World Day of Prayer Lebanon committee members joined the campaign “Thursdays in Black" during our October meeting. We wore black and discussed how violence against women and children goes undetected as there are no laws to protect them in our country. Around the table, we shared some stories. One of the members, who represents the National Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), on our WDP committee shared the following stories.
A 25 year old Lebanese woman who had left her house after a lot of suffering brought about by her husband. She did not have anyone to help her as her parents were very poor and her father was very sick. She resorted to a counseling center that transferred her case to the National YWCA shelter. There, she was helped to file a case of marital separation and gain custody of her daughter. She was assisted by psychologists to reestablish her self-esteem, after which she followed the “Nurse Aid training” program which helped her find a job and become independent.
She also shared the story of a 26 year old Lebanese woman, divorced and a mother of two. She lived in a very close-minded society, where a divorced woman is not accepted. She suffered from all kinds of psychological pressures, deprivations, and repressions. At one point her own brother tried to kill her. She fled from home and resorted to a Christian organization that assists women in crisis, providing shelter for up to two years. Later, with the help of the National YWCA social worker, she was able to get custody of her daughter who was freed from the abusive father. She got training and was able to find a job and take care of her daughter.
Still today, as we all know, there are women in different parts of the world living in situations of violence but are afraid to talk about their suffering. Sometimes these women simply do not know that there could be better alternatives for their difficult conditions. The stories mentioned above have showed that women can overcome violence when they find community support. However, many stories have very tragic and sad endings. The WDP Committee of Lebanon has supported organizations that help women who suffer violence and abuse through prayer by donating the offerings from WDP services on the first Friday of March, to them.
“Thursdays in Black” can be a good reminder to all of us to take part in helping women and children. Let us pray and act for a world without violence, especially against women and children!
- Maral Barzekian Haidostian, WDPIC Regional Rep of the Middle East