"I choose to go to SHELTER", Rina* had to utter these very difficult words (quoted non-verbatim) to her own mother as she faced her along with welfare officer, SCAN team, doctor and us in the hospital. Her mother urged her to go back with her to another state but Rina had lost all faith in her.
5 years ago, that is where her nightmare started. At the tender age of 12 and being the oldest among her siblings, her own father started doing really horrible things to her. It would be extremely hard for her to imagine her future, the place she calls home is now a place of danger and hurt. Her mother knew about it and even her sister saw the nightmare taking place but nothing happened after. Rina however, was courageous enough to tell others about it.
She shared to relevant authorities at school - however no substantial actions were taken. Rina did not give up. She went on to tell a person at the religious institution she goes to. That person did try to help but asked if she could help gather evidence before making a report. She tried but did not managed to do so. No one pursued the matter after that. She was already 15 by then.
It was only when she was 17 during the school break that she had to finish a school project, a new teacher was introduced into her school. The teacher was observant enough and asked her. For some reason, despite all the disappointments she had before in opening up, she found the courage to open up one more time. This time, it was different. This teacher made the difference - she took action swiftly.
A police report was made, the authorities stepped in and Rina's father was arrested. Rina was sent to the hospital. We were contacted to provide her shelter. Her mother quickly came to the hospital to see her and tried persuading her to follow her home to be with her uncle, to ask her to just leave this place and forget all the bad memories here. This is where Rina had to make the difficult decision, where she chose to be with us instead to be with her family.
We really wished she was rescued much earlier, we wished that she never had to endure feelings that are so confusing for her, where so many people around her seem to respond to her nightmare as though it is something tolerable and that nothing drastic should be done to help her. She is now safe with us. She looks a lot better now compared to when he first saw her. We are engaging a Therapist** to help work through her trauma. May we all hope that Rina will embark a road to healing and recovery. In all of her years of pain, Rina was a victim, and now, she is a fighter.
And that teacher, you're truly an unsung hero!
*Name has been changed to protect her identity
** If anyone would like to help defray the cost of the therapies, please contact us or Joseph at 7955 0663