A gang rape on a New Delhi bus that ended up killing a 23-year-old woman last year became a devastating wakeup call to India and the rest of the world. Amid an epidemic of sexual exploitation and violence, this especially tragic case got the international attention it deserved: news coverage, protests, and even a reconsideration of India's laws.

Then, just days ago, the first perpetrator in the case--a teenager--received a slap-on-the-hand sentence. (The verdict for the rest of the attackers is expected next week.) We're once again struck by that sick feeling that cases like these won't go away and that we're not doing enough to fight rape culture.

Because of my own experience with sexual abuse and the constant e-mails I get from others who have been abused, I know sexual exploitation is pervasive and has global implications. Case after case, I still can't stop asking myself, Why does this happen? What makes a person sexually dominate another? And what can be done about it?

Thankfully, we're talking about these questions more, even though the answers remain as elusive as ever. Indian journalist Dilip D'Souza says this his country's culture of rape:

The real problem is simultaneously wider, deeper, and infinitely more intractable than the police can ever hope to address, even if they were so inclined.

Intractable, because the real problem is us. My fellow Indians and I and our attitudes toward the people who surround us. It's the way we consider our fellow citizens.

Sexual abuse gets rooted in power and selfishness. The thinking goes, "I want what I want when I want it." In such an entirely selfish perspective, there is no consideration of ruining another person's life, of infecting, injuring, or torturing them, because there is no consideration of another person at all. The perpetrator switches to thinking of their victim as no longer human. It's alarming how easily people can flip that switch.

I recently heard the story of Daniel Kahneman recounting his time in France as a little boy during World War II. He was Jewish, and found himself out after curfew. Terrified, he turned his sweater inside out so that no one would see his Star of David. An SS officer approached him, then picked him up. Daniel was terrified the man would be able, from that vantage point, see inside his sweater. Instead, the officer set him down, pulled out a picture of his own son, and gave Daniel money. And yet this same officer, in a different context, may have killed children and sent many to their deaths. The difference? In one episode, he saw Daniel as a human being, someone similar to his own son. In the other, Daniel and his people were subhuman, destined for torture and death.

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I wrote a public letter of forgiveness to the boys who abused me, praying that it will prove to help predators see how very human their victims were, that they'd see that what they did was de-humanizing and wrong, but that they are never far from God's forgiveness.

As Christ followers, we are well aware of the depravity of man, left to his own devices. We do not dismiss sin and cannot remove it from the sexual abuse equation, but we also can't force people to cease from the greed, selfishness, and dehumanization that fuels a culture of sexual exploitation.

We must pray and ask God to intervene. Countless scriptures remind us that God is on the side of the poor and exploited, and that those who hurt children will receive a millstone of judgment. While we can take comfort knowing all their wrongs will be judged in the hereafter, we must not let that keep us from working towards safety, respect, and justice on earth.

The joyful news is that many Christians are already fighting this evil around the world. Groups such as Compassion International and Gospel for Asia proactively protect children from exploitation. Compassion's video on child abuse says, "When someone in my neighborhood wants to hurt me, wants to see me as an object instead of as a child of God, Compassion stands in the way and says no."

The A21 Campaign, Wellspring Living, and others help survivors of abuse and exploitation, including former sex workers. People are using the Pricelesscube to inform families about trafficking, and it's working. Simple education, letting parents know about what happens after a businessman "hires" a child is already making huge impact.

GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) shines a light on sexual abuse within churches and ministries. They recently created a petition about how the church has handled abuse, daring to bring to light the sometimes-poor way the church has responded to sexual abuse.

Amid these organizational efforts, we may think our own voices and help are unnecessary, but life change comes in the nitty gritty of relationships, in one on one interactions. There are "small" you-shaped ways to get involved—ways that might just change the world.

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Recently, CT highlighted the grassroots effort of Anne Jones to raise awareness of the rape epidemic in her corner of India. I'm inspired by people I know like her, who have taken the initiative to get involved. One friend volunteers at a safe house in Romania, ministering to women who have been sex trafficked. Another spearheaded a grassroots ministry with her church to help sex trafficked victims in their community. It doesn't have to be big to have a big impact. For example, Amy Smith grew tired of all the hush-hush about sexual abuse perpetrators and started a Facebook page that simply highlights convictions and trials of sexual abusers.

If you're a victim of sexual abuse, simply telling your story in the light of day helps dispel the darkness. It gives others permission to come out into the light and find healing. After the high response to a post I wrote here on Her.meneutics, "I'm Sick of Hearing about Your Smoking Hot Wife," I decided to write a book about my own healing journey from sexual abuse. My hope is to provide this book to ministries that help men and women heal in the aftermath of sexual exploitation.

Sexual abuse is one of Satan's most conniving tools. It's the epitome of stealing, killing, and destroying a human being. There have been times in my own journey of healing where I never, ever thought I'd feel free from its clutches. Paul reminds us that the battle isn't against people, though; it's against those dark forces at work. "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12, NLT).

Let's continue to pray. Let's continue to act in small ways and in large for the sake of humanity and God's renown. Let's choose not to be overwhelmed by the herculean task. In the words of the late Keith Green, we can "just keep doing our best, pray that it's blessed, and he'll take care of the rest."

Mary DeMuth is the author of over a dozen books including Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse. She speaks around the nation and the world about living an uncaged life. Her greatest accomplishment? A dear, dear family in Texas—a husband of 22 years and three nearly-grown children. In her spare time she gardens, runs, leads a high school girls' group, and cooks-cooks-cooks for family and friends.