This stunning video by our friends at International Justice Mission uncovers the link between violence and poverty.
An impoverished mother fears that her young daughter could be kidnapped, raped, or worse while walking to school. Regularly she asks herself, “Do I keep my child at home to keep her safe or do I send her to school so that she can get the education she needs for a better life?” Another mother of five learns that her 19-year-old son has been murdered and fears other family members could become targets too. Around the world, countless other mothers fear violence in their own homes.
The issue of violence toward the impoverished is not widely reported or unique to one part of the world. Globally, the facts are disturbing; according to the Global Slavery Index nearly 30 million children, women and men are held as forced labor slaves. One in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape during their lifetime.
Violence in its very nature perpetuates the cycle of poverty—it flies in the face of individuals seeking employment, education, health, and community. Violence also threatens to stunt our efforts to join with communities to bring help and hope to people who are impoverished, hungry, and hurting.
The good news is that organizations like our friends at International Justice Mission (IJM) are facing the issue of violence head on. Their work to rescue victims, prosecute perpetrators and ensure that justice systems are serving the vulnerable is vital to our work to meet immediate needs and create long-term opportunities for people facing poverty.
IJM president Gary Haugen says, that we must, “secure what we have always treasured for ourselves: the freedom from violence and fear through which the global poor might finally find their opportunity to flourish and thrive.”
Working together to fight violence’s root causes brings hope to victims and empowers them to trade living in fear for living with hope.