Kumari was very quiet when she first came to the after-care home where I serve as a social worker to girls who've been rescued from trafficking situations.
She spoke very little Hindi and was withdrawn. She looked disconnected and lost most of the time. She hardly spoke to anyone. She had been exploited by several different people, one of whom was an important, powerful person.
She was always scared to go out in public and feared for her life. With constant support and care from our team, she gradually began to write her name and learn to read. She slowly opened up to share her story.
It was heartbreaking to hear how Kumari had endured so much pain in her childhood. She had witnessed the death of her father and other family members as a young child and had been deeply affected. As a result of all this trauma, her body and spirit seemed to be so broken that she had become very ill.
We gave Kumari the best medical care we could but she continued to be extremely ill. I was worried about her condition because she was not showing any progress. I felt a lot of her sickness could be trauma-related. All the major medical tests showed normal results, yet she was still not returning to health.
One night as I was going home with my husband, in the street I saw an advertisement with the name of Kumari’s exploiter front-and-centre in celebration. I realised with a stagger what Kumari was up against: She was fighting against a person who could easily destroy her. I just cried out in my heart for this young girl with a frail body and thought: "How could she even stand up against this giant?"
I told God how unfair it was for this girl to be in this place of suffering. How could she fight against such power? Will there be justice? What should I do? Being so sick, how will she testify in court? In response to all my questions, I heard a voice saying: “That’s why I sent her to your after-care home.”
Why was God saying this to me? I had no answer, but I knew that God saw her and had brought her to our after-care home. She is up against a giant. I had lost hope for a while but now I am not hopeless or scared for her anymore. God has helped his followers defeat giants before and he can do it again.
Kumari is broken, but she is standing against a powerful person with the God who is close to the broken-hearted. And she definitely has a future. In the meantime, she continues to fight this battle and my colleagues and I continue to learn how to hope with her.
For Deborah and her co-workers as they intervene on the behalf of and counsel young girls who have experienced giant injustices.
For Kumari to heal from her trauma and be able to stand against her abuser with a whole body and soul.