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"Their Pain Is Our Pain"


As I sat watching a video about violence committed against women, I was faced with a reality I already knew but chose to ignore. Pictures were followed by numbers, photographs of little girls, teenagers and adult women were followed by statistics. Thousands upon thousands of women of all ages are target of abuse, discrimination and violence around the world. I could no longer remain indifferent. I knew this situation breaks God's heart just as much as my coldness and complacency. I closed my eyes and still a bit hesitant, asked Him to open my heart to His pain.

This painting originated in the vision that followed my prayer and request. Women of all ages lie in different positions, victims of men's abuse and cruel oppression. Baby girls are aborted just because their gender was perceived as worthless or inconvenient in the eyes of their parents. Little girls are killed because they are born in a society which believes they were born with the wrong gender. Some are sold to be used as prostitutes while other girls their age play with dolls, make mud pies and lay peacefully on their father's lap in peaceful evenings somewhere else in the world.

When I painted the raped woman in the center, I almost could not continue painting, my eyes were flooded, my sight blurred by unceasing tears. I could not bear to think of the pain and humiliation my brush was unveiling. It was a painful task. As I completed her wounded body, my heart was forever changed. The vision continued, in my heart's eyes, other women in the back echoed more of the pain, fear, abandonment and abuse they experience daily. In the fading background, men watch these women's torment. Indifferent, cowardly covering their eyes, their ears, their heart... One of them even uses a Bible to block the revolting sight.

I knew I had to paint myself. As I painted the face of a man turning his face away from the women's pain, I was representing my heart's former attitude, recognizing that there are many other men unjustly indifferent like I was. It was a sober and convicting act.

One man stand blindfolded, mouth covered and hands tighten on his back. He allowed society to dictate his heart, incapacitating him to be God's cry for justice. Finally, a woman stands at the far right, turning her back to her own gender; Maybe afraid, maybe indifferent, maybe cold as she allowed hate and ignorance rob her the hope love and compassion offers.

I was motivated to do this painting in the hopes that we would be visually reminded that women are created in the image of God. They reflect something of His glory that is unique to them and that we must honor and respect. I pray that we will be challenged to change our indifference into a just and courageous determination to defend this truth making their pain our own."



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