve been a patriarchal society where the role of women has been more of a secondary kind of role to support the husband and take care of the kids.” Now, he goes on to say, “We’ve seen women being empowered; we’ve seen, also, there is this crime against women which has been ever increasing in the recent past.”

As millions of men and women have migrated from villages and small towns to big cities, women are now educated, and they work. While the old order of society continues to slowly fade away, there is resistance, resentment, and sometimes violent reaction. “In a patriarchal society, a man always thought he was the head. Suddenly, to see women liberated and women up there challenging them for the jobs–probably another way of getting back at them: it’s a way of asserting his authority.”

Since last year, it seems India’s headlines regularly feature stories of gang rape, acid attacks, or immolation. One notorious case last year resulted in expanding the sexual harassment laws to protect the victims and punish the perpetrators. The issue of violent crime against women then became a political hot-button, and lawmakers hurried to show they were taking a stand on violent crime against women.

But it seems, in practice, little has changed.

The latest rape cases involving two foreign women in India last week have cast the country’s record on sexual violence back into the spotlight. Violence against women is entrenched.

Dayalan says A2 is preparing pastors to deal with the challenges facing Indian society. “As a church, how do we respond to our society and the evil of the crime against women? First and foremost, we teach them to recognize women as co-heirs, equal in the sight of God and creation.”

Transformation–in a church, a neighborhood, a city, a nation–always begins with transformation in the lives of individuals and then moves outward. Dayalan explains, “It starts there. The church models that, starting from pastors who treat women as equals, and at the same time, they teach their congregations.”

Since broader change ignites from the transformation of the individual leader, that’s where A2 focuses its energies. That’s brought noticeable change, Dayalan adds. “The church has been very responsive. If there is one place you see in India where women have a greater degree of dignity and identity, you’ll see it in the church.”

As the Church gears up to respond to new challenges of an emerging India, Dayalan says they’re challenging leaders to do more than think differently. There’s also the challenge to action. “I think the church needs to be a lot more vocal. The church kept very silent, whereas people in the streets came out and added their voices. But unfortunately, the church and the leadership really didn’t speak out.”

While in the throes of growth, this is the time they need the support of the broader body of Christ, notes Dayalan. “In terms of politically, to raise up your voice as a unified Church, to talk about the crime against women: we still have a long way to go. We would really appreciate your prayers on that.”
Adapted from article in Mission Network News by Ruth Kramer, Jan. 20,2014