Women should be honored in their particular excellence, for their complementarity to men, their difference and their unique feminine genius: this, as opposed to the lie that the world shouts, which reduces “womanhood” merely to a role in sexual production. This lie is feminism, and it does not respect women. Today we should remember the hundreds of thousands of girls, women, even mothers, who have been raped, violated, or abandoned all over the world: remember them in their dignity as human beings, as women, and as Christians. Looking at these victims, we soberly come to better appreciation of the gift of being made as men and women, as fathers and mothers, as well as of the blessing we have to be able to fight for life, family, and religious freedom for all.
The missionary agency Open Doors has published the Gender-Specific Report on Religious Persecution 2020, which studies global patterns of persecution of Christian men and women in 50 countries on Open Doors’ “World Watch List.”
Discrimination and violence against Christians is a glaring fact, though ignored by the global mainstream media. Data shows that Christian men suffer physical violence, economic harassment, and the threat of incarceration for their faith; while Christian women are most likely to suffer rape, forced marriage, or physical abuse. Sexual violence against women is reported in all of the countries studied by Open Doors: it is becoming a global calamity.
Open Doors shows how women specifically are targeted for persecution and the primary forms this takes. Targeted specifically as Christian, women are often forced into marriages with spouses of different faiths, which is itself a form of abuse no less than the other physical violations they suffer. “These abuses,” says Open Doors Director David Curry, “are rooted in a view that sees Christian women as having inherently lesser value than men and women of other faiths.”
Thus, women and girls are often isolated from their community because they are “branded” by the abuse they have suffer, and are forced to suffer in silence, hidden in their “forced marriage” families.
Curry further explains: “Sexual violence is reported as the primary tactic of attacking women in 84% of countries where religious persecution is already dangerous and widespread. It is an irreparable harm to the health, well-being, and personal and family autonomy of millions of women around the world.”
This happens especially in countries particular hostile toward Christianity: in Asia, the Middle East, and Northern and sub-Saharan Africa. Curry explains that the research shows that “Gender specific persecution, particularly against Christian girls and women, is always enacted so as to do as much harm [to the victim] with the least amount of risk to the persecutor.”
Today, March 8th, International Women’s Day, we must not lose sight amidst the celebration of our own daughters, wives, and mothers of the terrible urgency there is to take some concrete action to shed light on and stop the catastrophe of global violence targeting Christian women.