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When injustice seems to prevail


Tim and Jennifer Goshorn serve in Huancayo, Peru with The Mission Society. They minister in the local women’s prison, lead discipleship groups, serve in an orphanage, and coordinate a feeding program and Bible study for children.

The Goshorns are well acquainted with the horrors that many of the children they minister to experience at home. Here, Jennifer describes the painful reality of sexual violence for many women in Peru.

Recently, the children who attend our kids’ club and feeding program came over and we served them a meal. After praying, the kids started to eat and I walked around, greeting everyone. Adalina* is one of 10 children in her family. She and her siblings come to kids’ club each week. Their father is an alcoholic and uses what money the family makes to buy liquor. Their mother cannot afford to feed 10 children on her own, so they often go without. The family sleeps on the dirt floor of their small house.

This particular day, I saw a small bundle wrapped up in a pink blanket in Adalina’s lap. “Your sister?” I asked.

Adalina looked at the ground and answered, “No, she is my baby.” My heart sank for this sweet 14-year-old girl.

Adalina had been raped by her uncle. The baby was born at 25 weeks and, at three months old, is just six pounds. This happened while we were in the US on furlough, so we had not seen Adalina for several months.

Adalina was very attentive to her child and I was encouraged to see her siblings help her as well.

For many women in Latin America, sexual violence like what happened to Adalina is an everyday part of life. Peru has more reported cases of rape and sexual violence than any other South American country, with eight-out-of-ten victims being minors. Law enforcement believes only 25% of rapes are actually reported.

Until 1999, if the rapist offered to marry his victim and she accepted, he was exonerated. The law has since been repealed in Peru, however, many families still pressure the victim into the marriage to restore family honor. Many Peruvians believe marriage is the right and proper thing to do after rape. The culture considers a raped woman as used, and marriage to her perpetrator is sometimes her only way of securing a husband.

How does a person minister in places where such evil practices are ingrained into the culture? For many cross-cultural workers, the answer lies in doing what you can and not becoming overwhelmed by the societal injustice that we cannot change. We can be the hands and feet of Jesus for Adalina. We can love her, tell her about Jesus Who loves her, and pray for Him to heal the broken places of her heart. Even in the darkest places, where evil seems to be pervasive, God is at work.

*Pseudonym used to protect the identity of the young woman.