Wednesday, 1 October 2014
After years of enduring sexual abuse from her father, Resha^ summoned the courage to speak out. She ran to the nearest police station and told them the abuse she’d been enduring. Social services assigned her to SIM’s Girls off the Streets project, the Redlight-Greenlight
aftercare home in Asia. Resha’s father was arrested.
During a family visit at social services, Resha’s mother and sisters pressured her to drop the court case. They yelled at her in front of government officials, “You are bringing shame on us! Because of you, your father is in jail. Now we don’t have any income. You are destroying our family!”
Their reaction is not unusual. Adam^, a member of the Redlight-Greenlight
project team said, “We have seen all kinds of families respond in a similar fashion: blame the child for the abuse, use every means possible to silence her, focus on the reputation of the family at the expense of caring for the victim. There are some families who show support for the girl…but [they] are the exception, not the norm.”
In the face of this family pressure, imagine how difficult it would be for a girl like Resha to stand her ground. Often, the girl gives in, recanting her story, telling social services it was all a lie.
Not this time. Resha knew she wasn’t alone. One of the carers from the Redlight-Greenlight
aftercare home was right by her side. Resha said, “I will tell the truth in the court.”
Lawyers from our partner agency helped her prepare to give testimony, and when her day in court came unexpectedly early, Resha gave clear testimony of the abuse she’d suffered, with her father, mother and relatives in the room.
As Resha was leaving the court house, her mother followed her. “I guess you think you did a good job today.” She threw ashes all over Resha to signify she was casting a curse on her daughter. “You are dead to me!” she screamed.
On the way to the court house that day, a social worker asked Resha what gods she follows since many Hindus are devoted one god or goddess.
“I follow Jesus,” Resha replied.
“Why is that?” the social worker asked.
“Because he is the only one who rose from the dead!”
So after the incident with her mother, with Resha’s permission, some of the staff at the aftercare home prayed for her, asking that God would give Resha “beauty for ashes” – that He would take her mother’s curse and instead give Resha blessing, hope and a future.
When Resha turned 18, she was permitted to transfer from our aftercare home for minors, to our partner project for adult women, the Beauty for Ashes
Restoration home. She is currently pursuing her studies, and wants to help other women and girls in the future.
You can help vulnerable girls like Resha who have been victims of abuse and sex slavery in Asia by making a tax deductible gift to SIM’s Redlight-Greenlight
project (98652). It costs up to $80 per month to cover legal fees for one girl or woman who has been a victim of trafficking or abuse.
Since 2012, SIM and our project partners have helped to facilitate compensation for five rescued girls, (including three who were transferred from Redlight-Greenlight
aftercare home to Beauty for Ashes
Restoration home). Obtaining justice for victims of trafficking helps to challenge cultural acceptance of trafficking and encourages government and law enforcement to continue the fight against child sex trafficking.
^names have been changed to protect identity
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