Original article Cradle My Heart Radio, Finding God’s Love After Abortion, Kim Ketola
In October 2016 the Nigerian Islamist radical sect Boko Haram released 21 Christian schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok in 2014. In all 276 girls were kidnapped and the majority are still missing. Their tragedy is unfolding on a backdrop of hundreds more women kidnapped, tortured and worse, thousands of casualties and hundreds of thousands displaced by Boko Haram’s reign of terror. The kidnapped girls are brainwashed and forced to convert to Islam. Deradicalization is ongoing after release. And though their story gained the spotlight through the #bringbackourgirls campaign, the plight of the returning girls remains largely hidden.
The rejoicing quickly turned to sorrow for these girls. Many cannot return home to resume their former lives, their honor besmirched through rape and forced marriage. Suspicion and fear surrounds them in their community. A report from Christianity Today notes:
“[M]ost of the Chibok girls were reportedly forcibly converted to Islam. It is feared that many have been sexually abused and forced into marriage by their captors. A report by Nigeria’s Political Violence Research Network detailed this kind of treatment of minority Christians in northern Nigeria going back to 1999. It revealed how tremendously effective and efficient it is to focus attacks on women and girls because the effects are devastating to the community. Entire families and Christian communities are thus “dishonored,” regularly leading husbands to reject wives who are victims of rape and causing embarrassment and shame for their children. Many become outcasts in their communities, stigmatized due to their perceived association with Boko Haram, reported humanitarian news agency IRIN. Others—pregnant after rape by their captors—have been “shamed and are now accused of spawning or seeking to spawn future Boko Haram fighters,” stated IRIN.
Daniel Becker of Personhood Alliance is working with Dr. Ekene Osakwe, PhD, Immunology, Humphrey – Fulbright Fellow, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University to create a home that will welcome and help these girls to finally heal.
Becker says, “Because of our unique focus on the “personhood of ALL innocent human life,” [Dr. Osakwe] has asked to partner with Personhood Alliance to establish a ministry to the “Boko Haram Girls” who have been kidnapped and sexually enslaved by the extremist Muslim group operating in northern Nigeria. These girls range in age from 11 to 16. Once they become pregnant by their captors many are abandoned or escape. Because of the shame of their captivity their parents refuse to allow them to return home. Their children are rejected based solely on their manner of conception . . . It is a privilege to be asked to be the basis for a new ministry by this outstanding Fulbright scholar. Our goal is to convince the culture (and most specifically the Church) that these young women and their “demon spawn” children are to be accepted as “created in the image of God” and to place these young women in families.”