The Pandemic of Violence Against Women

He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, and their blood will be precious in his sight (Psalm 72:14)

The horrific record of violence against women worldwide continues largely unabated. According to the United Nations, last year 2021, five women were killed every hour by their intimate partners. The worst offenders are African men. The South African Government for example, reported that from April to June 2022, 855 women and 243 children were killed. Over 11 thousand Assault GBH cases, with female victims, were opened with the police. 1 670 such cases involved children. Police Minister Bheki Cele noted South Africa had become “brutal and dangerous for women and children.” To complicate matters, the CDC reports, Women with a history of physical and/or sexual abuse are more likely to be living with HIV, especially if that abuse started during childhood. HIV-related stigma, discrimination, and violence are persistent barriers to addressing the HIV epidemic, restricting access to prevention and treatment services for those most at risk.” Why is it that some of the most oppressed people on earth are also the ones most likely to visit violence upon those they profess to love?

The great Brazilian educator Paulo Freire in his Book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed suggested, oppressed people trapped in the duality of themselves as oppressed and carrying the image of the oppressor within them will be all to quick to inflict violence upon their own people since they feel helpless against the overwhelming power of the oppressor within. During the horrors of European enslavement of African people in the Americas and the Caribbean, enslaved people appointed overseers by the white slave-masters inflicted worst punishment upon their own people than the slave-master. Freire notes “any situation in which “A” objectively exploits “B” or hinders his and her pursuit of self-affirmation as a responsible person is one of oppression. Such a situation in itself constitutes violence …”

Historically, The British Empire with other European nations of the nineteenth century employed the bloodiest carnage in systemically destroying many of Africa’s flourishing civilizations Africa and Africans remain among the most exploited continent and people in the world, continuing to suffer the worst physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual violence. In these situations, Freire notes, the oppressed unable to the discern the oppressive system held in place by their oppressors, resort to violence against their own, in this case their women. There is also the legacy of white male violence inflicted upon black female bodies which in its own twisted way may have contributed to the today’s continued disregard for their wellbeing. Ironically, As I have noted before, Africans have a long tradition of outstanding female rulers, fighters, and deliverers.

It is disheartening to see the level of violence inflicted upon Women By those who Should exhibit the greatest love and care for them. It is so important for us to sit up and take note of this terrible injustice, get involved and commit ourselves to be part of the effort to end it. I am even more disheartened by the lack of action by Churches and other religious bodies. The shedding of innocent blood is strongly condemned in scripture and rescuing the weak from oppression and violence is a Christian duty. The blood of the innocent is precious in God’s sight. Why aren’t we at least raising our voices against this evil?

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