The papal charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has launched a report this week that looks into the kidnapping, forced conversion and sexual victimization of Christian women and girls.
The report titled “Hear Her Cries” is the first of its kind to focus on the phenomenon of young women who are kidnapped, because both their sex and religion makes them vulnerable to abduction and assault.
It provides country reports and case studies on the alarming trend in Egypt, Iraq, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.
The report noted that the number of incidents involving girls and women being taken from their families, raped and forced to change their faith has grown over the last few years. The trend, however, has earned very little media coverage.
Research for the report suggested that in the countries under examination, not only are women from minority faith groups particularly susceptible to attack, but often Christian women are targeted most by militants.
According to the Christian Association of Nigeria, Christians make up 95 percent of women and girls being held by Islamist extremists, and in Pakistan, the Movement for Solidarity and Peace suggests that Christians could comprise up 70 percent of minority faith girls and young women forcibly converted and married every year.
Hindu girls are also a major target of kidnappings in parts of Pakistan.
The launch of “Hear Her Cries” is part of Aid to the Church in Need’s #RedWednesday activities this week.