It’s been a busy two weeks for TAF as we have adjusted with the rest of the world to a new normal in our homes, our work, our community, and even our health. Vulnerable people are always the first to be impacted when a crisis strikes, and for women and children stuck in domestic abuse and persecution this is especially true. Though much of the world is frozen right now, our work has not slowed down.
A single mom TAF supports in Turkey has fled both domestic abuse and persecution. She now has the novel coronavirus and almost died a few weeks ago. She is recovering but still sick with her 13-year-old daughter at home. Without medical insurance and no one to care for her daughter if she went to the hospital, she chose to remain at home because of fear of what would happen to her daughter if she left. These are tough choices.
Domestic violence has also skyrocketed across the globe during the coronavirus. Religious persecution has also been increasing because of the coronavirus. We’ve said it before, but we believe TAF is positioned to help at such a time as this. You have probably seen the popular Mr. Rogers quote that’s been circulating around social media, and we aim to be a helper.
Here are some of the ways TAF has been helping in the month of March:
- Child Abuse Policies – TAF drafted policy changes to protect the testimonies of children who report abuse, especially in situations where one parent is leaving domestic violence. One of the biggest outcries we hear from the women escaping abuse is that they want to see changes in the legal system. For a woman leaving domestic violence, her biggest concerns are usually the safety of her children and whether she will be believed. Reporting child abuse actually makes the mother more likely to lose custody of her children. This needs to change. TAF has consulted with a variety of federal agencies, domestic violence attorneys, and child welfare agencies to develop a plan for safeguards and accountability measures at the federal level that will ensure the testimonies of children are reported accurately and fairly. Our work on this is continuing.
- WGDP – The W-GDP bill is a strongly bipartisan bill that has the potential to help 50 million women in developing countries realize their economic potential by 2025. We know that the biggest reason women stay too long in abusive or oppressive situations is because they are trapped economically. This bill has the potential to change that trajectory for millions of the most vulnerable women on the planet. TAF has had several “virtual” meetings with congressional offices, the White House, and other NGOs in the past few weeks to secure cosponsors. Congress and the federal government have transitioned to working from home as well. We have placed a priority on advocacy for this bill in the Senate, and we hope to see it pass soon.
- Congressional Appropriations – This week TAF submitted a congressional budget appropriations request for the necessary expenses for the development of an educational curriculum addressing the equality and inclusion of women in society in countries that enforce blasphemy or apostasy laws. If we want women to have equal rights to marry, drive, divorce, and believe as they choose, then we need to change the environment in which these oppressive laws are created; we need to see changes in textbooks that reflect the value of women and girls.
- Domestic Abuse – We continue to receive terrible reports of women and children trapped in abusive homes during the coronavirus, and we are doing what we can to help. Court rooms are closed, important appointments have been cancelled, and we are trying to give advice that is best given the uncertainty of the situation. Please pray for us as we continue to guide and serve these vulnerable women.