True Justice as Reconciliation: Naba and Zohra’s Story

reconciliation.jpgFrom April 6-30, we're telling stories of women and children we help to show what True Justice looks like. We hope to raise $50,000 to help more women and girls like Naba and Zohra.

Naba* panicked. Her 14-year-old daughter Zohra* was missing, and she had no family in Delhi to help her search. Naba’s husband was working in the Middle East, unable to return because his employer illegally seized his passport.

Alone, Naba asked the police for help. Zohra eventually returned home and told her mother she had left with an older, married neighbour who had sexually abused her. Naba filed a report, and the police quickly arrested the accused.

Zohra thought she had loved the neighbour, who had spent months building trust and grooming her. Meanwhile, Naba was furious at her daughter, who in her view had disgraced the family and ruined her future. She locked Zohra in the house and forbid her from meeting friends outside or even going to school.

Oftentimes, when young girls like Zohra suffer abuse, on the surface it appears like a consensual relationship.  The family often blames victims for the abuse and there is pressure to keep it hidden: responses that isolate the victim and divide the family. 

True justice requires families to acknowledge that their children are victims of sexual abuse and to reconcile with and support them so they can move forward with their lives. Counsel to Secure Justice helps victims and their families understand the manipulative nature of sexual abuse and reconcile relationships so victims are validated and receive family support, when possible.

For months, CSJ social worker Nikita listened to both mother and daughter vent about their arguments.

“After [Zohra] fought with her mother, she would plead to live in a shelter home or threaten to run away,” Nikita said. “Her mother would be angry and say, ‘Fine, I don’t want you here.’”

After talking with Nikita for months, the mother and daughter have repaired their relationship and regained trust in each other. Naba has encouraged Zohra to leave the house for vocational courses on computer literacy, to keep her mind engaged while she waits to return to school. CSJ gave a loan to Naba to pay the course fees. This week Nikita is helping the family apply for Zohra’s school admission when classes resume this summer.

Zohra is helping her mother with household chores and looks after her siblings while her mother works. She is focusing more than ever on her studies and happily meeting her friends again.

To help more women and children like Naba and Zohra, donate to the True Justice campaign today.

*Name changed to protect identity.

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  • stephen rowan
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