A Christian girl who had been victim of forced conversion speaks out about the ordeal she went through apfer being rescued from the custody of her abductors.
15 year-old, Christian girl, Saima, (her real name is being withheld) unfortunately became a victim of the plague of forced conversions, which has emerged as a huge threat to Hindu and Christian girls in Pakistan.
Saima was however, fortunate enough to have been rescued from her captors’ custody. As she now safely dwells with her family, she narrated the story from the start to till the end. She was kept for about six months by a gang of Muslim men, who sexually abused her, beat her and eventually gave her in marriage to one of the Muslim men of the gang.
While speaking with an international NGO, she said, “I am 15-year-old, and the youngest among my siblings. My elderly parents work at a brick-kiln. They did not have enough of an income for my educational expenses, therefore I have never been to school, although, I wished I could.”
“I was sleeping along with my mother on a single bed during a power-cut, in my house yard, at around midnight, five armed men with masks on their faces climbed over the boundary wall and entered into our house.”
The armed men brutally beat the entire family and threatened them with severe consequences if they shouted for help, she said. “Then the kidnappers dragged me from my mother’s lap to their car in the street.”
“My eyes and mouth were covered with a piece of cloth and they took me to an unknown place where five of them raped me, I think it was a neighboring city from where they kidnapped me.”
During her captivity, she said, “The kidnappers often teased Christians, especially disrespecting Christian women. Almost for two months they beat me every day for nothing and did not give me enough food to eat.”
Since it is illegal for a girl under 18 to be married, so a forged document proving her to be above 18 was produced. “After almost two months of inhuman treatment and humiliation, they took me to a courthouse and forced me to put my thumb impression on a document that declared me the wife of a Muslim. I did not want this to happen; however, I had no other option because they threatened to kill my parents if I did not obey. Therefore, they forcefully married me to a Muslim and converted me to Islam.”
“Without my wish, they changed my they changed my religion, my identity and even my name.” After two months my husband moved to another city. “I spent the next six months in captivity, however, I had faith that Jesus would get me out of this hell.”
“In February earlier this year, I had a golden opportunity to escape. I managed to sneak away from the house to an urban area after walking for about five hours. I begged for money to cover the bus fare and was able to reach my home after sunset on the same day.”
“I am thankful for this mercy and the miracle of rejoining with my parents now. I could not stop crying when I hugged my parents and family for the first time after returning. One can hardly imagine the painful which I and my parents and family experienced. It was like rising from the dead.”
According to stats from a local NGO, on average about 1000 girls from the religious minorities are being kidnapped for the purposed of forced conversions every year. Out of these 1000, about 700 are from the Christian community.