God wonderfully created men and women to complement one another. But human relationships were damaged when sin entered the world, spreading the evil desires of power, control, and manipulation. The misuse of power is often encouraged by many cultures, even in family relationships. In some communities, men are seen as the “owners” of the women and children in their families and it is accepted that these men can do whatever they like to them. They can beat the women and children and, in some countries, even sell them.
Often women accept their low cultural position and may even judge others who have stepped out of line as deserving of the beatings they receive. Many mothers accept the fathers’ decision to sell their daughters if the families are in debt or in need. They don’t see it as wrong, because this is how it has always been done in their communities. Even some Christians follow abusive cultural practices.
One key to helping suffering women in countless communities is to encourage fathers, husbands, brothers, and pastors to understand that women and girls are created by God and are meant to be cherished and loved. Biblical teaching on a father’s and a husband’s responsibilities to love and protect his children and wife is vital. Christian men need to understand the practical meaning of God’s desire for them to love their wives as Christ loves the Church.
Community leaders need to help fathers understand that educating girls and providing proper health care for them benefits the whole community. Cultural practices of female circumcision and child marriages cause major problems that encourage the cycle of poverty.
Many men listen to Project Hannah’s Women of Hope radio program because it helps them better understand their daughters, wives, and sisters. In addition, TWR recently launched Champions Arise, a discipleship ministry that encourages and equips men to be godly fathers, husbands, brothers, and friends.