Judith’s StoryOthers, Justice
Contributed by: Canadian Baptist Ministries
“I am passionate about social justice,” shares Judith. “Sexual violence remains a problem. In the war it became a weapon of humiliation, and still today there are gangs and militia that use it.”
Judith is a member of the women’s department of the Baptist Community in Central Africa (CBCA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
She has worked in the areas of health, relief, and community development serving street children and people displaced and wounded by the ravages of war and sexual violence. Currently, she is serving 612 women and children in the rape survivors’ ministry that offers trauma counseling, medical support and other practical care. One of the critical ways CBM helps to strengthen our global partners is by assisting them with the funds needed to train and employ effective staff like Judith. This enables our partners to most effectively identify and address the needs within their own communities.
Few families in Kivu have escaped the effects of rape and war. By addressing the issue and entering into relationship with individual survivors, the Church is seeing sexual violence through the perspective of individual stories. As the issue of sexual violence becomes both a corporate and a personal concern, people are witnessing the power of God to transform the devastation of rape into hope and new life. Other practical support includes helping survivors with socio/economic integration, such as the start-up income-generating activities.
Says Judith, “Rape has a lot of stigma in our communities. Families can blame the victims and even turn away from them and reject their children. The survivors feel shame, they feel hurt, and hopeless. They need someone to listen with them. Cry with them. Pray with them. We help each person with healing. When a woman is healing and there is no more stigma, she is able to return to the fields and to the market. She is able to walk with other women and break the silence. Break the shame. She has the strength to talk about it. She no longer hides. She is alive again!”
Written by by Aaron and Erica Kenny
Photo by Matthew Ansley on Unsplash