We are made in the image of God

December 6, 2013

by Laurent Trabadello, Regional Director for Latin America and West Africa

Deep-seated myths that have promoted violence against women in Haiti for years are finally being exposed for what they are through a Samaritan’s Purse project.

“Women are like mahogany.”

‘That’s an interesting myth,’ I thought to myself. As I sat in the wooden church in Haiti, listening to the pastor as he exposed Haitian myths that lead to violence against women, I wondered what that could mean.

“Mahogany is one of the toughest woods used to build furniture,” explained the pastor. “You can hit it as hard as you want, and it doesn’t break.”

Women in the audience nodded. They were all too familiar with the myth and its significance.

“Women are like rats. They steal food from their husbands.” What a sad picture.

The pastor continued: “What do you want to do when you see a rat?” This was more of a rhetorical question, to which everyone knew the answer.

The last myth he exposed was that women are like cows, worthless once they have had their offspring.

I love how the pastor responded to these myths: “Lies—these are all lies. And you must stop believing them and talking about them.”

He went on to express what the truth is, that men and women are created as image bearers of God, with inestimable worth and dignity. The audience was quiet, absorbing a truth that has the power to revolutionize how women are treated in Haiti.

The gathering was a forum put together by the staff of our ‘Restoration of Hope and Dignity’ project. It’s a powerful initiative that trains church leaders and volunteers on issues related to gender-based violence. Through this program, a toolkit is being developed that churches can use to talk about the issues, prevent violence, and offer assistance to victims of abuse.

 This message is being widely spread through church and school outreaches, training workshops, community forums, and radio. By sharing the truth of the Gospel and exposing lies that lead to violence, Samaritan’s Purse is seeing real transformation and behavior change in a country plagued by domestic abuse and rape.

Finally, the pastor asked the women in the audience: “Are you like mahogany?” My heart rejoiced as loud voices shouted in unison: “No, we are made in the image of God!”

This Christmas, you can help more women expose lies that lead to violence and instead embrace the truth that ascribes equal worth and dignity to every human being. As a $100 gift to a cherished woman in your life, consider sponsoring a community-level prevention program similar to the one I experienced in Haiti.

These programs are transforming the futures of women and children around the world, and are bringing real hope for change.