Exodus 22:22 in The Message says “Don’t mistreat widows or orphans. If you do and they cry out to me, you can be sure I’ll take them most seriously; I’ll show my anger and come raging among you with the sword, and your wives will end up widows and your children orphans.” Unfortunately, those in homes and countries where God is not the authoritative voice do not follow this law. In countries such as India, Pakistan, and Africa many women are subject to horrors that we can never fully comprehend. Young girls are sold into brothels. Women become pariah in their villages due to a fixable medical condition known as fistulas (an abnormal opening in the vagina that connects it to another organ such as the bladder or colon). Women are killed or raped in the name of honor.
Inside my home and community, none of these atrocities are commonplace. I have heard about some of it through news reports, but nothing to the extent that I learned while reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I have also been asked to help women and children through various charities over the years. I always rationalized that I could not afford to help. I now realize that I cannot afford to turn my head. Even if I can only add my voice to those raised in offense, then my voice shall resound with the others.
The authors wrote this book in a manner similar to a documentary. One chapter explains the “issue” and one highlights a “solution.” The women interviewed leave you both crying for their pain and shouting in exhilaration for the successes that have been described. I cannot imagine anyone who can read this book and not be changed in some way. For me, it has made me more aware of how lucky I am to be an American Christian woman. It has also made me aware of ways that I can help beside charitable giving. As I said before I can add my voice those who are fighting for protection from violence against women. Read this book and join the raised voices!