Submitted by Lyn on Wed, 03/10/2012 – 17:08
Year B (2011-2012)
Bible Book: Genesis
Verse: 18 – 24
It is common knowledge that the number of women and children sexually abused in South Africa is one of the highest in the world. Accurate figures are impossible to obtain as some researchers claim that as little as 10% of such abuse cases are reported to the police. It is estimated that every 17 seconds a woman is raped somewhere in South Africa (approximately 500,000 annually) and every three minutes a child is raped. We read and hear about the high-profile cases, but tragically, hundreds of thousands of these cases never make it into the newspapers. This does not include the high number of women abused in their own homes, often referred to as domestic rape.
In the economically stronger communities, victims of rape and sexual abuse can go to a hospital or clinic where they can receive the necessary medication to prevent HIV infection. But in the poorer communities this is often not even an option. It is therefore not surprising that South Africa also has the highest number of people infected with HIV – many of whom were infected due to abuse – the result of men regarding women and children as objects to be used and misused at will.
But when we read Genesis 2:18-24, another picture unfolds. After God created Adam, He saw that it was not good for the man to be alone. God then created animals, but Adam failed to find a suitable partner amongst them. Then God created the woman and brought her to the man and the man was overjoyed. The famous quote (often ascribed to Augustine) says, “Woman was taken out of man; not out of his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled underfoot; but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.” Although this obviously refers to women in marriage, it also indicates to us the attitude with which God created women, not as objects to be used and misused, but as a human being, equal to man, someone to be respected and cared for.
In this time of AIDS, one can only imagine how different it would be if all men treated women and children with the respect they deserve as people created in the image of God.
Author: van Wyngaard A (Dr)