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'Just say the word and I shall be healed'

15 years ago, I escaped a child molester. 15 years later, this evening I paid the final price for that. My left front tooth broke off and fell.

The tooth was decayed, from internal bleeding and infection of years. Only I didn't know, not until recently, when a dentist looked at my discolored tooth and said I had a serious problem.That's when I was taken back to my childhood, to the day of horror when, in escaping the molester, I hit the door. The pain was blinding, as was my shame,anger and embarrassment.

That day, after returning from the dentist's chamber, I found a post by Breese on World Pulse that asked to contribute frontline stories for Peace x Peace. That day I feverishly wrote my story - this story of escaping a rape attempt, of anger, of secret pain and of carrying it within me for a lifetime (in India, 12 years officially described as a lifetime).

The story - was published. Read by some. Commented upon by some. Not read and not seen by many. But it didn't matter.Within me, I won a battle, of dealing with a monster secret and being able to deal with it.

3 months later, this evening, my tooth broke, leaving an ugly, dark, idiotic gap in my gum. I panicked, called my best friend of all seasons, Amrutha who called the dentist who said he was out of town and wouldn't be back till Monday.

Monday. The day I am supposed to travel to Calcutta - the city where my brother lives with his wife and two lovely kids. One of them has her birthday on Wednesday and the family is counting hours for me to arrive. We haven't met for 3 long-years!

I have bought gifts - little, sequined skirts and tiny little cameras for the kids. I have been imagining how their faces would light up to see me. I have been their hero for a while. Now, I have to tell them I won't come and have those faces darkened.

The ground shook under my feet. I don't earn a lot these days. As a freelancer, my earnings are just enough to take care of my bills. Traveling is a luxury for me most of the time. If I cancel my trip now, I have no idea when I can afford to book one again. But cancel I must, because I need to get the tooth fixed - which will cost me a lot of money. Besides, how can I go out in this state?

I felt like an idiot. I moved closer to tears. 'Why me', I thought, for the millionth time in my life, I am not a vile, selfish person. I don't steal. I don't abuse. I don't hurt others knowingly. I am a simple woman, with simple wishes in life: a mouthful of dignity, a living by telling stories of the voiceless, a handful of love and faith. Then, why do all the bad things happen to me?

There were no answers. Then I said goodbye to my friend and opened my computer, desperately wishing to find something- anything distracting - that would help me get away from my sorrow.

Then I read a couple of comments from Rachael and Scott on my Module 5 assignment. And I did something I thought I wouldn't do for weeks: smile. With that wide gap in my gum. It must have looked ugly. But inside, I felt beautiful.

Though a protestant, I often attend masses at Catholic churches. Often, I have knelt down and said, before the communion/Eucharist, '...just say the word and I shall be healed'.

Today I feel that power of the word that came from my colleagues in World Pulse. I feel a healing touch.
No, I am not calling you Gods. You don't have to be gods either. But you can - we all can - say a few good words whenever we can, to those around us. You never know, she might be in need of healing!
Like I was.


mrbeckbeck's picture


Hugs to you Stella, you're such a gem. I hope that you keep smiling, no matter what! You're a survivor and the world needs your positive energy to transform all the negativity out there.

I know how you're feeling about a missing tooth though. 2 years ago I had an accident and broke two of my front teeth in half. It was embarrassing and painful, and fixing it was incredibly expensive. But, funny enough, it was at that time that I started dating my girlfriend who I am still with! I figure if she liked me then, she'll like me any time. :)

Again, many hugs to you. :)

Take good care of yourself,

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

Stella Paul's picture

Thank you!

Its been a while since I wrote this and now I come back to say, thank you. Your words - especially that bit about your personal experience really gave me a lot of strength. As you know, I am much better - both in body and mind. And you get a big hug for that Scott.

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

usha kc's picture

Stella, my sis You are a

Stella, my sis
You are a corageous having a very beautiful heart. Yes, I can feel your pain here. Please never look out of your golden heart inside you dear.
get well soon.

I am sending many hugs and healing vibrations to you.

lots of love


Stella Paul's picture

Thank you

Your healing vibrations were very powerful my sister. I am well on my way to be completely healed. Love you

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

MaDube's picture

My darling Stella

I wont pretend I know how you feel because not by a long shot will I ever really feel the depth of the fear, or the terror you felt out of your past experiences nor the pain you feel out of this recent one. But what I do know is that despite everything you have been through, you have become a strong, amazing woman whom I have grown to love and care for very much. It is that Stella whom I know can withstand anything, even this reminder of a horrible past she would rather forget. I dont just think you will surpass this too, I know it.

