Reema Sukumaran was the keynote speaker at our sexual abuse summit for our pastors in the Maritime Conference. The response and feedback that we received from our pastors was positively overwhelming. Through Reema’s testimony our pastors were able to understand the deep, long lasting results of sexual abuse on a victim that take years, if not a lifetime to heal. Reema spoke openly and frankly to us of the results that she experienced in coming face to face with abuse and Reema’s presentations gave us the opportunity to implement greater safeguards and policies to
protect our students and church members in our Conference and throughout our sister Conference in Canada. I highly recommend that you invite Reema to your next presentation on abuse.
Reema’s story is compelling, horrible, and miraculous all at the same time. Her journey from a traumatic childhood, to young adult became catastrophic in the moments that a sexual predator violently stole her virginity. Her journey since has been ‘coloured’ by that horrific event, impacting her role as daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend.
Through it all, she has maintained a solid relationship with Christ, making Him the foundation of her faith and survival.
Reema is captivating to listen to. She recounts unspeakable events from her life with grace, care, and poise. She manages to weave her relationship with Jesus into her entire journey. She will look you in the eye, listen to your story, and share your pain as easily as she shares her own journey. She is authentic, down to earth, and very approachable. A teacher by profession, she has a way of using her story to educate and give hope. She is healing, slowly, and willing to take you on her journey.
I listened to Reema tell her very difficult story, with peace and clarity. I gained much light, as she shared the insight which she had gained that helped balance her perspective on life. It seemed like she was taking the first of many purposeful steps towards bringing that power to other audiences. Nothing is as powerful as the compassion and empathy that is born when individuals verbally share their common story. I see healing, the death of hate and bitterness, and the growth of love and understanding as she continues.
Over the years I have encountered many people who were victims and were willing to share their story. The story Reema tells is a of suffering but also gives so much hope and healing. She brings others on the long awaited path of healing and normalization.
She was new at school, we were in 9th grade and it was the beginning of the school year. I approached her between classes at her locker to introduce myself and welcome her to our school. She seemed uncomfortable by my initiative and appeared as if she wanted to sink into her locker. I was puzzled and never connect with Reema in a meaningful way after that in high school. I noticed her not fitting in and appearing uncomfortable and socially awkward in general. Yet, on the odd occasion, I witnessed a spark and an aliveness in Reema’s personality as she interacted with her one friend, in not so public spaces. Four years later we became the best of friends and then university roommates. I was richly blessed by the heart, laughter, vulnerability, passion, loyalty, kindness, playfulness, selflessness and innocence of Reema. I learned about her pain at home, her anger with and love for God and her yearning to be loved. 30 years later, we are still the best of friends! I have had the honored position of being on the inside of Reema’s heart and much of her life story as she has grown up through the most exciting moments as well as it’s darkest places. She is still the same Reema. Fun, vulnerable, passionate, loyal, kind, playful, and selfless, but more fully and beautifully so. My Reema is wise, willing, inspiring, strong, and relentless. She loves hard and lives her life passionately. Her story is heartbreaking, heartwarming, power and life changing. God wins in Reema’s life.
Reema’s story touched my heart. Her courage to be so vulnerable about an experience that was so deeply personal was amazing to me. As I sat in the quiet auditorium filled with people, I was thankful that she was brave enough to share, that she was brave enough to not be silent anymore.
Reema speaks from a real place. She shares her brokenness in a way that invites others to look at their brokenness. She then shares a realness about growing and living again. Abuse is not a warm and fuzzy topic but one that is long past need of being addressed. Reema helped me acknowledge and deal with my own abuse at a time that was crucial for me. Yes abuse happens in the church in our schools and in our homes.
Speaking this truth opens the heart to God for spiritual healing.
God whispered her name into existence and then gave her as a gift to all of us. Our paths intersected at a time in her life when her own values and standards were seeking permanent residence. The innocence of becoming, however, sprouted from seeds that bore no resemblance to what she wanted to become.
The shadows of past bad experience followed her to college and this is where I met this incredible human being name Reema. Reema, was invited to live with us and did so for six years. She became part of our family and in a bigger sense, part of our hearts. In spite of the emotional baggage that she brought with her, what people saw; what I witnessed, was a person who could laugh with the best of them; cry with some of them and shower love on all of them. We love the beautiful person she has become: an attentive and supportive wife to her husband, Sanj; an involved and a strong tower as a mother to her six children:
Sammy, Tyler, Jordan, Max, Zach and Josh; a leader, whose strong convictions for truth is a voice that will not be silenced. If for whatever reason your life should intersect with hers you will be blessed. For to know her, is to love her. Her compelling journey is about to set you free.