Defending the oppressed, the abused, the violated...

Reaching out to be rescued

Defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.” Psalm 10:18

Abandoned by a father she never knew, Maria (*not her real name) grew up in a house of chaos and poverty in Guatemala. By the time she was seven, many men had passed through the house. One came bearing gifts of food and asked to have a “walk” with her. Her mother gave Maria a strong tasting drink before she left and when she woke up she had been raped.

Thus, at seven years of age, she began five years of prostitution for bags of food. Her abuser was a serial paedophile whose actions were reported when he tried to molest a child from another family.

Of course, nothing happened to him, but Maria was “rescued” and sent to a huge facility housing some 900 children. There she was abused further. She learned to dull her pain with a concoction of cleaning chemicals. She also started cutting herself.

Her story would be full of despair if God was not the God of compassion and justice. Maria told us, “I never went to church but I knew there was a God and I begged him to get me out of that place.”

God heard Maria and touched the heart of someone in that institution. She knew of the Kids Alive ministry at the Oasis and, by manipulating the system, arranged that Maria be sent there.

Maria arrived hardened, suspicious and deeply wounded. She spent her first weeks with clenched fists, ready to fight. Slowly she learned that danger was not lurking in the Oasis. For the first time she fully told her story.

From past experience we knew the police and prosecutors in Maria’s hometown would do little, so our social worker started our own investigation to corroborate what Maria said.

We learned things about her abuser that raised risk factors in the mind of Corbey, Kids Alive Field Director in Guatemala. He made a call to his friend who directs the International Justice Mission in Guatemala and told him “we have one on a silver platter: name, address, witnesses and testimony. Can you get this guy?” We were very grateful that IJM made an exception for Maria and their investigator made an arrest within a few days.

Maria has made lots of progress in recovery. She would seem very much like a normal 14 year old. Yet, she still has deep wounds and many issues to sort out. She faces a long process of giving testimony in the penal process.
But she has also said, “I am the happiest I have ever been.”

Part of our work is being God’s arm. Sometimes that is a loving arm around a girl so she knows she is protected. At other times it is a strong arm to make sure that “mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.

Oasis has 14 open criminal cases. Even though we are at capacity, we are actively trying to rescue the sisters of one of our latest arrivals - who, at eight years old, arrived scared, numb and with STDs. We will find a way for her sisters to be in Oasis....

Posted on August 29th 2013

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