Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

We Are Not Afraid of God’s Face

Photo Credit: una cierta mirada via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: una cierta mirada via Compfight cc

In the wake of the horrific rape and murder of Anene Booysen, Nathalie Koenig chatted to the women at Sisters Incorporated to hear what they had to say about the abuse of women in this country.

I once asked God to show me His face. It was one of those repeated pleas – “Show me your face Lord. Showmeyourfaceshowmeyourface”. And He showed me the faces of some children I knew. Women I knew. Friends. Family members. Now looking at a snapped ID photo of Anene Booysen, I’m unsettled by the earnestness of her expression. And am asking again for God to show me His face. And I think that He is.

On 2 February, 17-Year old Anene Booysen was gang-raped and mutilated in Bredasdorp.  She died later in hospital, after identifying one of her attackers. (For the full story, click here)

Upon reading or hearing of Anene’s story, many of us may have been shocked or saddened, but how many of us would have responded with the thought “It could have been me”?

This was one woman’s response at Sisters Incorporated. Sisters Incorporated, one of Common Good’s partner organisations, is a shelter in Kenilworth that provides a place of safety and healing to vulnerable women. The residents of Sisters all have stories, as do countless other women in our city, and our nation.

Anene’s story is not one that stands alone.

“It’s not just this story. There are young kids, babies… that are raped and killed,” said one woman.

“Even inside our homes, our children are raped. By our brothers. Our uncles. We don’t know where to run. We are scared even to go the police because they also rape us” said another.

How does one respond to these kinds of comments? Do we wring our hands in desperation? Do we call the justice system to question? Write to the papers?

Or do we shake our heads, sigh… and then carry on with life? Do we continue to allow ourselves to believe that we’re powerless?

Perhaps we should start taking this woman’s words to heart:

“Stop being ignorant and acknowledge the stuff that’s going on around us. These are our children. Who’s going to run the future? This is reality. Some people will say ‘Ag shame, did you hear that? Did you see that?’ But what if it was your child? I might not have that pain, but I know what it’s like to be in her shoes”

But what if this was your child. With Kingdom perspective, is this an ‘if’ scenario?

“This is happening because we’re not afraid of God’s face. How can you kill a human being? Even a dog? It’s been created by God. Your child is my child. Nowadays there’s no more love.”

We’re not afraid of God’s face. These words struck a chord in me. The perpetrators of these crimes are not afraid of God’s face. But are we afraid of God’s face? Reflected in the eyes of Anene Booysen? Or the eyes of every woman who has suffered similar injustices?

Have we taken these words to heart?

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

Or even more challenging… these?

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Matthew 25:45)

“Your child is my child” – These could have been words spoken by Jesus himself. And I’m sure He would have reversed them too: My child is your child.

Are we afraid of God’s face?

We can’t allow women to feel that there is no more love nowadays.

We can’t allow stories like that of Anene Booysen to paralyse us.

We can’t remain ignorant of what’s going on around us.

We need to acknowledge the pleas of these voices. And the bigger call from our King to love Him, and love His people. To do for the least of these what we’d do for Him, and to remember that what we don’t do for the least of these, we don’t do for Him.

Here are some ways you can respond:

–          March to Parliament. If you read this in time, join in here

–          Be bold. Stand up. Speak up. Raise your voice. (Especially if you’re a man. We need to hear from the good and Godly men of this country!)

–          Pray. The crisis of violence against women in this country needs supernatural intervention.

–          Support organisations that support vulnerable women, such as Sisters Incorporated.

–          Sign this Avaaz petition.

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5 thoughts on “We Are Not Afraid of God’s Face

  1. Great post, Nat. Thank you for sharing it with us. Thank you for challenging us to respond by taking a meaningful stand against rape and domestic violence. Not to just wear black for a day and then forget about this issue.

  2. Brigitte Parfitt on said:

    It is good to bring things into the light which have been hidden in the darkness; that’s why Jesus came – to overcome the enemy. HE said “Do not let your heart be troubled (Jn 14:27 BUT take heart, I (Jesus) have overcome the world”. Having been involved in SISTERS for over 10 years and having been a victim myself when the world would not even use the word ‘sex’ publicly, I have seen God’s Face – on the Cross of Calvary. Mark 10:18 “Why do you call me good?- Jesus said to the rich young man. ‘No one is good – except God alone.’
    We have to believe God and exalt Him even in this situation – because God alone knows and HE so loved Anene Booysens who is now with Him. Just like in India, it took one woman to lead the whole nation into outrage. Let’s continue to be outraged against rape, violence and the evil in this world. We can only do it when we come in the Name of the Lord – like David when he slayed Goliath, not so much with a stone but coming in the Name of the Lord.
    May our righteous anger stir once again God’s heart as we cry out to Him. HE DOES HEAR US! Brigitte

    • Nathalie on said:

      Thanks Brigitte. Many true and good words! Your opening words remind me of another comment that one of the ladies made:

      “The old people used to hide things. That turns a person rebellious. It keeps you with baggage.”

      It certainly is good to bring the things that have been hidden into the light.

  3. Great article Nats. It is way too easy to just shake our heads and carry on with life. Thank you for reminding us that we are called to do more. x

  4. Nathalie on said:

    Thanks for your thoughts, ladies! Here’s a blog on the same sort of topic that really spoke to me, and added a practical edge… http://valanderson.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/on-being-my-sisters-keeper/

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