"Gender violence is a major social issue in our country," explains Roxana Orellana de Pérez, who ministers to abused women in El Salvador. "Every 36 hours a woman (in El Salvador) is murdered. Three out of four women are victims of physical, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse that has damaged or denigrated (them) in a permanent and irreversible way. Two out of three girls and boys are sexually abused in El Salvador."
Pérez says that Grady's ministry to eradicate gender-based violence "is an inspiration for all of us women working for the cause. He has been a mentor and has ministered (to) many women and men in El Salvador who have been victims of abuse."
In some cultures in Central and South America, women actually expect their husbands and boyfriends to abuse them. "Machismo is deeply rooted in our culture," explains Nori Menendez, director of the Mordecai Project in Barranquilla, Colombia. "Machismo is the idea that men are superior, more intelligent and generally more qualified. As a result, they have the right to dominate, control or degrade women."
When Grady confronts men who have abused women their entire lives—including pastors and other church workers—he does so by reading Scriptures such as 1 Peter 3:7. "That is addressed to husbands," he explains, "and tells them if you are not treating your wife as an equal, God is not listening to your prayers. We want to preach that the husband is 'head of the home,' but that is not a Scripture. The Bible says the man is head of the wife, not head of the home. The husband and wife together are priests. We're all priests, but we skip over these verses.
"The way you treat your wife has a lot of impact on how you relate to God," Grady tells men. "God basically switches His phone to the answering machine when you're abusing your wife or not treating her as an equal. I use those analogies when I preach to men and they're convicted and come to the altar."
Menendez says that Grady has played a powerful prophetic role in Colombia. "Many church leaders, men and women, have repented, realizing that during most of their lives they allowed and fostered machismo by misinterpreting many Bible passages. Lee and the Mordecai Project have brought about an awakening as defenders of women, and many women (are launched more freely into ministry."
Why hasn't the church done more to confront gender-based violence against women—not just outside the four walls but inside? "We can't go to the world and confront these problems until we confront them in our own churches," Grady emphasizes. "The church around the world has to be part of the solution; instead we're part of the problem."
Why Satan Keeps Women in Bondage
The mission statement of The Mordecai Project is "empowering women, confronting abuse, transforming nations." How do the first two result in the last one? "Because there are certain spiritual battles reserved for women," Grady says. "We have proven that the number one reason for systemic poverty in the developing world is lack of education of women. When women are educated and go to college, everything changes in those countries.
"The devil is totally behind all this injustice," Grady adds. "He doesn't want women to figure out who they are, to be protected or go to school because he knows what that will do to a country. Nations are going to be transformed when we release and harness the power of women."
Grady points to Malala Yousafzai, the teenager from Pakistan who dared stand up to the Taliban's edict that girls cannot be educated. She took a bullet in her head as a result, almost killing her. Afterwards, Pakistan passed a Right to Education bill. And Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize—the youngest person ever to do so.
"Look at the dynamics of this," Grady says. "Here's a girl who was a victim of oppression, yet she went on to change her nation. How much more do we need Spirit-filled women to do this—to step into this lion's den and take on the oppression of women and girls?"
Women must be empowered, equipped and set free to do what God has called them, says Paul Muzichuk with Servant Heart Mission. "The time in which we are living is too critical for us as men to debate the matter any further," he insists. "It's time to release God's daughters for supernatural kingdom work. When God's daughters are released for His calling, a beautiful harmony of partnership, strategy and healing takes places in the fields of the Lord. We need women more than at any (other) time to rise up and be fully equipped to be God's ambassadors around the world."
For women to do that, someone must defend them. Someone must rescue them from the 24/7 horrors that surround them. Someone must champion them to step into their destiny. Who will do that? Is the Holy Spirit calling you to be a Mordecai? Maybe He is asking you the same question He asked Grady: "Why don't you defend her?"
Diana Scimone is a journalist who has written extensively on injustice. She is founder of the Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking, and author of many children's books, including Born to Fly and the Adventures With PawPaw series.
Discover more about The Mordecai Project as well as the injustices women face around the globe at themordecaiproject.charismamag.com.
Please consider donating to The Mordecai Project, India and help put a stop to the horrific atrocities these women face daily. To donate, visit christianlifemissions.org.
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