|Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear!"|
Review of Half the Sky, Chapter 3: Learning to Speak Up
By: Shannon Walls
Fear. It is a powerful enemy to our souls that can cause paralysis, loss of hope, and capitulation. Victims of sex slavery are well acquainted with the tactic of fear used by their perpetrators. In the scope of this chapter, the concept of empowerment offers a possible solution to minimize victimization. A delicate line separates the reality of two opposing harmful practices young girls/women are subjected to in this business. In one sense, complete surrender to the brothel manager’s instructions reaps repeated involuntary sexual acts with paying customers and the physical/emotional/mental damage that accompanies such acts. On the other hand, continual defiance leads to brutal repercussions in the form of beatings, mutilation, and other physical torture. What, if anything, can these victims do to break the chains of bondage?
Usha, a resident of one of India’s slum areas, offers one such solution: standing up to the bully. Instead of cowering, she reacts to the terrorists in such a radical way, which results in a small victory over victimization. The beautiful thing produced by this act of courage comes in the form of hope. Her bravery stirs something in the fearful hearts of her neighbors which leads to unity. They began to come out from the woodwork, so to speak, in order to rally behind Usha. I wonder if their thinking went something like this, “If Usha can stand up to the bully and make a difference, then I will stand with her. After all, there is safety in numbers.”
I am hard-pressed to think of many things that trump unity, especially if forged on the “rock of God.” Just like fear, it possesses much power. However, instead of negative impacts, it can release hope, courage, strength, and change. And, it begins with one. One person courageous enough to believe in the possibility of victory over the darkness. One person brave enough to take that first step of faith towards liberation for those enslaved and pray others follow. One person like Zach Hunter, Sunitha, or the late Martin Luther King Jr. Sunitha, a petite woman in India, attacks sex trafficking fearlessly. And, because she has, others have joined her. By providing rehabilitation to rescued and former slaves, women are able to learn new skills that will empower and enable them to earn a living with dignity and freedom. So far, “85% of the women have been able to stay out of prostitution, while 15% have returned” (pg. 59). What an amazing number representing women’s lives changed. And, it began with one.
Questions to ponder:
1. In light of Akku Yadav’s repeat offenses towards those living in Usha’s district, do you believe it was justifiable for the women to attack and murder him in the courtroom? (detailed account found on pgs 51-52)
2. Imagine yourself in Usha’s shoes? What might you have done if Akku Yadav and his cohorts threatened you from the other side of your front door? (pgs 50-51)
3. Since this can be considered a war of sorts, do you feel that the casualties of war eliminate the necessity to engage in battle?
Note to My Readers: It tickles me considerably to be able to introduce to all of you, the author of today's review, my friend, Shannon Walls. Shannon is a gifted writer who hopes to write professionally someday after she completes her studies for her Bachelor's Degree in English. Shannon and I met while we were attending church together in the Chicago area, some years ago. But it was only recently that I discovered what a gifted writer she is. I decided to invite her to "guest blog" for me and she so generously agreed! Shannon will be reviewing every third chapter of the book, Half the Sky, so you will get a good introduction to this aspiring author. Remember her name. You just might see her on the New York Times Best Seller list sometime in the future! You can follow Shannon on her blog "The Main Thing" at http://shannonwalls.blogspot.com
"Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.
Say to; those who are fearful-hearted,
"Be strong, do not fear!"
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you." Isaiah 35: 3.4