Iran (MNN) — Honor killings and abuse have become increasingly common in Iran; approximately 70-percent of women experience rape or sexual trauma. Earlier this month, a man set his wife on fire after learning she was pregnant with their sixth daughter.
“We’ve [heard about] men who sold their wives to other men for money. We’ve [talked to] young girls raped by their own fathers, by their brothers,” says Nazanin Baghestani, who oversees the follow-up component of Heart4Iran’s trauma counseling program.
“Muslim men treat women as an object; they don’t care about their lives.”
Heart4Iran operates a call center alongside its satellite TV broadcast, Mohabat TV. Trauma counselors speak to approximately 1,000 callers each month, offering compassion and hope.
“It takes time, but I would say 95-percent [of the callers] open up to us and tell all their secrets. That’s the first step of healing because they acknowledge what they have gone through,” Baghestani says.
“In severe cases, we try to connect [callers] to a home leader inside the country that will get them connected to actual help.”
Healing and hope
Along with listening, trauma counselors help each caller work through grim questions.
“What do I do? I cannot divorce’,” Baghestani says, describing one of the questions callers and counselors discuss.
“I cannot leave this house because that’s my source of income. If I go, where do I go? My reputation is going to be ruined. Nobody’s going to marry me again, and I will end up on the streets.”
Most importantly, the counselors point callers to Jesus, the Great Physician.
“They hear the Gospel, and they cannot resist. I haven’t known anyone who will not give their heart to Jesus,” Baghestani says.
“We’ve had women (callers) who’ve been raped, and once they encountered Jesus, that [trauma was] completely healed.”
Pray for Heart4Iran’s trauma counselors; secondary trauma is a genuine threat. Pray callers who place their faith in Christ find healing and forgiveness, as well as a new purpose.
Help keep the call center open by donating to Heart4Iran. Your gift provides light and hope in a dark society.
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Fakurian Design/Unsplash.