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Gender Reconciliation in India

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10 April 2015

The air was thick with tension and emotion as we waited to hear the response from the men in the room. What would they say? How would they act? The temperature was matching the scorching heat outside.

 I was in Indiaworking alongside Micah Global bringing church leaders together nationally and locally to raise awareness of Gender Based Violence (GBV). With 1 in 3 women globally suffering violence in huge lifetime and, according to UN Women, this rising to 70% in some countries, it is a huge issue that the church needs to address. India itself has female foeticide, female infanticide alongside domestic and sexual abuse.
We had spent the morning looking at the Bible, GBV statistics and now we had split the women and men into groups and had given them an opportunity to respond to what they had heard. It was a risky move. The women responded with grace and love in spite of the fact that many had suffered violence and abuse at the hands of men. Then it was the men’s turn to respond.

The men stood to their feet and lined up in a row. They saluted us. The nominated speaker said, ‘We stand here today and salute you women. We salute you that you have succeeded in spite of the discrimination and abuse you have suffered. We also repent. We repent of when we have silenced and ignored you and for our inaction. We commit today to speaking out, to ensuring that your voice is heard, and to ending gender based violence.

I heard gentle sobs behind me. Some of the women informed me later that they had never experienced such honour and respect from men. This was the first time in their lives that they had felt of value. It was hard as the facilitator to not cry myself. Right there was why I do what I do - transformed hearts, change happening, new futures ahead.
As a Christian organisation Restored aims to transform relationships and end violence against women. I believe the church can be part of the answer. Indeed the church can bring about real, sustained change through transformed hearts and minds that lead to behaviour change.


This reflection was written by Mandy Marshall, co-director of Restored - an international Christian Alliance working to transform relationships and end violence against women. Restored have been a member of Micah since 2012.

Mandy will be running the London Marathon this month to raise awareness about the work of Restored - we wish you all the best, Mandy!