Justice is Healing for Survivors of Child Exploitation and Abuse
Proverbs 21:15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.
Lovely’s path to justice began before she was introduced to the Consider the Lily family of qualified social workers, experienced staff, and understanding “sister” survivors. When she first met with a judge, she had only begun to process her heart-wrenching abuse and trauma. Sadly, it showed in her face and in the way she held herself in court.
However, by the time Lovely returned to court she showed a visible change. Lovely came prepared, supported, and knowing that she deserved justice. With her social worker at her side, this appearance felt very different from the first.
The judge noted the change in her demeanor. After the proceedings, the judge addressed Lovely, saying, “I did not recognize you when you came into the courtroom today. You look like a completely different person. Consider the Lily is doing a wonderful job!”
Lovely gained a whole new direction when she entered the Christ-centered CtL home. Today, she is committed to completing her studies, helping her family, and eventually building her own career as a chef. She found a way off of the path of lifelong repercussions suffered by so many victims of child sexual abuse. Justice combined with safety, healthcare, counseling, and spiritual development is the plan that successfully repairs this kind of deep and complex hurt.
Justice is important for a number of reasons. First, as part of her mental and emotional health, a girl deserves to know that what happened to her was wrong. She needs to know that she was not at fault and that the law supports her. Second, convictions send a strong signal to the community that sexual abusers and exploiters are criminals that will be prosecuted. When the community knows that acts of abuse, exploitation, and trafficking will be punished, criminals will be deterred from further crimes to children. We hope that convictions will inform the community that survivors will have a voice and find justice.
Justice is worth pursuing but it takes time. Healing can’t wait until the perpetrator is convicted. Approaching recovery before justice can play out is the reality for the majority of these girls. For that reason, we begin by teaching them to know Jesus. His healing and justice is available as soon as it is accepted.
The judge’s acknowledgement of Lovely’s transformation confirms for us that CtL’s advocacy in the pursuit of justice is making powerful changes in the lives of survivors. We find comfort and hope in the words of Luke 18:7,
“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”
He will not! Jesus taught in Matthew 6: 30 that “if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today…how much more will he clothe you…?” We know that Jesus loves these girls; He makes it possible for CtL to help them get the justice they deserve.