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Combating Gender-Based Violence

WARNING: SENSITIVE INFORMATION REGARDING SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

Dear friend,

Twelve-year-old Patience* was walking home from a dance when she heard him. He walked up behind her and told her not to make any noise if she wanted to live. Then he dragged her into the bush.

When he left her, he told her that he would kill her if she told anyone what he had done. Alone and afraid, Patience returned home but isolated herself from her family. She became weaker and weaker, and her mother knew something was wrong.

“When Patience was raped, she became seriously ill,” her mother said. “But I did not know that Patience was raped as the child refused to tell me because the perpetrator said she would die [if she told].” Her mother eventually took her to the local church for prayers, and there, Patience told the pastor what had happened to her. The pastor told her mother, and her mother told her uncle. He reported the case to the local police. They began investigating, but no one had the money to get medical care for Patience. Without intervention, Patience would die before the police found the man who had raped her.

When the police were told about Patience’s case, they immediately contacted Samaritan’s Purse, as we often seek to help those who survive rape, domestic violence, or abandonment, in some nations.

We went to Patience’s village and took her to a local hospital, but her condition worsened. She was referred to another hospital in the area and received a blood transfusion, but her health still declined. Samaritan’s Purse then paid to have her flown to a hospital in Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia. She visited three hospitals and received six blood transfusions in Monrovia before she began to improve.

When Patience was ready to be discharged from the hospital, she faced a dilemma. She couldn’t return home. Her perpetrator was still free, and she needed to continue her recovery. Samaritan’s Purse transferred her to
Ma B’s safe home.

Since arriving at the home, Patience has made a full recovery and is now attending school. Ma B teaches her and the other young women in the home Bible verses and stories. Although her mother has only been able to visit every few months, she’s glad that Patience is doing much better and that she has more opportunities for school than she would at home.

“I’m very happy and grateful,” her mother said. “They have been praying and using the Word of God for encouragement.”

Ma B first opened her safe home because she saw a need for it in her area. When women experienced gender-based violence, they had nowhere to go for safety or care. She knew that the justice system often worked slowly and that women who had been victimised weren’t safe staying at home while their perpetrators were still at large.

“If someone is beaten by her husband and then we say, ‘Go back and wait for me tomorrow,” anything can happen,” Ma B said.

In the past year, Ma B has worked with 17 women who have been raped, 10 who have experienced domestic violence, and 20 who have been abandoned. She’s helped girls as young as seven and women in their late 40s. She is a trained psychosocial counsellor and a Christian. As she helps the women process what has happened to them, she also ministers to and encourages them through Bible stories.

“In the safe home, we read them the Word of God,” Ma B said. “We tell them Bible stories about women like Ruth and Esther. They were marginalised, but then they were blessed. It helps to build them up.” Samaritan’s Purse not only brings women to the safe home; we also continue to support them through supplying items such as food and medicine. Ma B hopes that as the culture in Liberia changes, she will see less women in her safe home. But in the meantime, she’s glad to help them heal and to look towards their Saviour.

One in three women has experienced gender-based violence globally^; Patience’s story is just one. Samaritan’s Purse is currently working on programs to combat this issue not only in Liberia but in Haiti, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Will you partner with us today to help support victims and educate communities about gender-based violence, with the aim of protecting women and children globally from ever experiencing any form of violence?

 

 

God bless you,

Jorge Rodrigues
Executive Director
Samaritan’s Purse Australia/New Zealand