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'Silence is violence'

A Christian Science perspective.

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"Silence is violence" is the title of a new United Nations report on violence against girls and women in Afghanistan. It describes violence against women in public life as so intimidating that some female members of Parliament say they will not be running for reelection because of death threats and lack of security. Among other things, it also speaks of incidents at girls' schools that include gas and acid attacks.

Commenting on the report to The Christian Science Monitor, Dr. Sima Samar, who chairs the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, said the argument that it's important "to have security rather than human rights ... is absolutely the wrong concept, since you need human rights for sustainable peace" ("New UN report takes firm stand on women's rights in Afghanistan," July 8).

Human rights are essential to peace because without them we can't fully know ourselves. The Bible says, "God created man in his own image ... male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). To deny value to women is to deny value to one's own spiritual completeness, which includes both the male and female nature of God. Each of us has the capacity to express tenderness, gentleness, love, beauty – qualities often identified with women – while also including strength, persistence, and courage.

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