I have sometimes been told that we don’t have significant systemic issues for women in NZ.
But in the last week I have seen two news articles that show this is not so:
1. Of the 11,000 jobs lost due to Covid recently in NZ, 10,000 of them had been held by women. See article.
2. Over the 3 years a young woman was stalked, she reported it to police multiple times, and independently took the man to court to get a restraining order. The whole time, the police did nothing to support her. Then the man murdered another young woman’s boyfriend (a woman he had also been stalking), and finally ended in jail. The police deny connection between the stalking behaviour and the murder! To this day, they are minimising her experience. See article.
So what does this mean for us women who are part of the church? Naturally, those who are energised in becoming part of political action groups should do so if possible. But for us non-activist women?
Perhaps we need to first ask God to open our eyes and ears to people, their situation, and their pain. To spend time sitting with them, praying with them.
Not judging them by their situation.
I have a tendency to think: that woman is a victim because she is weak. But that sort of thinking leads me to focus on the woman’s response, rather than noticing the faulty system.
When it is a system problem, then yes we should strengthen the woman… for their fight. We also need to tell them that it is not their fault. We need to find ways to support them in dealing with the injustice. And yes, also recognise that the injustice may have spread like yeast in bread, causing effects throughout their person.
Often it is only when injustice is addressed that people can begin to live freely again. But until then, even if someone looks fine on the outside, they may not be fine at all. Here is a quote from woman in the second article: “I do not trust the police with anything… I struggle more and more as time goes on. Facing a belligerent police officer a number of times, arguing with [them] at every sentence, isn’t easy. I can feel my anxiety increasing every year.”
Does anyone else have experience or background on helping women with this? Does anyone in our churches struggle with this? Please feel free to comment.