“A bruised reed He will not break,” God promised in Isaiah 42:3. Certainly it is a wondrous thing to see the life of a wounded person (particularly a vulnerable woman or child) spring back into wholeness and vitality, and we’ve witnessed many such miracles this past year. But the road to restoration is neither quick nor easy, because each victim we see harbors a deeply bruised soul and spirit as a result of brutal sexual assaults they’ve endured in the past.
We see the hopelessness in their faces—their families, husbands or communities have come to see these victims as “tainted goods,” virtually worthless to families or society. Many carry the added burden of humiliation from being used as “weapons of war” in conflict-torn areas, some of whom have been held by militias for weeks, months or even years as sex slaves, compounding their trauma. For others, HIV/AIDS is often deliberately “imparted” to them by enemy troops. Thus, many only know of men as destroyers of bodies, hearts and futures.
Healing these “bruised reeds” and rebuilding their trust in others, including the Lord, is a slow, painful process. Most of the women who come to our Women of Wellness Center in Goma, DR Congo, or the children who are received by Cindi’s Hope academies in Kenya—two of our incredible partners—are shut down and withdrawn. But the application of consistent, Jesus-like love by their compassionate workers nurses the wounds of these ravaged individuals.
One particular three-year-old, who was brought to Cindi’s Hope in Nairobi, had been removed from her home in the slums by the government because she had suffered repeated sexual violations from her uncle. She was so frightened and in such physical pain that she could not walk. After months of tender care, and being constantly told of her value as a beautiful child of a loving God, she has rebounded and is beginning to blossom into the healthy, confident daughter He created her to be. She now smiles instead of cowering, and even lets those men who are gentle come near her.
I am so grateful for those who have contributed to this miraculous process of rebuilding lives—a transformation only God can accomplish—using the Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry (that’s you and me) as His humble hands and feet.