I have the incredible honor to be “dad” to two tween girls. By nature I want to protect them. As a steward before God, I take my responsibility to protect them even more seriously. I protect because they’re precious both to me and to God who gave them to me.
My girls are growing up in a society that has championed equal rights for women. My girls will have far more access to education, jobs and pursuing their dreams than American girls in previous generations. That’s wonderful, but protecting them from sexual abuse is a whole different matter.
The girls of my country
In a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, of 5,000 American college students at over 100 colleges, 20% of women answered “yes” to the question “In your lifetime have you been forced to submit to sexual intercourse against your will?” That’s 1 out of 5 college-age girls! Currently, 44% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 18. Statistics to make a dad’s hair stand on edge. (Stats from rainn.org)
We are a country that shouts “women are equal to men” in the marketplace of business, but acts as if “men are superior to women” in the sexual arena. The porn industry has grown at rates that dwarf most any other business category. Today, revenues from pornography are higher than the combined revenues of professional football, baseball and basketball, and greater than all box office movie revenues (Robert Selle, “Violated by Porn”). When a society of men swim in waters that make women degraded sex objects for their fancy, the mistreatment of women and girls is bound to follow.
The girls of our world today
When it comes to issues of injustice and impoverishment, we easily point to surface causes. An example might be people are oppressed because of a ruthless, power-hungry dictator. Or a shooting happened because the shooter was mentally-deranged. Or the economy is in shambles because of inane communist policies. But at the root of each pain-filled evil is a pervasive lie.
In the case of sexual assault, a root lie is that “men are superior to women.” Darrow Miller, in his book Nurturing Nations, powerfully shows how deeply rooted and destructive that lie is all around our world today. (You can learn more about this great read or order a copy here.) If this lie is a root cause, then it follows that returning men to God’s right valuing of women must be core to overturning the pandemic abuse.
As concerned as I am for the preservation of my girls, it breaks my heart to know that most girls in areas of deep poverty live under much greater threat. It’s estimated that each year about 2.5 million females worldwide are forced into sex slavery. (For more on child sex slavery and a Christ-honoring response to it, visit the International Justice Mission’s website - ijm.org)
In a Philippines community where Food for the Hungry (FH) works, Tita (pictured here) is one of the leaders learning about sexual abuse prevention. Where Tita lives many children are vulnerable to incest, sex trafficking and other crimes. In the shantytowns around Lima, Peru, domestic violence prevention has become a major focus of our work. In countries around the world, FH helps communities to keep their children safe. We invite you to join us in protecting them http://fh.org/work/causes/health.
Because they are precious to God, they should be precious to us.