It’s early morning. I walk along the muddy path that winds its way up the hill between the shelters in the world’s largest refugee camp. I walk this route regularly and have become a familiar face for the women and children who live along the way. I see Manuela sitting in front of her shelter and ask her about the well-being of the woman who was badly injured in the head three days ago by a neighbor in a fight with a rake. Manuela jumps up, grabs my arm and asks me if I want to visit Sara, the injured woman. I nod.
In the shelter I sit down next to Sara on the floor. Sara moves carefully. She is obviously in pain. She shows me her wounds on the head and the painkillers she got from an NGO clinic. While she tells me about the incident, more and more women are entering the shelter. I am appalled by the brutality and show dismay. This seems to encourage the surrounded women to tell me more. They continued with telling other stories of violent outbursts in their personal environment. Manuela calls forth a young girl and asks me to look at her right arm. It is crippled. The girl’s mother says it was broken by someone in the family when she was a little girl. At that moment Nina, a mother of four children, enters the shelter. At once all the women shout: “Nina, show her. Show her!” Nina rolls up her sleeves and displays an impression of a bite on her arm. She has also some on the thigh, she says. The women demand: “Take off your blouse!” Then I see an impression on her stomach. She says her husband did this to her.
In a Rohingya family and their personal environment, conflicts are often resolved by violence. That the men beat their wives is culturally accepted. In addition, it is a common educational method to threaten with beatings or beat children. On the street, I often watch how bigger kids beat pitiless the little ones.
Pray that Jesus will come into the families and break this spiral of violence.
Pray that men will start loving their wives and women will learn how to educate children without beating.
Pray that there is space where women can treat their trauma and experience healing.