Note: This story contains distressing content. The names of the people involved have been changed to protect their identities.
Regina was 14 years old when she was sexually abused by a man in his 50s. He lured her with an equivalent of $215 to a hotel room in Port Moresby. She needed the money to make ends meet and desperately wanted to finish school.
The abuse continued on the weekends for three years. Each time, Regina was given money and made to promise she would not tell anyone. Her school grades dropped, and she lost her appetite and her confidence. Eventually, she lost hope.
It was only when staff from ChildFund’s 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain* and Rights Respect and Resilience project visited her school that things changed.
The staff encouraged students to call the helpline if they encountered any violence, negligence or any form of abuse in their life.
For the first time in a long time, Regina felt a glimmer of hope. After the visit, she called the hotline. A counsellor named Joe answered, and provided confidential crisis counselling.
After Regina’s initial call, Joe checked on Regina every week and provided more counselling. He encouraged her to report the matter to police and to change her sim card so the perpetrator could no longer reach her.
Today, Regina is focused on finishing her studies and she is hopeful about her future.
To donate to the 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain, visit https://www.gifts.childfund.org.nz/shop/domestic-violence-hotline
Need someone to talk to?
In Papua New Guinea:
Call (toll-free) +675 7150 8000
In New Zealand:
Lifeline (24/7): 0800 543 354 Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 Youthline (24/7): 0800 376 633 Call or text (24/7): 1737 Kidsline (24/7): 0800 543 754
*This project is partially funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme. ChildFund, and our partner communities, value this support hugely.
This story was included as part of the 2018 Annual Report issue of Thrive magazine.