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World News

'If God chose me to endure this, he will give me strength to overcome it': Christian rape survivor in Manipur speaks out

by Heather Preston

A Christian woman, sexually assaulted by a group of men during the ongoing attacks in Manipur, India has shared how the events have left her struggling with shame and fear.

Three women were attacked and then paraded around the streets by men from the Meitei community.

A video of the attack went viral on social media in May 2023.

Speaking to the BBC, almost six months on, one of the victims, churchgoer Mercy explained how the incident, together with the publicity of the video left her “losing the will to live”.

“I can't even make eye contact with people from my community. I have lost my respect. Now I will never be the same again,” she says.

Following the attack the mother-of-two fled her village, seeking refuge in a neighbouring city. She said she no longer attends church, school or other public activities and remains confined to her temporary home as she grapples with the trauma she has endured.

Despite the after-effects of fear and anger, Mercy says she finds solace in her faith. “If God chose me to endure all this, then only he will give me the strength to overcome it,” she said.

Unrest broke out in the north-eastern state of India in May, following a peaceful protest over land rights and jobs.  The predominantly Hindu Meitei tribe have been accused of targeting Kuki Christians in the region in a series of horrifying incidents in which hundreds of homes, churches and religious colleges have been ransacked and burned to the ground.

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