Monthly Archives: January 2014

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