Monday, 6 June 2016
As hard as they tried, twelve-year-old *Nisha could not be coaxed to speak.
Instead, the room was filled with stony silence. Even when the police asked her a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, she could not bring herself to answer with a nod or shake of her head.
What would cause a twelve-year-old girl to retreat so far into her shell? Nisha had gone through the trauma of sexual assault and violence. She had experienced things no child should.
The Redlight-Greenlight Rehabilitation Home helps girls like Nisha who are survivors of sexual abuse of sex trafficking. From the very first day she arrived at the home, Nisha found herself in a safe and supportive environment. She was able to attend school in the mornings. The rest of her days were filled with group sessions, counselling and creative outlets such as dance. Her favourite part of the day was drifting off to sleep to the sound of a carer reading a bedtime story.
Many months later, it became time for Nisha to testify in court against the man who had raped her. Incredibly, the little girl who wouldn’t whisper a word at her arrival to the home was able to give a clear and confident statement before the judge!
After the trial, Nisha was able to return home to her family. One of the Redlight-Greenlight carers overheard her speaking to her mother on the telephone after the court case. She said, “Mama, why are you crying? What happened is already in the past. I know I have a new future!”
The dark world of sex trafficking has a strong foothold in South Asia. Every year, over 225,000 girls and women are trafficked in the region. The numbers are overwhelming – how can you mentally process the collective pain and hopelessness of so many individuals?
Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
You can’t do everything, but you can do something meaningful for the one. You can make a difference in the life of one girl. By reaching out to one girl, you can help her on a path to healing. And then together, one girl at a time, we can make a difference.
If you want to help restore hope to girls like Nisha, click here.
*Not real name. Changed to protect identity.
Photo: AdobeStock by NH7
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