Resurrection for abused children

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The hope of a new life, “Resurrection,” for abused and traumatized children is what we at the Preda Foundation strive to provide for victims of abuse.

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Holy Week is about pain and suffering, injustice, and new life and hope. That is what the mission of Preda Foundation is bringing new life to children who have been spiritually and emotionally dead by the abuse and exploitation they suffer and the pain the carry inflicted by adults.

It is the deprivation of love, protection and care that has killed the joy and happiness of life. Many see themselves as worthless degraded human beings. But after months at Preda and they are resurrected, they live a happy and fuller life filled with empowerment, hope and energy. They are rescued by the Preda team or are referred to Preda by social workers, relatives and parents. They are children who have been traumatized by sexual abuse and exploitation.

One group of children is made up of victims of human trafficking sold into the sex bars and abused by sex tourists and pedophiles. Others have been abused by their biological parent, father, grandfather, brother, uncle or live-partner of the mother or by a neighbor pedophile They all suffer grave hurt and pain and are filled with deeply buried anger and hate that they have never been able to tell to anyone or express their deepest hurt and anguish and humiliation. Not believed by relative is a great hurt also and being ignored and told not to complain is a great pain too.

They are traumatized and dropout of school and are unable to learn and study. Many such abused children rebel in anger and helplessness against parents and relatives and guardians. They then frequently run away from home unable to tell anyone or bear the sexual abuse. On the streets they are picked up by pimps and human traffickers and sold to pedophiles or sex bars and to sex tourists. When they are rescued by Preda following a tip off or a request by a concerned person, they are brought to the safety of the Preda home and healed and made whole, and empowered by the free expression of their deepest hurt and pain. This release is difficult, but the release is what helps them heal.

The care and protection, safety and affirmation of the Preda children’s home is what gives them the encouragement and feeling of their self–worth and God’s children and, most important, in the Kingdom of God. (Matt.18 1-9) They also release the pent– up and suppressed anger and hatred of the abusers. This helps them become strong and determined to seek justice and the bring the rapist to justice, and the repentance and confession of his sin against them and to do penance in jail.

At that point, forgiveness is possible. Whatever the hurt and pain felt by the victim of childhood neglect, abandonment and abuse it will be buried within the person and carried through life. It needs to be freely expressed and released, so healing can take place. The poison must be extracted for the patient to recover.

At Preda Emotional Release Therapy over a period of months enables the youth to get it all out in the padded therapy room, by shouting, confronting challenging and crying, at their alleged abusers in the therapy room with supportive therapists. After each session the young person has a great feeling of freedom from fear and stress and anger. Hate is dissipated and the young people open up and more easily tell their life story of abuse and neglect. This can help the Preda therapist and social workers to respond and help the children.

In the Preda home for abused children we have victims of sexual abuse as young as 9 years old to 16. They also identify the abusers and give an opportunity for a child to seek justice and have the strength and determination to file a criminal case. The social workers and Preda paralegal officer help in the process. They have been successful with an average of six convictions of pedophiles/ child rapists a year. There are 38 children on average in the home at any given time.

Then the recovery can truly begin with the healing powers of affirmation, inspiration, encouragement, friendship and peer group support within the Preda family. Then a better, happier life is possible.

That’s the goal of the Preda therapeutic community, now celebrating its 43 years of service to the Filipino youth. Hundreds of young people are now living meaningful, happier lives with their own families. Preda strives to continue the aftercare by providing regular contact and visits the children in the homes, and also by providing education assistance and livelihood training to the children as they grow older.

Giving them an education is vitally important as they continue to recover in society, and they feel that they will have a better life for their children. The project needs additional help in this aspect as it improves and extends more outreach services and continuing care to the recovered children. The Preda healing in a holistic therapeutic caring community is giving new life to these children. It is a time for rejoicing when we see them smiling, learning, playing and enjoying as normal a life as possible, surely “resurrected.”

shaycullen@preda.org

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