Brazil- How many women in our churches have answered “all is well” but, in reality, have gone through situations where their homes are torn apart, where they suffer humiliation, isolation, violence? Some women in our churches are not even asked whether they are doing well or not —no one shows interest or believes them, they suffer in silence.
We have reflected on this question for a while.
Our inspiration for asking ‘Woman, is all well with you?’ is the biblical text from 2 Kings 4:8-37, which tells the story of a woman from the city of Shunem who offered food and shelter to the prophet Elisha. The prophet, upon seeing the Shunammite woman coming to him, urged young Gehazi to ask her ‘Woman, is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with your child?’. And the Shunammite answered ‘all is well’… but it was clear that she was not well, not at all: her son was dead.
This campaign is coming to life as a result of conversations between Valéria Vilhena, from Coletivo EIG – Evangélicas pela Igualdade de Gênero, and Ester Lisboa, from Koinonia. They were motivated by the current pandemic situation, which has caused women’s lives to be even more exposed to countless acts of violence, as the surge in reports of aggressions, rapes and feminicides was on the cover of newspapers, due to at least two reasons: many women were compulsorily locked inside their houses with the person inflicting such violence on them, and at the same time many public services were closed down as a result of mandatory social isolation measures taken in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil.
In view of this situation, EIG and Koinonia joined efforts and created the campaign ‘Woman, is all well with you?’. Upon acknowledging that levels of violence against women in Brazil were already terrifyingly high –as Brazil ranks fifth on the global list of the most violent countries for women, while 86% of its population identifies as Christian, and this situation was worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic–, it was felt that it was a responsibility to create a campaign specifically addressed at Christian women, as well as to offer training services for assistance and guidance of these Christian women living in violent conditions, while seeking to raise awareness and sensitize our churches to the existence of this reality.
Here is the result. A video launching the campaign will reach evangelical women in violent situations during the period of a month, featuring short messages and biblical quotes, while also receiving applications for the training course, so that more people in our churches can pay attention to the need to welcome these women without blaming them for the violence they have suffered.
Link to the video: https://youtu.be/JKaJxGyVFSY
The initiative will also cooperate with professionals working at public services, so that they will be able to acknowledge the Christian values these women have received, as this often leads to women refraining from reporting violent situations or even facing them. However, these values can also be the key to making women stronger, so that they can be later guided towards public services for assistance.
Valeria Vilhena–Coordinator at Coletivo EIG – Evangélicas pela Igualdade de Gênero
Vanessa Carvalho de Mello
Spanish translation from Portuguese – Coordinación Evangélicas por la Igualdad de Género Regional Sur
Translation: Lucia Molnar, Freelance Translator. To contact him:firstname.lastname@example.org