In recent times, like no other time I can remember, we have had a steady stream of reports about women being raped and killed in South Asia. On June 12, a 19-year-old woman was allegedly raped and killed in Uttar Pradesh, India. There were four other women raped by gangs that same day in Uttar Pradesh. Just weeks ago, two girls, ages 12 and 14, were gang raped and lynched in a rural village.
Can we try to imagine if this news touched our own family? It is too much to even think about. I am deeply saddened and concerned with this violence. It’s no small matter. But at the same time, I am optimistic and grateful that the new Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has responded to this crisis. In his first major speech to the parliament, he encouraged politicians not to simply talk about rape cases, but to act to restore dignity to the women of India.
The Prime Minister stated: “Women’s safety is of paramount importance. . . . and corrective measures must be taken.” Then he said, “The country will not wait for long—our conscience too will not forgive us if we do not act.”
I am so glad the government is fully engaged in this situation. At Gospel for Asia, we have the opportunity to work in cooperation with local governments to help women in need in India.
You see, the mistreatment of women in South Asia goes beyond rape. It includes abuse of widows, lack of possibilities for women and girls to learn a trade, and even crosses into slave labor and human trafficking. It is not that other regions of the world don’t also have abused women. However, what makes these issues even more serious is that many of these victims are Dalits, the low castes. They are especially vulnerable and are often the target of exploitation by members of the upper caste.
Unless we can “see” these kinds of hardships ourselves, it is difficult to really grasp. Go to the internet and do a search on any of these topics, and you will find yourself engrossed in the lives of these people. It says in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 9, verse 36, “When Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them.” It is important for us to know what is going on, because as we do, our hearts will change. As we truly “see” the destitute and hurting, we also will be filled with compassion.
God created us not to live for ourselves and our own agendas. He created us, in part, to be His hands and feet to bring His light and hope to the hopeless. We have a responsibility to stand up and represent Christ to this generation.
In the recent documentary “Veil of Tears” (www.veiloftearsmovie.com), you can “see” women from South
Asia who are being mistreated. More importantly, “Veil of Tears” shows a behind-the-scenes look at what is being done to help millions of these women find hope, restoration and healing. Well-trained women are working as “the hands and feet of Christ” among these women in need, teaching literacy, taking care of widows and providing those without with career skills. But even greater, they are ministering hope to these hurting women, letting them know God cares for them and loves them. It makes my heart so glad when I hear about these beautiful changes being made in the lives of these precious women.
As Christians, these issues, like the mistreatment of women, should lead us to really engage in prayer and cause us to get involved and be part of the answer. This one life is the one time we have to make a difference that will count through all eternity. Because we represent Christ and are responsible for what happens in our generation, let us bring His light and hope to the world.
To learn more about the challenges women face in South Asia, go to www.veiloftearsmovie.com.
Dr. K.P. Yohannan is the international director and founder of Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org), a non-profit mission organization aimed at sharing the love of Christ through word and deed, especially among those who have never heard His name.
Publication date: June 19, 2014