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Finding hope and a future

In an article marking International Women’s Day, SALLY BRUCE, of DFN (Dignity Freedom Network), looks at how the organisation is working to set women free…

This is a sponsored article.

Satya** was just 11 -years-old when tragically, her baby brother died. Although devastated at losing the little boy she adored, Satya had no idea that this loss would change her life forever. Thinking the gods were angry with them, her parents decided to dedicate Satya to the temple goddess to appease them.

A marriage-like ceremony took place, and Satya became the property of the village, to be used and abused sexually by any man, anytime, anywhere. For 10 years she served up to a dozen men a day, initially at the temple, and later at a shack in her village.

Satya is among thousands of women dedicated to a temple goddess and forced into a life of exploitative abuse. PICTURE: Courtesy of DFN

The women in her village despised her and Satya hated how this work made her feel but believed she had no options. As a single mother, she had to provide food and clothing for her three children. Alone and abused, Satya sank into a deep depression.

“Satya is so thankful for Sharada and the love and support she received. Her children are enrolled in a Good Shepherd school, and she has high hopes that their lives will be different.”

Four years ago, Satya met Sharada**, one of our team leaders, who explained there was a way of escape, an alternative life of restoration and hope.

Sharada helped her access healthcare. Sadly, Satya tested positive for HIV, but Sharada provided medications and support. As her health returned, Satya joined a three month sewing course and for the first time since she was a little girl she enjoyed friendship with other women. When she graduated, she was given a sewing machine, and resources to start a small business.

Satya is so thankful for Sharada and the love and support she received. Her children are enrolled in a Good Shepherd school, and she has high hopes that their lives will be different.

Women being taught sewing skills. PICTURE: Courtesy of DFN

Satya is part of a growing number of women who have found help and freedom and is using this newfound hope to reach others still in bondage under this oppressive systemic abuse.

For more than 2,000 years, girls have been dedicated to a goddess and forced into a horrific life of exploitative abuse. Girls are initiated without their consent, with little understanding that they will be trapped in a life of ritualised prostitution. They struggle with poverty, health issues, substance abuse, and depression. Their children are deprived of identity making them vulnerable to cyclical exploitation.

Our teams work in over 300 villages providing advocacy, education, health care and economic empowerment, protecting vulnerable girls, and liberating women. Local teams, mainly led by rescued and restored women like Satya, are the key to ending this abhorrent practice.

The 8th March is International Women’s Day. Join our 2024 IWD initiative and be a voice for these women (Proverbs 31:8-9). Each increment of $A250 raised supports one village leader in one village for one year, working to end the practice in her community by rescuing women like Satya, and preventing at-risk girls from being dedicated. People can donate directly, or organise their own ‘challenge’ or event to raise awareness and funds.

Would you join us this March so together more damaged women and at-risk girls can find hope and dignity, and learn of a God who yearns to heal them, to have a relationship with them, to love them?

To find out more, visit or email [email protected].

Additionally, we are looking for volunteers to help with communications, and raising awareness – email [email protected] for details.

**Names withheld to respect identity and privacy.

* Sally Bruce’s real name has been withheld for security reasons. 


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