Lia’s Story

Ruhama offered support to Lia*, a survivor of sex trafficking to Ireland, by way of a full care plan, education and development assistance and trauma healing support. This is her story, as told by her Ruhama support team.

The snow was melting and public transport was finally moving again. Lia*, determined, made it to her class at Ruhama and was smiling as a result. After a three hour journey on public transport, she arrived. This was another small yet meaningful triumph for her after the longer and more harrowing experience that led her to seek support from Ruhama. 

Lia was sex trafficked to Ireland and left traumatised by the violence and abuse she endured before finally escaping. Surprised by the caring greeting she got on arriving at Ruhama, she opened up more about her experiences and hopes for her future. Lia was given a full care plan by our casework service, tailored to her individual needs and situation, outlining exactly how we would support her to build a life for herself and her family in Ireland. She enrolled on our Trauma Healing Programme, which aims to help participants with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to reduce their anxiety and improve their coping skills and overall mental health. On starting the course, Lia was sceptical – she felt simple wellness practices could not magically help her recover from the pain of sexual violence. She was surprised when she saw the benefit after just two weeks – “I can see the impact. I do (one of the wellness practices) a lot if I can’t sleep and it helps. My son even notices the difference.”

 “Life is tough and still is. I’m not there yet but some of the bitterness is going away. I have hope for the future.”

Completing the course and receiving her certificate was a huge moment of pride for Lia. After seeing it with her name on it – Lia was ecstatic and explained “It’s the first time in my whole life that I’m getting a certificate!”.  She has even been sharing wellness tips from the course with her older child, who she says “has been traumatised”. Recently Lia had to seek alternative accommodation. She now lives outside of Dublin so her journey time for appointments has tripled. She still happily attends several classes (as of 2018) and is committed to working with the Ruhama team as she rebuilds her life. Ruhama cover Lia’s travel costs to assist her participation. Recovery is a slow step by step process which Lia acknowledges – Life is tough and still is. I’m not there yet but some of the bitterness is going away. I have hope for the future.

*Name and some details have been changed to protect confidentiality of woman 

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