Rape Victim in Central African Republic Says Only Prayer Helps Her Cope With Nightmares

A rape victim from the Central African Republic (CAR) has shared her testimony and revealed that only praying to God at night helps her get back to sleep from the persisting nightmares she is experiencing.

"I cannot stop thinking about what happened. I have many nightmares. My grandparents and my foster parents tell me not to think about it anymore and to pray. God was there when it happened. He knew and He saw it. What can I do? God saw. God knows. I leave it to Him," the woman, identified as Suzanne, shared in a statement with persecution watchdog group Open Doors.

"Each time I have a nightmare, I get up and pray. After that, I am able to sleep again. I ask God to prevent others to live through the same things I have lived through. I also pray to God to touch the hearts of the people who are able to help us stop this violence and bring back peace to our country. I ask Him to forgive my aggressors for what they did to me."

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The attack occurred on August 20, two days after CAR appointed an interim president following a coup in March, sending Muslim Seleka soldiers into a spree of murder and rape through the capital of Bangui. Suzanne was 16 when the soldiers broke into her neighbor's home, where she was hiding, and raped her along with the neighbor's daughter, while her mother was bound and prevented from helping.

Suzanne later received help at a local clinic, but the emotional effects of the attack continue to torment her. She shared with Open Doors that she doesn't expect to see justice in the near future, as the ones who attacked her are the ones who enforce the law.

Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. David Curry said in a statement that the situation in CAR is getting more worrisome every day, with the country engulfed in anarchy since the coup in March.

"It's not a world focus right now, but the situation should be. Please join me in prayer that the violence will not increase and Christians and Muslims can live in peace and freedom for all," Curry said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also warned that communal violence has been spiraling out of control, with armed groups inciting Christians and Muslims against each other. Ban said in a report to the Security Council earlier this month that the violence "threatens to degenerate into a countrywide religious and ethnic divide, with the potential to spiral into an uncontrollable situation."

The African nation has a great religious diversity, with 35 percent professing indigenous beliefs according to the CIA Factbook, with 25 percent identifying as Protestant, 25 percent as Roman Catholics, and 15 percent of the population as Muslims.

Open Doors ministers to rape victims in CAR, enabling women to obtain medical attention and trauma counseling. It also works in many of the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries, shining a light on Christian persecution and providing training and relief.

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