Serving the Enemy
How your love has given hope to sexually-abused former child soldiers
At age 14, Santa was abducted by Joseph Kony’s nefarious “Lord’s Liberation Army” in Uganda while riding a bus. Her introduction to these feared rogue soldiers was a bullet through her leg. She was simply going to her Auntie’s village to collect her school fees, but she never made it.
Santa and the other children on the bus were forced to spend the next 3 months on foot. From sunrise to sunset, the captives had to keep moving in their grueling march across Uganda with scarce amounts of food and water. They were told that if they dropped any part of the burden placed upon their backs they would be killed.
Boys became unwilling warriors and girls were forced to be sex slaves, sometimes to more than one soldier. Instead of practicing math facts, children became adept at survival. In addition to the bullet wound in her leg—which tormented her as she walked—Santa sustained many other injuries as well. Her arms and legs are riddled with scars, but worst of all, the memories burn like acid in her soul.
Santa was first given to a very old soldier, and then to a high commander, whose child she bore. Her baby was added to the heavy burden already on her back. It was impossible to carry everything…how could she keep going? “I cried, but I found that crying did not help me. I surrendered my life to God. ‘You knew me before you put me in my mother’s womb. I want You to protect me.'” Her newfound Savior kept her alive amidst danger on every side.
“Free” now for 15 years, Santa’s life is filled with challenges. When she returned home, her mother was very grateful to see her again. But a month later her polygamist father spoke these heartbreaking words, “I don’t want you here, you are no longer my daughter.” She left and has been struggling to survive ever since.
The social stigmas thrust upon “returnees” have become prison bars of shame, preventing them from any return to normalcy. To find work and training is almost impossible for these women, but through our Ugandan partner, War Victims and Children Networking, the Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry hopes to witness the removal of this archaic cultural mindset, one prison bar at a time. This change can only happen because of your love for Santa and the others who have suffered so much.
Thank you for making a life-changing difference in the lives of these women!
Together for the “least of these,”
Director, Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry