Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Plight of Widows–Part 2

 

Good morning Ladies ~ Today we have part 2 of this little series.

Let us continue to pray for all widows everywhere.

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Unfortunately, today for many widows, the loss of a husband is only the first trauma in a long-term ordeal. Widows, in these settings, are often the poorest of the poor and least protected by the law.  Most people are unaware that 245 million widows suffer in silence worldwide.  There are over 100 million widows living in poverty today. 81 million widows have been abused and millions have been ostracized and abandoned around the world, simply because they are widows.  Many are victims of property theft, social isolation, physical and psychological abuse.  Absent in statistics, unnoticed by researchers, neglected by national and local authorities and mostly overlooked by civil society organizations – the situation of widows is, in effect, invisible.  It is amazing to find something that impacts such a large section of the population in such a drastic and  horrible way, and yet, there is such a lack of public outcry for the suffering of widows and their families.  The problem is virtually ignored by many governments, the international community, and civil society, and even women’s organizations.

Despite the lack of recognition, there are growing efforts to give this problem greater public awareness.  In 2005 the Looma Foundation began recognizing June 23 as a day to remember and raise awareness of the plight of widows and in 2010 the United Nations officially adopted June 23 as ‘International Widows Day’.

Abuse of widows and their children constitutes one of the most serious violations of human rights and obstacles to development today.  Poor nutrition, inadequate shelter and vulnerability to violence, combined with a lack of access to health care, can impact the physical and mental well-being of widows. In many countries, widowhood is stigmatized and seen as a source of shame.  Widows are thought to be cursed in some cultures.  Millions of the world’s widows endure extreme poverty, ostracism, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom.

india-trivandrum

There are more than 40 million widows in India (approximately 10 % of all women in India), where widowhood constitutes a low status social institution as well as a personal condition, thousands of widows are disowned by relatives, ostracized from society and made homeless, forcing many women to seek informal work as domestic laborers or turn to begging or prostitution as a means of survival.

By: Tom Caprio
Master of Divinity Degree
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

09-16-tom2

To be continued.

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