Tonight with Britt and Larissa, we attended a small gathering of friends to hear this awesome guy Sean speak about the biblical book of Ephesians. Something that really made me stop in my tracks and choke back tears was the revelation that the women I am going to be helping in Kolkata are barely considered 'human' to many Indians - they are outcasts, and pretty much they are modern day slaves. It was when he mentioned the slaves in the historical Roman days BCE (before common era), and the lack of human rights they possessed that I realised he was describing the prostitutes of Sonagachi in parallel.
These women have no rights, they cannot get alternative jobs because of the 'profession' of prostitution, and their pimps pretty much have complete control over them. They can do what they like to these girls and women: rape, steal, beat, force etc.
So often we hear of slavery and associate it with history we learn at high school - in such a Western world, it is very difficult to grasp the concept of a slave today.
But what really struck me was when Sean mentioned how slaves are still children of God, and that they are made in his image - they have value. For me, it really opened my eyes to the bigger purpose of my trip to India - to help these women realise their worth, their value in Christ, and that they are entitled to rights. Sure, I am going to be helping out a business run that tiny bit smoother, but it is operating for the very same purpose - freedom and worth.
He mentioned a conversation he had with someone, about how he asked them, "Is it wrong to rape a young girl?" To which the man replied an obvious, "Yes!"
It wasn't until he was asked why it was wrong and immoral that he was unable to give a clear answer with a real reason as to why this was; "It just is."
I think so many people just acknowledge the fact that some things are moral and some are not, and whether some things conflict with 'human rights' or not.
What defines immorality? - why do you consider something to be immoral or going against what is considered 'human rights'?
Sean highlighted that it wasn't until Jesus spoke of the need to forgive that it became common practice, and it is the same with human rights.
Why raping a young girl, or turning a human being into a slave might be considered immoral, is because they are creations of God, and so they possess value - harming someone is in turn defacing a creation of God, his daughter or son, whom he loves. An analogy he used was painting over an artists completed picture - you are defacing their creation.
These women have worth. They need to be shown that there is such thing as having a right to speak. They have value.
I also hope that you can see their value too.
So that was very lengthy and intense, so congratulations for making it through my little thought process. I am sure there are probably a few conflicting opinions, and you are welcome to voice them!
I just needed a way of sorting through some emotions, and piecing together the puzzle - every revelation or discovery I focus on equals a new connection, until I am able to step back and look down at the picture created.