The National Haus Krai (funeral gathering) is 'a stop-work demonstration and call to action' event, grieving for all the women who have been killed as a result of witchcraft related accusations, or who have been brutally attacked or raped. The movement is a coalition of women's groups, NGOs, church groups, charities, trade unions, and businesses.
|Laura, dressed in black, introducting the day to all our translators and literacy workers|
We marked the day, here in Arop, by having an extended morning devotion time. As a team, we decided not to have a time of singing, but looked at a drama of the incident recorded in John 8, where we see Jesus' astonishingly counter-cultural response to a woman accused of adultery and the possibility of violence.
|The drama drew people from the village who came out of curiosity because of the commotion!|
We then split into groups and looked at various Bible passages relating to anger and violence, how men should treat women and the status of women in God's sight. It was moving to witness the women's eyes light up on re-discovering that they are just as integral to God's Kingdom as men.
|Roslin sharing about the place of women in God's heart|
After a time of feedback and reflection about our own contexts, we held a minute's silence, shed tears of repentence and prayed for God's mercy and forgiveness for each country and community represented in the project.
"Right now, women aged 15 - 45 are more likely to be maimed or to die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined." ('A Year of Biblical Womanhood' by Rachel Held-Evans, 2012).
"It appears that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century" ('Half the Sky: Turning Opression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide' by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, 2010).
|Photo credit: Vlad Sokhin, The Global Mail|
Maybe we should all be covering our faces with ash and tearing our clothes in mourning...
If you would like to read more about recent incidents in Papua New Guinea, you can click on the following links, though, please be advised, the subject matter is gruesome and the pictures are graphic.
It's 2013 and they're burning witches
No arrests made after brutal gang-rape
Where women fear to tread
Appalling violence - Amnesty International article