I’ve been reading an interesting book by Gary A. Haugen with Victor Boutros. It’s called “The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence,” and it presents heartbreaking stories and statistics showing the devastating impact of everyday violence in the lives of the global poor.
The authors declare that, “Beneath the surface of the world’s poorest communities, common violence — including rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse and other brutality — has become routine and relentless. And like a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path, the unchecked plague of violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development.”
Food for the Hungry (FH) has seen the kind of violence described in “The Locust Effect.”
- Worldwide one of every three females will experience violence in their lifetime. In some countries, the number is as high as three out of four, usually the most impoverished in any community.
- In disaster situations, refugee camps expose women and children to violence and sex trafficking.
- Rape is a tool of war. A two-year-old study by the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported that 48 women were raped every hour, and rebel soldiers admitted raping a predetermined number of women and girls (as young as 5) when attacking a village.
- In many cultures, abuse is an accepted social norm. Some surveys show that both men and women believe it is tolerable for a man to beat his wife and for both parents to beat their children.
FH approaches the problem with solutions in mind.
- In care groups, women learn to better care for their children’s physical and emotional health.
- Through income generation programs and savings groups, men and women learn how to support their families, easing the tension and hopelessness that often leads to violence.
- Through counseling programs, entire families and communities learn that all people have value and must, therefore, be treated with respect. FH staff teach families to communicate through words, not physical abuse.
- In emergency responses, FH sets up child friendly spaces to protect the most vulnerable people from violence and exploitation.
If you’d like to help end violence one person and community at a time through FH programs, please prayerfully consider a gift to FH’s general fund. Together, we can help bring peace and safety to the vulnerable.