Based on World Watch List 2022 data, the report "A Generation at Risk" demonstrates that targeted persecution of children and youth compromises both their short-term formative experiences and the long-term trajectory of life choices.
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Isolating, harsh and identity-shaping. A Generation at Risk: Children & Youth Report 2022released on 15 September 2022 by World Watch Research finds Christian children’s futures are shaped by the religious persecution they experience. Based on findings from analyzing religious persecution dynamics in 76 World Watch List countries where high, very high or extreme levels of persecution are recorded, A Generation at Risk demonstrates that targeted persecution of children and youth compromises both their short-term formative experiences and the long-term trajectory of life choices.
Women’s Persecution Specialist Elizabeth Lane Miller observes: “Persecutors can deter Christian children and youth from certain future pathways at formative stages of life. This can be done by restricting access to education, Christian materials and Christian parents.” A Generation at Risk reports that: “Children are often confused and traumatized because the values taught at home are different to the ones taught in schools … they are taught by society that it’s illegal or morally wrong to be Christians.”
The report also finds that forms of persecution and tactics used by persecutors against children and youth can be gender-based, exploring the use of ideologically motivated sexual grooming targeting Christian girls. “Grooming of marginalized Christian girls often leads to sexual violence, forced (child) marriage, and occasionally deliberate impregnation. The impact of sexual grooming in these scenarios is that girls are directed onto a pathway that leads to a confluence of physical, emotional and spiritual abuse resulting in endemic penury and social exclusion.”
Specific Religious Persecution analyst Rachel Morley adds that “church leaders and parents can rebuild and strengthen a sense of attachment and belonging”, pointing to the report’s finding that this can be done by prioritizing “the meaningful participation of children and youth in their faith communities, listening to what they have to say, and equipping all generations to communicate effectively and bridge divides.”
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