I am with you in spirit.



Stella Paul's picture

Thank you

Dear Rumbi

You have sent me your support in more than one ways on this occasion and I just returned here to express my gratitude ad love for that. There is an angel in you and I hope that angel will reach out many other souls like me in coming days and get you showers of blessings. Love you

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Monica Clarke's picture

You heal me

Your gift is amazing. D'you know the reason why you have suffered so? So that we might enjoy your gift of words and wisdom through your healing, your strength, and your beauty, you amazing woman. I am indeed lucky to have the light of stella shining into my life. Monica.

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Stella Paul's picture

Thank you

Dear Monica

I can not even try to thank you enough for the energy I got when I read this message. Some things are meant to be felt. But what I can try to send is this: send you many more hugs and much more love. I cherish this bond we got between us and pray to god that this bond gets stronger day by day.

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Aliya Bashir's picture

You are Powerful

Dear Stella,
I wont sympathize you, just for the sake of sympathy. Reason: Through enduring pain, you have turned out to be an inspiration not alone for your own self but for others. So all I can say is Bravo! Your patience and survival in the most turbulent times is polishing the most dynamic lady , out of you. Everyone in his/her life has gone through hell and today when we go down through the memory lane, we say if this and that would have never happened, we would have never been what we are today! The bad times provides us with the most toughest reality of appreciating every speck of life at the fullest, otherwise we won't give a damn, in saying what sort of happiness this, why nothing something more. Our heart always maanagy more.. there is no end to our whims and wishes. But the bad times always prepare us for the worst and makes us powerful and vigilant. Happiness is just lighter moment in which most of us get swayed without realizing that nothing lives forever.
So keep ur cool, when u were created, u were given some special features and patience level, which no other Stella in the universe posses. Everyone gets his/her own piece of good or bad times. Some express while others keep it to themselves. So we can never claim that our status or magnitude of happiness or sorrow is greater or lesser than others.
So stand up and take a deep breathe. you are not made for repentance or sorry for yourself. you are here to inspire and empower us by your magical thoughts. Take care and Stay Blessed Sisy :)


Stella Paul's picture

Thank you

Dear Aliya

You know how much you have helped me to go through this tough time and all I can say in return is that I am happy and grateful to have known you. May god bless you each hour, each day with the kind of strength you provided to me. Love

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Lack of words

Dearest Stella,

All your teeth could be broken and you would still have a beautiful smile. I am glad that our words helped you to feel better. I hope you don't let this terrible experience in your past keep you from your loving family this week. I hope you found a dentist over the weekend who could take care of it for you so that you can see your nieces and nephews and plant the seed of citizen journalism with those new cameras!



"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

Stella Paul's picture

Thank you

Dear Rachael

Yesterday I listened to the wrap up call recordings. You were asking everyone what really worked in this program If I were there, I would have said this:

There are plenty of journalism schools across the world offering great training and building skills.
But its only in World Pulse that provides a hug when a correspondent is broken in body n spirit.
And that has worked for me. It always will.

Love and gratitude!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Emily Garcia's picture

All Smiles


You are so beautiful inside and out. Your ability to turn life's challenges into a story of inspiration and hope is astonishing. You have a true gift and an amazing spirit. I feel reinvigorated myself in reading your words.

'Just say the word and I shall be healed' are words I have heard often as I was raised in the Catholic Church, but never before have I felt so inspired by them. This makes me think about how kind words are not enough if we are not open to them and willing to let them do good work in our lives. I think one must be open to the healing power and potential of kind words from others in order benefit from them, and you Stella are so open to all that comes your way. I so much admire that about you.

I hope that by now your tooth is fixed and all is well. Sending you a big virtual hug from Portland, Oregon.

Warmest wishes,


Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Lead

Stella Paul's picture

Thank you

Dear Emily

My treatment has well begun and I am now much better. That is the physical side of it. In mind, I have never been stronger. All this love and support has given me strength and new energy and confidence.

I can't thank you enough for being such a strength giver. God bless you always! Love and hugs!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Anita Muhanguzi's picture

Thank you Stella

Thank you Stella for such an inspiring story. You are blessed and continue to bless all those around you. Have a lovely day and no matter how many teeth fall out you will always be beautiful.

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Head of Legal and Advocacy
Centre for Batwa Minorities
Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

Stella Paul's picture

Thank you my sister

Dear Anita

Thank you so much for such beautiful words! I am touched by your love and compassion! Also, I have added you to my friends list. I hope you will accept. Hope to interact with you more and learn of your work more in coming days. Love from India

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

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