“With a machete pointed at my father’s forehead, he looked at my mother and at me, but I avoided eye contact because I was ashamed to look him in the face, ashamed of what the men had suggested — it was an abomination!” Marcus told ACN. “My father put his head down in submission to be killed and answered: ‘I cannot sleep with my own flesh and blood, my own daughter, I would rather die than commit this abomination.’”
Her father was beheaded, and Marcus continued to suffer at the hands of the Islamic terrorists.
“They took me to the bush and tortured me severely, emotionally, physically, and mentally for six days. I suffered a lot of terrible and wicked experiences — beyond explanation — that made those six days seem like six years,” Marcus said.
Violent persecution in Nigeria has become a growing concern in recent years, according to many religious freedom organizations, including ACN.
Both priests and lay faithful are regularly targeted by Islamic terror groups such as Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), and militant Fulani.
In the face of this persecution, Nigeria has the highest Mass attendance of any country in the world. According to recent data compiled by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, 94% of Catholics in Nigeria attend Mass at least weekly.
Marcus shared that the six months that she spent at the trauma center were months of “healing, prayers, and counseling.”
“After my healing process, I enrolled in college. I am very happy, and I will give it my all to finish my degree and become someone great in society. … I acquired new skills that have made me so proud of myself,” she said.
“Emotionally, I have learned to let go of my past; I have learned the art of healing by letting go of my pain. My faith has strengthened.”
“It’s hard to forgive and forget, and with all that I have gone through at the hands of Boko Haram I can’t even believe that I am the one saying this, but I have forgiven them in my heart, and I pray for the redemption of their souls,” Marcus said.