Throughout the majority world, women and girls are exploited, subjugated, and treated as second class citizens. This mindset logically leads to coercion of women and girls. She Is Safe works to combat this mindset by empowering these very women and girls to build a new way forward. Through sustainable forms of self-help and education we equip them to change their communities and bring the light of Christ in high risk places.
In the high risk country of Pakistan, this subjugation takes the form of abductions and forced conversions. Hindu and Christian girls, from minority groups in the 98 percent Muslim country, are abducted and forced to profess Islam. Then these girls are married to a third party and kept from reaching their friends and family through violent means. When the girls’ families contact them, girls are afraid to testify that they were forced to convert. Without their testimony, the family has no legal recourse. Bashyra worked at a local factory in her village. She was proposed to by one of her co-workers. When she refused his proposal, his friends abducted as she was leaving work. Bashyra was forced to live as a captive, forced bride for one year until she was able to escape. Nonetheless, she lives under constant fear of being retaken and her abductors have even threatened to take her younger siblings as well.
The non-government organization, Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan (MSP), has recently released a report detailing the social and legal problems which allow this practice to continue. This report details the increasing difficulty for Christian families to get their abducted daughters back and the suffering girls endure at the hands of abductors. Because abductions are often under the guise of marriage and girls fear violent reprisals, it is difficult to compile the actual number of girls who are forced to convert and marry. However, MSP estimates that 100 to 700 Christian girls are abducted and forced to convert every year.
Because of their minority status, the Christian community in Pakistan has taken the brunt of this abusive practice. Throughout history, minority demographics have suffered most deeply. In the modern world this is no different. Though girls from the Christian community suffer in Pakistan, underprivileged girls of every race and religion suffer throughout the world. Though they are easily abused and exploited, the potential in girls to change their communities is boundless. Educated girls create social and economically healthy communities. Once these women and girls are equipped, the frequency of these terrible events will drastically drop.
The oppression demonstrated by these forced conversions will continue to plague the majority world until sustainable action is taken to equip vulnerable girls to be integral contributors to the future of their communities. True justice will be served when the empowerment of these girls is in sharp focus.
See what She Is Safe is doing around the world: Sheissafe.org/work