Every day, millions of girls and women are being discriminated against and murdered, simply because of their sex. As WORLD reports, India has come under increased scrutiny for this. A recent census revealed 37 million more men than women, the result of millions of baby girls being drowned, strangled or aborted. Sex selection, or "gendercide," is rampant in India, driven by a strong culture preference for boys.
"We are dealing with a sex selection that has become a genocide," said Sabu George, a member of India's Campaign Against Sex Selection, who testified at yesterday's House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on "India's Missing Girls." George has fought sex selection and infanticide in India since the '80s, and said in the past decade alone, Indian parents eliminated 6 million girls before birth: "This is much larger than the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust."
I was a baby girl once. Maybe one day I will have a baby girl of my own. When I read headlines like this, my heart aches. How could human life ever be so devalued?
Part of the answer to that question comes from the culture of India. A girl's parents are expected to pay a generous dowry to her future husband. Poor families simply cannot afford this high price — India’s National Crime Records Bureau revealed that one woman is murdered every hour in India over dowry disputes. Wives who are unable to bear boys face further abuse. Further, the gender imbalance has increased sex trafficking and polyandry — sharing one "wife" between several men. And so the cycle of devaluing continues. It is estimated that 700,000 girls are aborted in India every year.
This issue is not a new one, and it’s not found only in India. In 2010, Al Mohler wrote for ReligionToday on the horror of sex-selection in China. The Chinese government’s “one child only” policy has led to forced abortions and death sentences for baby girls. “The number of dead and missing baby girls is astounding,” Mohler writes. “In some Chinese provinces, there are more than 130 baby boys for every 100 baby girls. The culture places a premium value on sons, and girls are considered an economic drain. A Hindu saying conveys this prejudice: ‘Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbor's garden.’”
While no one denies the horrors happening in these countries, representatives are conflicted on where to go from here. Jill McElya, co-founder of the Invisible Girl Project, recommended making U.S. aid contingent on India’s work against sex-selection. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., suggested that any additional focus on India to fight sex-selection would be a tough sell to Americans, who are still coming out of the financial crisis.
As Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, said, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Genocide and gendercide are not new problems. Thousands of years ago, an Egyptian Pharaoh ordered every little Hebrew boy to be thrown in the Nile. Sometime later, a horrible king ordered every boy in Bethlehem murdered. To count the number of deaths in more recent history from genocide and gendercide is staggering.
God is intimately acquainted with the horror of mass murder. His chosen people were a target of it. His own Son was a target of it. Millions more made in his image continue to die because of it. It’s an issue he cares about. It’s a problem he wants solved.
Want to learn more? Find out how you can help the fight against gendercide in India by going to the Invisible Girl Project’s website, www.invisiblegirlproject.org.
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.