“My mother made me quit school before I finished the primary grades…….I’ve hated her ever since. As an adult single woman living in this (Middle Eastern) country I have no possibility of finding a job that pays enough money to support myself and live on my own…….yet I keep on looking and trying. My only choice is to live with my parents……..whom I hate….. or get married to someone with whom my parents have arranged or approve, but perhaps I don’t love. But truthfully, I really don’t want to get married. I just want to manage my own life as a woman.”
The above words have been altered slightly, yet I have written in first person because they summarize the situation for many single adult women living in this Middle Eastern country. Even if an uneducated adult woman can find a job that pays enough to support herself and make it on her own……it is often not socially acceptable for her do so. It is not uncommon for an employer to hire someone for minimum wage, keep that person on for a month and then refuse the salary when wages are due.
In other countries we may say, “How can this be? Surely there are laws governing such things.” Well……… yes…….. there are laws…………
In my country of citizenship where I grew up we made our own choices and lived with the responsibility and/or consequences of those choices. However, in the host country where I now live and work the “choice” many women face is very different. When faced with a choice of either marriage to someone she does not love to escape an oppressive home situation or remaining in that oppressive environment, neither “choice” is very attractive.
The only choice, indeed, may be to decide to rise to see another day and somehow pretend that tomorrow will be better.
As I listen to the stories of many women here, I am often amazed at the lack of tears as women casually talk about being raised under shaming words and harsh treatment. Behavior in children is often shaped by shaming. Girls are often told by their parents that the troubles in the home are their fault and things would have been better if they had been born male.
I often ask myself how (why?) many women here continue to put one foot in front of the other especially when they have no faith in Jesus who offers life and peace even in the worst of circumstances. Besides prayer, what can I do for those who do not want to know Him??……….I can sit alongside, listen, and wonder.
The above writer is a Wholehearted Warrior who is engaging issues of oppression and trafficking abroad and ministering to women who have been harmed. For the safety of this writer and the women being served, this post remains anonymous.