Too much concentration on sin, and its adverse effects, has left women and girls- who are deemed society's most vulnerable members- at the mercy of other suppressive devices, leaving them physically and spiritually bruised says Mary Banda founder of the newly formed Christian Ministry, Touching Ladies for Christ (TLC), which is aimed at cleaning out the guilt in women who have suffered rape and incest.
"The overall message we are sending is that you don't have to go through this alone because you are special and God has a purpose for your life.
"(And) there is need for society to do something for such people; so, God placed a passion in my heart to reach out and make a difference- not only in the lives of those who are living in this bondage but- the nation as a whole," Banda said.
Banda and women from various denominations officially launched TLC at City Pentecostal Church last Saturday after realising that the psychological scars of abuse can drain the fear of God out of people, and make individuals less dependent on their heavenly Father.
"It was encouraging that even men attended (the launch). We want to help rape victims, equip girls with Biblical knowledge, instill practical wisdom, promote sexual purity, as well as empower and motivate girls in their areas of strength," Banda said.
Pastor Towera Masiku of Word of Faith Temple, one of the preachers at the launch, delivered a sermon that centred on the importance of sticking to one's identity, saying split identities were to blame for the proliferation of foreign practices that border on ungodliness.
Masiku cited the example of the Biblical Tamara, daughter of King David, who was raped by her own brother.
She said after being raped Tamara felt defiled and lost even the self-belief that she was the daughter of a king.
"But we can reclaim our identity by seeking God," Masiku said. She urged girls to guard against peer pressure, describing it as an open pit that pulls careless girls and women to its bottom.
TLC becomes the first ministry to dedicate its work towards the lives of women and girls that have suffered various forms of abuse, and aims at restoring confidence in them.
Led by six young ladies, part of the ministry's work will involve the distribution of purity rings to those who will commit to a life of sexual purity, in order "to encourage them to remain pure until marriage and know how to handle themselves until the time for marriage is ripe for them". Said Banda:
"We will guarantee 100 percent confidentiality. We are encouraging parents and the community to reach out to girls because most of them don't seem to have confidence in life."