07 Mar To Kill for Love
The entire state of Tamil Nadu watched with horror the news about a young teacher stabbed to death inside a church by a spurned “lover” only days ahead of her wedding. Such incidents are becoming shockingly familiar in the media. Women are stabbed to death in public places, beaten up with rods, doused with acid or threatened if they are found engaged to another or interested in another person.
There is also news of eve teasing, raping, stalking, making obscene phone calls, threatening to upload lewd morphed photos in social media and other forms of harassment that have driven many to suicide and others to be silent sufferers. These women suffer for not giving into the men’s advances. The girls and their families live in constant fear.
We know that God is a God of love. There is no fear in love. God wants us to love one another. Killing for love is an irony in itself.
It will help to take notice of the attitude of the general population and that of our leaders. Many nonchalantly shrug off the matter saying it’s a personal matter or that ‘boys will be boys’ to quote a popular politician. Proverbs 29: 16 (Message) says “When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild”. When the wicked rule, all the people suffer.
These attacks on unrequited love are not the only problem women face in our country. Our nation routinely kills girls in the name of ‘honor killing’, when a girl marries against the wishes of her family. So girls seem to be boxed on both sides. They can’t marry a man they like, and they are harassed by men they do not like.What will the poor young girls do?
The news in the media may just be the tip of the iceberg. Most crimes go unreported when the family doesn’t complain or cannot present evidence.
Our country is a melting pot of attitudes and cultures. In earlier days, marriages were strictly arranged by the caste system, exchange of dowry, horoscopes etc. We didn’t have many inter- caste or inter cultural matches then. Those who dared to marry were subject to “honor killings”. Nobody dared to flout the rules of the katta or khap panchayats. People of every religion and culture had a way of life and largely stuck to traditional forms of living.Teachers and parents wielded the stick and the students were obedient and disciplined.
Now with the boom in literacy, and the onslaught of movies, video games and dramas that glorify sex and violence, urbanization of cities and mixing of cultures, our people are exposed to various ways of thinking and living. Schools and colleges rarely expect discipline or obedience. School teachers were pulled up for beating children by the managements and parents alike and now they don’t care.
The young people have access to money, movies, friends, pornography, drugs and along with it, the dangerous notion that they can manage their own lives and do whatever they like. It is difficult to zone in on the cause for the murder for unrequited love. It’s obvious the men are not truly in love. They may want a fling or view girls as property and demand submission. Or their manly egos are too big to handle rejection from a lady. All these point to a fundamental psychological problem in the male psyche.
It is difficult to understand what goes in the mind of the killer, the stalker and the rapist. They are not born that way, but a deadly cocktail of the wrong influences and bad company can drive them to commit such crimes. There may be warning signals that the family and friends notice but overlook them fearing hostile reaction. It’s a sad state when parents fear their own children. Families of men who commit crime too suffer shame and guilt.
It is important to note that our nation is primarily a patriarchal society. The bad behavior of men is excused or overlooked and the blame is shifted on to the girl; ‘she asked for it”, ‘she should have been careful”, are a few insensitive comments that arise.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Listen to a Father’s Instruction in Proverbs 4: 14 – 16
Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; and they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble . . .
If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to. Parents must raise the child in Godly ways in keeping with the promise made at the time of dedication of the child in the church. A person who is unrepentant of adultery, covetousness, idolatry, drunkenness or collecting usury is to be sent out of the Church. I Cor. 5: 11- 13
Unfortunately, our country does not follow the Scripture. We live in a land of idolatry, drunkenness, corruption, hypocrisy and oppression of the girl. It’s quite ironic that most of the gods of India are female.
What can we advise the young woman of today when she faces such a situation? Should she fight or flee?
It is unwise for the girl to keep the matter to herself and put up with abuse. It is also very wrong to marry off a girl to a man who threatens violence. She has to get help from family and friends and even the police to help confront the abuser. Yes, it is also advisable to move elsewhere for safety. The family must be supportive and not blame the girl.
We are called to be salt and light to the world around us. We need to regularly pray for our country and also bring to light the problems that plague society. Most of us are content to pray. Not many Christians write in the newspapers and magazines about the ills of society and solutions to address them. The answers to all the problems that plague the world are in the pages of the Bible.
We don’t participate in protests that call for ban on alcohol, tackling crime, danger of drugs, protecting the girl child and so on. The common excuse is that they are “secular” and that we take part only in “Christian meetings”. This silence will only allow evil to spread.
Let us recall that Christians were at the forefront to abolish many evils in history. William Wilberforce helped abolish slave trade in England. William Carey played a pivotal role in banning sati (a Hindu custom where a widow is burnt alive on her husband’s funeral pyre) and Amy Carmichael saved girls from temple prostitution in India. They were Christians who GOT INVOLVED in tackling social evils.In the eyes of God, all men and women are equal. It’s time that we as a church spoke out against the injustices faced by the weaker sex.
Boys must treat girl-friends and girls who are friends with respect. We must set examples in our relationships for others to emulate. It saddens God’s heart when women are ill-treated. God hates violence, lies and murder and will punish the evil doer. Having God’s unconditional love does not mean we have God’s unconditional approval to do wrong. We must take this message to the unbelieving masses.
The problem of murder for unrequited love has its roots in the myriad attitudes and wrong beliefs in our society. Unless the Gospel penetrates the darkness around us, countless innocent girls will suffer. We the Church are answerable to God for their tears.WE MUST SPEAK OUT BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE WILL.
Ephesians 5:11 (CEV): Don’t take part in doing those worthless things that are done in the dark. Instead, show how wrong they are.
Jeslyne Isaac is an active graduate in Adyar, Chennai.