Breaking the cycle of sexual abuse Working with girls who have been sexually abused in Guatemala, Kate Fisher is seeing lives changed. We would all love to see mass transformations, but in reality it’s more often one individual at a time. Here’s one story of how helping one individual at a time has the potential to affect a nation. ‘It can be frustrating, working in a country like Guatemala, where corruption is so rife and intra-familial sexual abuse so prevalent,’ says Kate Fisher, who works at the Oasis Centre, a home for girls who have escaped abusive backgrounds. ‘Sometimes, supporting one person to make the smallest change is a challenge – and there’s a whole nation in need. But with each Oasis girl who accepts Jesus as her Saviour, or each mother who becomes more motivated and committed to change, there is infinite value. In worldly terms, it might be slow progress, but in kingdom values, it’s transformational.’ ‘What Oasis does so well is a holistic approach, which requires staff with a range of skills,’ notes Kate. ‘They don’t just talk to the girls’ mums about getting a job, they recognise that it’s often the family’s main bread-winner who’s been detained, so we offer the mums a start-up loan for a micro-business, so they can earn alongside childcare.’ By transforming one life, the hope is that this will affect others. Kate comments: ‘Oasis doesn’t just bring cases to court, it teaches the girls about justice. It also teaches them to serve others and give back to society. The older girls regularly go round local hospitals, chatting to patients and sharing the gospel.’ Oasis might also be helping to change wider society: ‘Three Oasis girls graduated from middle school this year – very rare in Guatemala. It’s great to see these girls equipping themselves for a positive future.’ ‘Also, due to the brave testimonies of Oasis girls, there are currently 11 men serving prison sentences and nine awaiting detention. In a country where the impunity rate [the failure to bring perpetrators to justice] is 90 per cent, and most sexual crimes aren’t ever reported, these figures are astonishing.’ We may just be on the cusp of where it is not just individual lives that are being transformed, but the whole attitude of a society.