Persecuted Christians: “The persecution of women is hidden, violent and complex”

On International Women's Day, UK charities Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and Open Doors UK hosted a panel discussion on the challenges faced by women and girls persecuted because of their faith.

Open Doors UK and Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) organized on Tuesday 8 March, International Women's Day, an event entitled “Forgotten Women: Persecution of Religious Minority Women and Girls”.

A panel discussion moderated by BBC journalist Emily Buchanan to highlight the violence that Christian women and girls experience in countries where they are persecuted.

Open Doors UK recently published a report on gender-specific religious persecution and how women's experiences differ from men's. The paper examines “in particular how the persecution of women is hidden, violent and complex,” according to David Landrum, advocacy director for Open Doors who spoke at the roundtable.

He explained that the persecution faced by women is less visible than that suffered by men.

“Hidden in the sense that persecution is often camouflaged within society by things like forced marriage, violence, sexual assault and the use of shame to completely destabilize an entire community. »

John Pontifex, who works for ACN, spoke to him about the interactions he had had with women and girls persecuted because of their faith. He reports that “too often, girls and women feel abandoned by the West”.

“They feel the West does not recognize the religious motivation behind the actions of their captors. Yes, they are targeted because of their gender, but it is their status as religious minorities that makes them so vulnerable to attack. »

Young Christian girls, particularly vulnerable

The French branch of Open Doors, Open Doors, also published a document for International Women's Day which reveals that "wherever the Church is persecuted, young Christian girls are particularly vulnerable".

They suffer in particular from “persecution in education” and “sexual persecution” notes Open Doors which reports that in 58% of the countries where Christians are persecuted, they are threatened with sexual violence.

Find below the French translation of a prayer published Tuesday by Open Doors UK in support of our sisters who are persecuted because of their gender and their Christian faith:

“Lord Jesus, on International Women's Day, we acknowledge and praise you for the courageous faith of persecuted women and girls around the world. Come and meet them on this day, strengthen them and protect them. Open their eyes so they can see how precious they are to you. May their courage and testimony lead many others to meet you. Amen. »

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image Credit: Shutterstock / hassanali118 / Women Pakistan

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