The Red Sea: “Hitting Close to Home” by Ariana Vaughn

Summary

I am definitely an advocate for stopping gendercide in China. While studying Chinese, I have met a number of wonderful Chinese women of all ages. They have truly touched my life and impacted me tremendously. Hearing their stories about how hard it can be as a woman in China temporarily places me in their shoes. As our relationships continually grow, their heartache has become my own. Thus, I want to tell you all some of these women’s stories (and others that I have seen, heard, or observed) in hopes of bringing forth compassion in your hearts to respect, honor, and love women as well as support the end to gendercide. My hope is that these stories will help us to rise up out of our comfort zones and into action. I want us to take to heart the struggle of these women and the true detriment of gendercide in society. It is important to highlight the need to value women in Chinese society; once value is placed and realized, this will be the root to exterminating gendercide!

Bio

My name is Ariana Vaughn. I am originally from Brooklyn, New York and I currently reside in Kunming, China. I have been living here for almost two years now and I study Chinese at one of the local Universities. I have a Bachelors and Masters Degree in sociology. I hope to become fluent in Chinese, receive a law degree in International Human Rights, and work with the United Nations or other affiliated organization to advocate for human rights around the world.  If I win the grant money, I plan to donate it to an orphanage here in China that takes care of young girls and a few boys so that they can afford to have other orphans come and stay at the house.

 

 

HITTING CLOSE TO HOME

“You are smart. I would teach you more, but you are a woman…” I sat there in awe as Jane told me her story. Jane is a Chinese college student here in China, one who is bright, brave, and bodacious. Yet time and time again, comments such as these are thrown her way by chauvinistic male professors who put a cap on her growth as a person, an individual, and a human being, all because of her gender. I had no clue what to say to her. Usually, I am good at encouraging people, but not today. She was rightfully discouraged, angry, and heartbroken. I wanted to cry for her, but held it together.

 

“I went to live with my grandparents at a very young age. My mom was disappointed because I was a girl. So she sent me to live with my grandparents and became pregnant twice more before having my brother…” Every Saturday afternoon, I was blessed to have the presence of this beautiful young lady Hannah and five other friends at my home. They would come to practice their English with me through a variety of activities I would set up for them. We would share our goals, dreams, and life stories. Hannah’s story wasn’t the only one like this. There was a consistent pattern of these young girls being devalued and thrust to the side to make room for boys. The unfortunate results about it all are the emotional scars that have accompanied these young women up to this point, making them doubt and disregard their worth as women and as human beings. They are some of the most beautiful young women I have ever met. Their lives have great purpose and they are having a tremendous influence within their school and the people around them. The world is a better place with them in it.

In a class of twelve children, I noticed that only two girls were present. This stark contrast surprised me and I began to wonder why. While there may have been factors I did not know about, I also wondered how many other young girls could have been sitting in this classroom, if they were seen as people to love instead of possessions to discard….

They asked her…no, pleaded with her, not to throw the baby away. “Whatever you do, don’t throw the baby away…” My friend Dana told me the horrific details of the account. A Chinese friend of hers who was pregnant (but by some divine intervention had kept this information hidden!) threatened to throw her new born baby in the trashcan upon first glimpse. “…Please don’t do it! Please don’t do it! Give her to me…”. Dana took the child and placed her own life in jeopardy in order to find the proper assistance for the baby. Fortunately, Dana was able to get help for the child but still thinks of her to this day and is unsure as to what has become of the little girl.

One day I was walking home from a long day of assorted activities, when I heard a commotion behind a van parked on my right hand side. As I passed the van and peered over the hood, there was a man and woman fighting on the other side. Well, I don’t know if you could call it a fight…the man held the woman by her hair and when he saw three other women running over to help her, he then pulled her up into the air and she flew to the ground in a spiral like motion. Her friends yelled at the man and pushed him away as her body lay limp on the ground. He lit a cigarette and walked away.

There are these stories and many others that I could tell you about regarding the challenges that women face in China. Small girls are being aborted because the value of their lives is suppressed underneath a distorted view and sickening hunger for prestige, wealth, and commodity. If women aren’t respected and valued now, then the annihilation of the next generation is a sad reality that China has succumbed to today. Don’t get me wrong, China is an amazing place with people full of servitude, generosity, and humility; however, having to walk alongside so many women who are discouraged, confused, and oppressed, has caused me to internalize what I have seen and heard as my own burden as well, because I too am a woman. We are not only the crown of creation, but we are the givers of life, and need to be exalted as such. Through aborting young girls, China is forfeiting so many blessings and wonderful contributions that the nation can give to the world. I stand against gendercide because without women, the world will not survive. I stand against gendercide because building relationships with so many great Chinese women has impacted my heart by showing me the importance of loving others and the special role that only women play in that. If I were still living in America, this issue would probably not hit so close to home for me. But now that so many women that I love have felt the effects of gender tension, I can’t help but become passionate about the issue and admire their tenacious spirits and magnanimous hearts. The world is a better place because of them. I’m glad their lives were spared. And lastly, I stand against gendercide because it is an injustice to children, to women, and to the world. Martin Luther King made the following statement: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We don’t know what could have become of the girls who were thrown away, abandoned, or aborted. Only God knows what the outcome could have been. But we do know that our futures are a clean slate and a new opportunity to make a change and value human life!

A good friend of mine hosted a Valentine’s Day party at her home. Thirteen girls showed up and we spent the time playing games, eating (a favorite Chinese past time), and encouraging one another to be great women of great faith. Some of the women were in their mid thirties, some just entering college. We shared our battles, wounds, and heartbreaks that we have faced as women; yet, we found hope, strength, and the love of our Creator in each other to comfort our souls. We are beautifully and wonderfully made, with unique purpose and perfect design. Many girls walked away from that night with a new perspective on their lives and value as women. Some even began to take small steps to fulfilling dreams and goals in their hearts within that same week! This is only a small scale example of what it looks like when women’s hearts are restored to the truth about their beauty and when we unabashedly proclaim to the world our undeniable God-given rights and indescribable worth. We must stand in unity for future women that have yet to be able to speak for themselves. They can make a difference in you. In me. In the world.




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