Even if one is familiar with the long and sordid history of violence against women and children, it is still sobering to read about the persistence of human trafficking and exploitation of these helpless victims here in Malaysia today.
What is also distressing is that although many of these incidents happen in our very own neighbourhood, the general response is one of indifference. This lack of empathy could be due to ignorance … ignorance that such a danger really exists … ignorance of the magnitude of victims involved … ignorance on what course of action can be taken to curb, prevent and report human trafficking activities.
Violence against women and children is a reality in all societies – and in our churches. We need to break the silence that surrounds this reality, challenge attitudes that help to perpetuate it, and work as women and men of faith to prevent and end violence against women and children and all gender-based violence.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global event from the United Nations that runs from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25th November) to Human Rights Day on 10th December. This 16 Days of Prayer for the Nation is a maiden initiative undertaken by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia, the Council of Churches of Malaysia and the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship in collaboration with the Good Shepherd Services to stand united as Christians, to raise awareness, to come together in prayer for victims of human trafficking and to take action to eliminate this menace.
Today, we are calling on the Christian community here in Malaysia to work vigorously against human trafficking and violence against women and children. Today we are calling on all Churches to make this a priority issue.
As a community called to liberate all who are oppressed, the Church’s imperative is to be involved in the liberation of these victims from a culture of violence and exploitation to fullness of life and communion. To fulfil its prophetic role, the Church needs to rise up in unity to comfort the afflicted and be an agent of change. Together let us pray, reflect and take action, to end violence against women and children in all forms.