I have a friend called Ronelle. She is 26 years old and she lives in a homeless shelter in Durban.
When Ronelle was 12 years old her mother passed away and Ronelle was placed into care. She was there for almost a year before she be-friended an older girl, this girl became like an older sister to her and they were very close. They were always together and Ronelle really looked up to this girl.
One evening Ronelle and her friend went for a walk. They stopped at a tavern and her friend disappeared with a man, leaving Ronelle alone for a while. When she returned she told Ronelle how they needed to go to the girls grandmother's house and pick up some clothes. When they reached the house there was no grandmother and in her place there were 3 men. The men gave Ronelle's friend some money and the girl left Ronelle with the men and disappeared.
SHE WAS 13!
For 3 days Ronelle was held against her will and raped over and over. As she sat and described this experience to me she goes to another place, a place deep inside of her. it is like she is going through it all over again.
She can smell the alcohol on the men's breath, she can hear the foul names that they called her, she can feel their rough hands on her body. I can see the pain in her eyes as she is speaking words that she has never spoken to anyone before.
On the 3rd day she was left alone with just one of the men. He drank so much that he passed out and she managed to escape. Wearing just a t-shirt and underwear she ran the 10km back to the orphanage and told the nuns that ran the place what had happened to her (they had not reported her missing!).
The Nuns rushed her to hospital where she spent the next few hours being prodded and poked. Every test possible was done on her and everything came back negative.
SHE WAS 13.
She had no family and the Nuns said that she had bought it all on herself. She was totally alone.
nearly 5 months went by and she started to have pains in her tummy, she describes it as someone trying to pull her insides out. She started to bleed and the smell was very bad, so she went to one of the Sisters and they told her that it was just her period and that it would go away soon.
A couple more weeks passed and the pain got worse although the bleeding stopped. One day while using the bathroom she felt that there was something very wrong. She took a mirror and looked at herself. To her horror she saw that there was a tiny hand attached to a tiny arm coming out of her. She was rushed to hospital where her dead unborn baby boy was taken out of her.
SHE WAS 13!
I can not imagine going through even half of what this amazing woman has been through.
Today I look at this woman and I am honored to call her "friend". I am amazed at who she has become in spite of this horrific journey.
She is strong and intelligent, funny (SO funny), compassionate and loving. She is feisty and savy. She is an amazing mother and a loyal friend.
This girl who has been broken by man over and over is now in the process of being healed by God.
In the 3 years that I have known Ronelle is have seen an incredible restoration in her. I know that God has great plans for this woman.
He has given her beauty for ashes. He has proclaimed liberty over her captive soul. He is healing her broken heart.
To be a part of this woman's life is so humbling for me. And I know that He has placed her in my life to teach me the many valuable lessons that my stubborn heart needs to learn.
She truly is one of His BELOVED people and she is my friend.
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