Child sexual abuse widespread in Guatemala

By October 22, 2013

Guatemala (MNN) — Every day in Guatemala, girls 14 years old and younger are having babies. Some are willing. Others are abused. In just about every case, they're not ready to be mothers.

Kids Alive International has a bright and hopeful future in mind for these girls, and a program is in place to address this issue.

Corbey Dukes of Kids Alive explains, "The Oasis program focuses on redeeming the lives of girls who have suffered sexual abuse or sexual exploitation."

Kids Alive is currently serving 68 girls from ages 6-21. They are victims of child labor, sexual exploitation, physical abuse, and more. As the Oasis campus provides a safe haven for these hurt and abused girls, Dukes says, "We just focus on bringing them the Gospel and Christ's love and let Him resurrect their lives."

The girls at Oasis live in family units with Guatemalan house-parents. They attend school (many for the first time) have access to trauma-focused therapy to help heal emotional scars. They also receive legal support and protection. Central to their home at Oasis is the knowledge that they are loved and protected. Most important, they are introduced to the transforming love of Jesus–the source of the true healing they need and seek. 

Kids Alive International is opening another home focusing on girls who have become pregnant as a result of rape and/or abuse. The goal, Dukes says, is to work with the child moms so they can keep their babies. Kids Alive is hoping to be able to care for 16 girls and their babies.

Rape and abuse is common in Guatemala. Many homes are torn apart because families are so desperate for money. Some families allow sexual predators into their homes to take advantage of their daughters. As poverty strikes many families, spiritual darkness is present as well.

That's the ultimate reason for the Kids Alive International Oasis program. As these abused teens come to their program, the Gospel gives them hope, comfort, and love that can only be found in Christ alone.

What can you do to help this ministry? Dukes says the best thing is "to get behind us in prayer, get behind us in financial support."

What do these young women receive when they join the Kids Alive safe homes? "The biggest thing is protection. The girls come from environments with deep, deep spiritual darkness. Satan does not want them to be redeemed. So [pray for] protection: spiritual protection for the staff and physical protection."

As this ministry continues to touch the lives of girls who have come from the deepest part of devastation and hurt, pray that the Lord will be a shining light through the staff at these homes. Pray that the girls will find and know the love of Christ. To support this ministry, click here.

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