A new report from the Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors USA details differences in how men and women are persecuted for their faith in Christ.
Helene Fisher, a gender persecution specialist with Open Doors USA, who co-authored the new report on gender-specific religious persecution, testified on a panel before the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief last week where she outlined the findings from the new report.
Open Doors is an international non-profit that works in over 60 countries to advocate some of the world’s most persecuted communities.
Although Christian persecution across the globe seems to be ever-increasing, Fisher explained that there are “completely different manners” in which men and women are persecuted.
“We characterize the persecution of men as being focused and severe and visible,” Fisher told The Christian Post in an interview. “And the persecution of women continues to be complex and hidden.”
In most cases, persecution occurs along the lines of how it will negatively impact their roles in society. For women, Fisher stated, persecution often revolves around the idea of ruining their sexual purity. Meanwhile, men tend to suffer from forms of economic harassment that can impact their place in society.
Men and women both suffer from societal shaming and shunning.
The three most common points of persecution for women are a sexual attack, forced marriage, and rape, according to Fisher.
Since there is great value place in many societies around a girl’s purity, “targeted rapes” of girls are often used to bring shame to a certain family.
In the Open Doors 2019 World Watch List, the most common trend in the gender-specific persecution of Christians is the “targeted” raping of women solely for the purpose of bringing shame upon their families and community.
“When they are sexually assaulted, there is a shame that is brought upon them in society’s views. And they are therefore viewed as tainted, having no future and their family also lose this honor,” Fisher explained. “And sometimes their whole Christian community is seen as less valuable, less pure.”
According to the Open Doors report, the prospects of survival for the whole “tainted” family are compromised when shunned in a society “where every aspect of life is communal.”
In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, it is a “mortal sin” to bring shame to a family. The shaming process can often lead a family into financial vulnerability.
Fifty-seven percent of the 49 countries reported on the Open Doors 2019 World Watch List who provided reports on the gender-specific persecution of women cited forced marriage as an issue in their nation. No countries reported forced marriage as an issue for men.
The problem exists in places such as North Africa, the Middle East and Asia where young Christian girls can be lured into a relationship where the “lines between abduction and seduction with intent are blurred.”
Christian women are reported to have been lured or abducted by terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram. The girls are often used as sex slaves, breeders or militia wives.
Christian girls are also often abducted by men from the majority religion in society and forced into a marriage without their families’ consent.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith