The beginning of a nightmare
Life in the hands of the Boko Haram terrorists became the worst nightmare Esther could ever imagine. They tried everything to get Esther and the other girls they had kidnapped to renounce Christ. The men also violated the girls repeatedly.
“I cannot count how many men raped me. Every time they came back from their attacks, they would rape us … defile us …” Esther shares before turning silent. It will take her a moment to regain control of her emotions.
“Each passing day, I hated myself more and more. I felt that God had forsaken me,” Esther says. “There were times I was angry with God … but still I could not renounce Him. I found myself remembering His promise to never leave me.”
“Boko Haram woman”
After a while, Esther discovered she was pregnant. Then, about a year after she was kidnapped, God intervened and used the military to rescue Esther and the other women.
Back in her village, the joy of her freedom did not last. Many people were not eager to welcome back the “Boko Haram women.”
"There were times I was angry with God ... but still I could not renounce Him."
Freed at the foot of the cross
“They mocked me because I was pregnant,” Esther remembers. “What broke my heart even more was that they refused to call my daughter, ‘Rebecca.’ They referred to her as ‘Boko.’”
Through her church, Esther was connected to Open Doors. She attended a trauma care seminar, where she was able to release her pain and anguish at the foot of a hand-carved cross.
“When I pinned that piece of paper to the cross, it felt like I was handing all my sorrow over to God. It felt light within me. When the trainer later removed all the pieces of paper from the cross and burnt it to ashes, I felt like all my sorrow and shame disappeared, never to come back again.”
She also received food and other practical help. She shares, “I have no family other than Open Doors. After hearing my story, you did not despise me but encouraged me and showed me love. Thank you so much!”
*Representative name and image used to protect identity