India (Open Doors) — Fifteen-year-old *Roshni of India is still struggling with the trauma of her past.
Two years ago, she was raped as a punishment for passionately sharing her Christian faith. She and her parents filed a case against the assaulter, but they were denied justice as he was set free after serving only two years of imprisonment.
The news of his release petrified Roshni–so much so, that she stopped eating. As a result, she fainted due to weakness and was admitted to the hospital to recover.
Roshni is just one of the hundreds of Christian girls and women in India who are physically or sexually assaulted because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of them fear disgrace and do not file official complaints. If they do report the abuse, they are called into court to remember and testify in public about their horrific experiences. They are usually denied justice because the judicial system is never in favor of Christians.
“The culprit managed to bribe the lawyers and make connections with the local politicians. He was set free,” says Roshni’s father.
Roshni comes from a very poor family. They struggle to meet even their basic needs.
Roshni and her family–her parents, three brothers, and two sisters–moved to the city five years ago from their native village in hope of earning a better living. Her parents came to faith during a Christmas worship service where they saw people being healed in Jesus’ name. Slowly but surely, the entire family, including Roshni, gave their lives to Jesus.
In the excitement of her new faith, Roshni began sharing about Christ. “I used to share my faith with my neighbors. They ridiculed me for it,” she recalls.
After a brief pause, she resumes: “The ladies in my neighborhood often made fun of me, but one day they seemed very interested about my faith. They called me to a home to share about Jesus and served me juice, which I drank, not knowing that they planned to drug me and have me raped afterwards. After the drink, I lost consciousness.
“When I came back to my senses, I realized I had been raped. Since I feared public disgrace, I ran to my home silently and told my parents everything. A police complaint was made, and the case lingered for two years. My attacker was jailed during that period of time but was proven innocent and released.”
“She tried committing suicide after the incident. By God’s grace we were able to bring her to the hospital in time and her life was saved,” recalls her father with tears rolling down his face.
Due to financial constraints, Roshni was able only able to study through the 4th grade; however, she manages to read the Bible slowly.
Roshni still struggles with depression and is trying to overcome her fears and feelings of insecurity. When a partner of Open Doors went to visit Roshni in the hospital, she still looked sad and pale. For a long time she just stared outside the window.
During the conversation, she told the Open Doors representative that she liked to sing worship songs. She was then gently persuaded to sing one worship song. She sang in an exceptionally sweet voice. The lyrics were very clear: “When I sing, Lord, let Your spirit fill my soul and let Your name only be glorified. Let it be that I keep singing and You keep listening to my song of praise.”
Her expression changed as she sang. She looked a lot stronger and her eyes beamed with courage and hope.
*Name changed for security reasons