India (MNN) — The Indian government is taking steps to punish violence against women. Most recently, four men were sentenced to death for the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old female student in New Delhi in 2012.
However, not much has changed at the societal level. Joe Handley with Asian Access says many Indian women still suffer marginalization, domestic abuse, and sexual assault.
“Gang rape is a huge problem in India,” Handley says. “These gangs will pick on a young girl and unfortunately do atrocities in those situations.
“In addition to that, there are situations where someone will get married and something will happen in the marriage relationship. It’s so bad that the husband wants to disown the wife, so…they’ll throw acid in their face and then create a public shame situation. Then that lady has nothing for life and can’t even go back to her own family.”
Christians in India are standing up and saying “enough.” National partners of Asian Access created a group called Women of Worth. Through seminars, conferences, and workshops, they promote female dignity and God’s value of women.
Handley points out, “It’s these types of movements that are going to really encourage the population at large and show the Church is ready to be hands and feet to us. They’re serving…in their community.”
One of Women of Worth’s popular campaigns is called ‘Dark is Beautiful.’ It combats the beauty stereotype that Indian women with lighter skin are more desirable.
“It has become one of the greatest social movements in the country today and it’s basically advocating for women, saying you don’t have to have light skin, you don’t have to wear these creams all the time to lighten your skin. Dark is beautiful. It’s part of God’s image in mankind.”
Handley says believers are not immune to these issues either. Women of Worth and Asian Access work with Indian churches to “give awareness to the issues and then go deeper with the training in terms of educating [and] empowering women and moving away from a society that really denigrates them.”
Women of Worth also rehabilitates girls and young women who’ve been abandoned, trafficked, or neglected. Through counseling, vocational training, and education assistance, these faithful believers are changing lives and loving in the name of Jesus.
“Then pray as you click ‘like’ or as you repost or as you read the story. Just like Mission Network News, pray through the news. As you are aware of these things, pray and God will make a difference through that prayer effort.”
Also, Handley says, “If God’s stirs your heart, you can give to these causes — whether it’s Women of Worth, Asian Access, Dark is Beautiful or similar kinds of things. All of these groups need funding. So as you pray, if the Holy Spirit leads you, please follow that prompting and give to help out.”
Header photo courtesy of Himanshu Singh Gurjar via Unsplash.