WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) have released the newest in their acclaimed series of Special Reports. The latest report is about being a girl – and the tragedy that can be.
Susan Lawson opens her well-document report with a thumbnail view of the classic novel, Jane Eyre. She gives particular notice to its initial reception amongst readers and critics who were introduced to the girlhood experiences that shaped Jane’s life as a woman of “resolve and integrity.”
Jane Eyre is certainly no fairy tale, but it does have a happy ending. Don’t most girls’ stories have happy endings? Rogers and Hammerstein must have thought so when they wrote these lyrics from their musical, The Flower Drum Song.
I’m strictly a female-female,
And my future, I hope, will be
In the home of a brave and free male
Who’ll enjoy being a guy having a girl… like… me.
“Rewriting the Tragedies of Girlhood” reveals the truth that normal girlhood is not that which is found in fairy tales, Jane Eyre, or pollyannish songs like “I Enjoy Being a Girl.”
In fact, it is a personal and existential disaster to be a girl in much of the world. The struggle for survival as a girl begins for some while they are still in their mother’s womb. Even when they are in that Creator-designed safe place, girls become victims of feticide in far too many places and far too many times. Let’s be clear – once is too many times. Yet, on the South Asian subcontinent, an average of 1,900 unborn girls are aborted every day.
Even if a girl survives to birth, some families and some entire cultures have no problem with infanticide when a girl child is undesirable or may be considered an unnecessary burden for the parents.
The danger of existential discrimination does not stop there. Financially desperate families work their daughters as virtual slaves. In these cases, girls fail to receive an education. Their lack of schooling perpetuates their devalued status.
Having no value in the eyes of others, young girls are often trafficked for the financial gain of their families. In some cases, they are sold directly to traffickers. In other instances, they are sold as child brides. Authorities have become increasingly aware that men willing to pay the dowry for a child bride are often front men for, or are themselves, traffickers.
The abuse, neglect, and merchandising of female children are not limited to a few developing countries. Almost every country in the world is involved in sex trafficking.
This report needs to be read. It is not easy reading, but Lawson includes practical suggestions for ways that people like you and I can help to reduce and eventually eradicate the tragedies of girlhood. She does so, in part, by sharing the stories of women who have endured these injustices with the help of people who see girls and women as esteemed works of God’s creation. These stories of hope will inspire hope for the girls and women of the world.
Quoting the report,
“In Jane Eyre . . . and most other popular coming-of-age stories about girls, the heroines get a satisfying ending [and] find contentment accomplishing their dreams and living in safe homes with the people they love.
“Real life doesn’t always bring neat, happy resolution, but it does bring the same element of hope found in those fictional stories – in an even more powerful way. In the true stories of girls [in this report], redemption is dawning over years of devastation and pain. As God brings restoration to their lives, they are helping many more girls to overcome the antagonists of abuse, discrimination, and exploitation and to embrace their identities as daughters of the King of kings.”