Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Healing Environment

This morning in one of the local papers I read a headline ''Victims Live in Fear, While Abuser Lives Free.'' This article was referring to a well known foreign pedophile who was released without serving his full term and whose whereabouts while unknown at the moment, have created an ongoing fear in his victims as they are concerned that he is back in the same community where they live.  One victim mentioned that she gets headaches thinking about the freedom this man has received and another commented that when she heard about his release her heart dropped. This man had abused 15 underaged girls and as one mother of a victim said '' its not fair that he was in prison for only 4 years'.''

As I reflect on these comments, I can't help but think of the deep damage that sex trafficking does to the soul of these young women. They are imprisoned on so many levels---by their fears, by their pain and by the trauma they have experienced to name a few. One article I was reading this morning said: The basis of understanding the impact of trafficking on children is the recognition of the personhood of children, and the effect of trafficking on their sense of selfhood and on their own affirmative sexuality. Trafficking gives the child feelings of “dislocation, deprivation and the absence of nurturance and trust” that is normally provided by the family. The sexualization process that is a result of sexual exploitation has particular effects on the child, affecting her/his sense of selfhood, distorting her/his sense of affirmative sexuality, and giving the child a feeling of loss of control over her/his life. The trafficking situation also disturbs the child’s confidence in relationships and affiliations, bringing about a sense of alienation and suspicion of others. The natural life processes of child – the simple acts of sleeping, waking, eating and playing – are distorted in the brothel situation.

And so as we are in the process of setting up our community home and a healing environment for the young women who will be part of our program, there are so many factors to consider because restoring dignity, restoring value, restoring freedom, restoring identity, restoring hope and ultimately restoring life is complex. One of the key areas we are focusing on is case management.  Case management is an essential tool to address the individual needs of each girl, to provide efficiency and order in the caregiving process, to monitor the progress of the girl and to clarify and harmonize the roles of all persons involved in the girl's recovery. For each survivor enters the home with a unique history, individual problems and needs, and a unique potential for recovery and reintegration. After all, their pain is personal and not everyone in recovery will progress at the same rate. Recovery is not a race so each girl must be given the freedom to travel this pathway at her own speed. Our role is to facilitate their journey of healing, from a place of darkness to a place of light, from a place of hopeless, to a place of hope and from a place of brokenness, to a place of wholeness. Yet what encourages me despite the challenge is the reminder from Psalm 139:13-16 ---13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

God has created us all and knows exactly how we are shaped and formed. He knows the individual healing plan for each of these young women that will enter our home. He knows exactly the specific pain and the specific trauma and the specific fears that they deal with day in and day out and because He knows that, He knows exactly how to repair the broken gates and walls within their soul. He knows  how to restore and when to restore and what it will take to restore each of them because His desire, His plan is to see them fulfill their God given destiny. Christ our Great Physician, has a unique healing plan for each of these young women because He is the one that has uniquely created each of them.

 And so as you continue to pray for us, pray for the Lord to give us wisdom as we develop this case management process. We have been blessed with a wonderful consultant who is walking us through this journey and who will provide the necessary training that our staff will need and the unique opportunities tailored to the unique dreams and aspirations of each young women who resides in our home . Our desire is to ultimately equip these young women in such a way that they will discover His dream, His purposes and His plan for their lives so that they can achieve their God given potential and in so doing live a life that is truly meaningful and one that enables them to become a blessing to the communities that they will reside in.

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