Today is International Women’s Day—a day designated to focus our attention on one of the most staggering evils of our time: the global epidemic of violence against women and girls.
It has been said that the most dangerous phrase uttered around the world today is, “It’s a girl.” Statistics confirm the same chilling reality . . . being a girl is synonymous with a life of fear, oppression, and the constant threat of violence.
Globally, up to 7 in 10 women will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes. Perhaps even more astonishing is the reality that 603 million women live in nations where it is not considered a crime to abuse a woman.
- In India, more than 50 million girls have “gone missing” in the last century due to gendercide and sex-selective abortions.
- In Pakistan, over 1,000 women disappear every year in honor killings, and 9 out of 10 admit to being domestically abused at some point in their lifetime.
- In Somalia, 95 percent of all girls—mostly ages 4 to 11—have been forced to endure mutilation.
- In the Democratic Republic of Congo, over a thousand women are raped every day.
Millions of women and girls will spend their entire lives in constant fear of humiliation, banishment, and abuse . . . just because of their gender.
The magnitude of this global crisis is alarmingly horrific among refugee women fleeing the war-ravaged nation of Syria . . . right at this very moment.
Thousands of women have been attacked in public or in their own homes—raped by one, sometimes several violent perpetrators. The use of rape as a war tactic has been cited as one of the primary reasons why millions of Syrian refugees have fled the country.
World Help’s involvement in providing humanitarian aid to refugees affected by the crisis has provided our team on the ground with a glimpse into many of these shocking accounts: women whose husbands have been killed and have no way of providing for their families; some who have had multiple miscarriages from the constant fear that they will be attacked at any second; others are so desperate they have resorted to exchanging sexual acts for protection, food, and survival.
“In Syria, we fled from death. Here we are living in humiliation,” said a woman who was victimized in the crisis.
Another woman, Amnah, is the mother of six children. She fled with her children across the border when soldiers began massacring the people of Homs where she and her family are from. Amnah believes her husband was killed in the slaughter, but his body was never found. Her neighborhood was decimated by bombs, and her cousin was killed by a rocket right in front of her.
Two more refugee women—Salwa and Sabreen—are struggling to survive the winter without the help of their husbands who were also killed in the fighting. There are nine children between them, all crammed into one tiny, filthy room.
At the overcrowded refugee camps, like Za’atari, on the border of Jordan and Syria, conditions are growing worse. Every day, an average of eight children are born to refugees living in this camp alone.
Many of the mothers are as young as 14—forced to marry early in order to escape the humiliation of being raped. Too young to physically accommodate a growing child, many experience serious health complications throughout pregnancy and during birth. The future remains desperately uncertain.
Today, as we take the time to reflect on the plight of women all around the world, let us choose to play a leading role in easing the misery of refugee women who are suffering right now . . . enduring some of the most horrific circumstances imaginable.
If there were ever a moment for action, a time when our response is needed more than ever before, the time is now.
Your gift can offer single mothers, like Amnah, Salwa, and Sabreen, hope of another day . . . a chance for their children to make it through the night without going hungry. The security of knowing they will not have to sacrifice their dignity in order to survive.
- A gift of $20 will provide food and medicine for a refugee child for one month.
- A gift of $100 will provide these same necessities for an entire refugee family for one month.
- A gift of $1,000 will provide food and medicine for 10 refugee families for one month.
Make this day of commemoration and advocacy one of immediate response. This International Women’s Day, provide essential help to a refugee woman and her family today.
Together, we can be a small part of restoring what has been taken from millions of women around the world because of violence and fear: dignity, dreams for a brighter future, and the hope of knowing that someone they’ve never met cared enough to act.