by Suzanne Green, India
Effervescent, 18-year-old Pooja loves to dance and lights up the room with her smile. But, her laughter hides a heartrending story of abuse by those who should have protected her.
Pooja was a happy, carefree little girl until the day her father started to see her differently, and subjected her to treatment she did not at first understand. She had no knowledge of what was happening to her, rape and sexual abuse. Pooja told her mother, who turned a blind eye to the situation. And no relatives came to her aid.
As time went on, things got worse: her father and mother began acting as her pimps. Soon other men, not just her father, regularly used her for sex. She was taken to live with her father in Delhi on the pretext of being sent to school. There besides sexual abuse, she endured her alcoholic father’s verbal, emotional and physical abuse. Unable to bear the torture, Pooja ran away from home.
A man promised to help her, but later he abused her too and Pooja ran away again. Then a woman came to her aid. She put Pooja in touch with a rescue organization and the police. The young girl bravely testified in court, and her father was imprisoned. Pooja went to live in a shelter home for a year, where she received counseling, resumed her studies and started on a journey of healing. She learned to tell her story without shame and with great courage, even though her family blamed her.
Today Pooja is considering whether she wants to become a policewoman or a teacher. She has started the process of forgiving those who have hurt her. If she ever sees her father again, she would like to ask him, “Why did you do what you did to me – your own flesh and blood, your daughter?”
To learn more about this ministry of SIM that helped rescue Pooja and how you could be a part of the fight against Human Trafficking, contact us today.