The persecution of Christian women and girls around the world is hidden, complex and violent. They are vulnerable for both their gender and their faith.
Leading up to International Women’s Day on 8 March, we’ll be sharing some stories of those who’ve been persecuted simply because they are Christian women. The aim of Open Doors’ See. Change. campaign is that every woman who is persecuted for both her faith and gender is seen, heard and empowered to reach her God-given potential.
Where: South Asia
Lucina’s story: Drugged, forcibly married, abused
Please note, you may find Lucina’s story particularly distressing.
At the start of 2020, Lucina (name changed) was studying to be a doctor. But that all changed when she was drugged, abducted, forcibly married and repeatedly raped and abused. Why was she targeted? Because her father, Boutros (name changed) is a minister and an evangelist.
“Local religious leaders tried many times to make me return to my birth religion,” says Boutros. “They attacked me, threatened to kill me. I endured everything. But then they took revenge on me by raping my daughter! What can I do? I can do nothing.”
Tricked and kidnapped
Lucina was tricked by a young woman who claimed to want to study alongside her. She was drugged and, when she woke, found herself locked in an unfamiliar bedroom and supposedly ‘married’ to a man called Yutas (name changed). Lucina was treated as a slave and repeatedly raped. Once, she escaped, but her persecutors caught her – and treated her even worse.
“We did not imagine that such a tragedy was happening to her,” Lucina’s brother said. After a couple of days of searching, the entire country went under lockdown for Covid-19.” The search for Lucina had been hard; now it was impossible.
Rescued, but still tormented
Months later Lucina was left on her own for long enough to make a call to her sister. Her family contacted the police, and Lucina was finally found. “She was almost dead. Even we could not recognise her at first glance,” says her brother.
Lucina’s ordeal is not truly over – she discovered she was pregnant and her family continue to be harassed and attacked. Open Doors partners in the region are helping Lucina with medical costs, and provided goats so the family can earn some income, but they have a long path to healing.
“My hope is destroyed,” Lucina says. “I feel hopeless, frustrated, depressed. Pray for me. I need protection and I am trying to forget everything. I am praying to God so that He will make a way for me.”
Yutas was arrested, but unbelievably his community approved of his actions. The local religion teaches that persecuting Christians, even raping or killing them, is virtuous and should even be considered a religious duty.
Women and girls are the most vulnerable – targeted because their suffering is believed to ‘teach a lesson’ to their families. Please pray that justice is done in the court case, and that women like Lucina are protected and empowered.