[People] Resurrection for Abused Children -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Resurrection for Abused Children
Fr. Shay Cullen
22 March 2016

325-fr-shay-cullenThe 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. 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 they 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, they are resurrected and live a
happy fuller life and 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 that have been
traumatized by sexual abuse and exploitation.

One group are victims of human trafficking sold into the sex bars and
abused by sex tourists and pedophiles. Others are abused by their
biological 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 to be
believed by relatives is a great hurt also and being ignored and told
not to complain is a great pain also.

They are traumatized and drop-out of school and are unable to learn and
study. Many such abused children rebel against their parents, relatives
and guardians in anger and helplessness. 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 being 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 be strong and determined to seek
justice and bring the rapists to justice to repent and confess 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 nine years old to 16. They also identify the abusers and
give an opportunity for the children to seek justice and have the
strength and determination to file a criminal case. The social workers
and Preda paralegal officer helps 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 in it is
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 by
visits to the children in their homes, through Facebook and also by
providing education assistance and livelihood training to them as they
grow older. To give them an education is 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

http://www.preda.org/

 

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