India (MNN) — Another wave of violence is rising in India. Uttar Pradesh women are living in fear following at least four brutal killings in two weeks.
At the end of May, teenage Dalit sisters in were raped and hung from a tree. A 45-year-old woman was killed in similar manner soon after; last week’s victim was a 19-year-old found hanging in the Moradabad area, according to BBC News.
“The majority of adult women in India feel harassed or abused in one way or another so, it’s a very serious problem,” notes Dave Stravers, President of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India.
“We believe that the plight of women has to do with values and the understanding of how God created us.”
While violence against women is a major problem worldwide, India took the spotlight in 2012 following a brutal gang-rape in Delhi. India’s government enacted stricter laws following the attack, but as Stravers observes, “There’s a long history of this issue in India.
“There’s no quick fix for this. It takes generations for attitudes to change.”
Indian actor Aamir Khan echoed this thought recently in Madha Pradesh. Khan spoke with reporters yesterday following the inauguration of the state’s first one-stop crisis center; as reported by NDTV, the center will help victims of sexual violence find medical care, legal advice, and counseling.
“How we look at women and this problem of crime against women. . . needs to change, and it cannot happen overnight. It will take a few generations to see the change in society,” said Khan.
Traditional Indian culture tells women they’re less than human, Stravers explains. It’s a message and mindset that’s being reinforced by some of India’s biggest politicians.
“Boys will be boys; they commit mistakes,” said the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, in April. Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister has been quoted by Reuters as saying, “This [rape] is a social crime which depends on men and women. Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong.”
Mission India volunteers are sharing an opposite message using Adult Literacy Classes.
“Some of the first sentences they learn how to read will be from the Bible,” Stravers explains.
Over the course of a year, Mission India volunteers teach illiterate adults how to read and write. Using Bible-based lessons, they bring students from square one to a 5th grade reading level.
The process empowers women with a new sense of worth.
Stravers shares, “She’s learning that she was created in the image of God, and it’s very freeing; it’s very revolutionary.
“These kinds of changes in the way women are viewed by their own family are just very, very dramatic and very encouraging for the family, and even the community around them,” says Stravers.
$30 can start the journey for one woman and her family. Make a difference in the lives of India’s women here.
Pray for the program to be accepted by village leaders. Pray that opposition will be overcome. Ask the Lord to embolden Mission India volunteers.
“Sometimes there is opposition because local religious leaders or community leaders may view this with some fear,” Stravers explains.
“We’re asking for protection for the Christian workers. They’re sometimes going into areas that are not friendly toward Christians.”