Liberation Is Here
As a freelance filmmaker, Nikole Lim's career allowed her to step in and out of the lives of marginalized people around the world. But when confronted with the prevalence of sexual violence in Kenyan and Zambian communities, she commits to advocating alongside the courageous survivors whose lives have intersected with hers.
These women's powerful stories inspire her to embark on a new vocation, partnering with survivors of sexual violence to launch a nonprofit organization that equips women to lead through the rewritten stories of their lives. But as Lim seeks to help her friends experience healing and liberation, her perspective is altered. Spiritually depleted, she finds herself ministered to by the women she came to serve—the once oppressed become her liberators.
Illustrated with dramatic full-color photography from Lim's own camera, Liberation Is Here transports us to forgotten corners of the world. From the slums of Nairobi, hospitals of Lusaka, killing fields of Kigali, and the back alleys of Barcelona, Lim weaves together a narrative of God’s grace and healing amid fear and trauma. Her journey proves that liberation is not just near, but it is here—in the eyes of the broken, the hearts of the oppressed, and the untold stories of our global community.
"It's rare when a storyteller uses multiple mediums to communicate a thought or message, but that is exactly what Nikole Lim does in Liberation Is Here! Using powerful words and visual imagery, she becomes a storyteller of transformation—both hers and others—to make us see faith in new ways. Liberation isn't for some; it's for all. Liberation isn't far away; it's here and now."
"Nikole Lim's Liberation Is Here is the story of three African women, all of them sexually assaulted as children, and their extraordinary journeys to survival, restoration, and leadership. Their unforgettable stories convey the appalling reality of near-total impunity enjoyed by men who rape children. Ms. Lim finds hope in the breathtaking courage of rape survivors whose suffering has compelled them to advocate on behalf of others."
"What a vulnerable, deep, and profound book of hope and hidden beauty! Through the lens of an artist, in powerful and beautiful images, Nikole Lim's Liberation Is Here stewards the stories of women who have survived abuse and sexual violence. Heart-wrenching and full of trauma, the accounts of violations against women are not the end of the story. Rather, Lim walks the reader through a transformative journey of joy and profound pain in the quest for liberation from sexual violence and oppression. Liberation Is Here describes a mutual process of transformation and liberation where our individual freedom is bound up in the stories, pain, and the triumph of others' quests for redemption and healing. Lim describes how healing and transformation parallel the story of Jesus through joy and pain, death and rebirth. May all who read Liberation Is Here experience the binding power of our common humanity as we hold onto hope and seek mutual healing and justice."
"Liberation Is Here captivated me right from the start and left me feeling inspired and changed. Nikole's story and the stories of those she encounters in her journey stretch our minds and hearts, helping us to see possibility in our pain and realize truths that unite us and set us free. Join me in reading it again and again."
"With unflinching honesty yet gentle compassion, Nikole Lim draws close to women who live under oppression, shame, and gender-based violence. But she also treats her subjects as more than victims. Rather, women like Nekesa, Mara, and Mubanga have something to teach any reader about their own pain and oppression, and show that liberation comes not through avoiding brokenness but by moving through it with the mercy and love of God."
"Nikole Lim shares words, images, and stories that moved me to tears. However, they were tears of joy as I embraced these powerful narratives of resilience and hope. These amazing women show us that while it often feels so far from us, if we truly see the people around us, they are everyday reminders that Liberation Is Here."
"Liberation Is Here gives so much hope to all who question their ability to overcome adversity. Nikole Lim paints a picture of strength and God's overwhelming love for humankind. It is a testament of faith that transcends culture, economic status, and race. As women, each of us can see ourselves. I was captivated by each and every word and reminded of how resilient we truly are when we allow miracles to overtake us."
"In Liberation Is Here Nikole gives us a vivid and inspiring lens on what it's like to walk alongside those who are marginalized in their pursuit of liberation. These are stories of hope serving as evidence that healing happens when we are courageous enough to move beyond our comfort zones and do something that terrifies us in the beginning. Both compelling and convicting, the stories Nikole shares about serving with survivors of sexual violence not only allow a glimpse into the lives of these amazing young women but encourage us to look at ourselves and ask hard questions about our willingness to trust God amid what may appear to be impossible odds. Liberation Is Here is just that, powerful proofs through stories about what it looks like when people are willing to do the uncomfortable, hard work of healing. This is not just a book about what it takes to help heal others. As humbling experiences with the 'oppressed' expose our wounds, Nikole allows us to see what happens when we realize that we are also in need of healing."
"Nikole Lim's journey is a reminder of the power of storytelling. It highlights critical elements, such as the importance of establishing a person's safety, the integrative function of narrating trauma in this safe environment, and the importance of meaning making and relationships in healing from trauma. I experienced a whole range of emotions—crying, laughing, cheering, anger—reading Liberation Is Here. This book helped me reprocess many personal and client experiences. Thank you for sharing your story, Nikole. This is a must-read for anyone working with survivors of trauma!"
"Nikole Lim allows us to see into a world foreign and distant to many of us. . . . With the telling of every story she allows us to find our calloused hearts loosened. There are no easy answers here, but we find ourselves as in her words, beginning to allow ourselves 'to love amidst difficult places.' Thank you, Nikole, for taking us into the places where God can ask us, 'Where are you?' This is a profound telling of story, and Nikole's is a profound work in the world."
"Liberation Is Here is painfully and beautifully written. At various points while reading the book, I would clutch my shirt, gently moving my hands over the left side of my chest where my heart is . . . as if to reassure myself that although these stories might hurt, they are not only stories about pain. In some of the most harrowing stories, I was forced to permit a smile and appreciate the precious and sacred nature of what was being shared. This book is a reminder that the work of justice and healing is as much a personal and internal journey as it is a sociopolitical and external journey. Perhaps the greatest offering that Nikole and the Freely in Hope scholars give us is their commitment to telling the truth, even when it is does not look, sound, or feel good. The truth-telling in this book is not simply a matter of facts to be repeated but also of authority to be reclaimed, joy to be rediscovered, self-ownership to be exercised, and the kind of generosity of spirit that only healing healers can offer. It is a privilege to endorse this labor of love by Nikole Lim."
"Nikole Lim uses her skills as a filmmaker and invites us to see with our hearts and minds what liberation could look like on earth as it is in heaven. Lim challenges us to see and name the brokenness not as an abstract concept out there but within the world we live in and in our own lives, and it is beautiful, haunting, and convicting."
"For all those working for a more just and beautiful world, this book is a must-read. In the stories of survivors, you will recognize your own story. You will find not only practical lessons for leadership but the presence of joy, freedom, and radical imagination—the presence of God."
Table of Contents
1. She Reminds Me of You
2. A Common Thread
3. Caught Unaware
4. Where Are You?
5. Not A Voice for the Voiceless
6. Education Is Not the Key
7. Playing the Role
8. Cinematic Imagination
9. Lusaka Heat
10. Low Cost or High Cost
11. Healed in Killing Fields
12. Body Work
13. We Are Graduating
14. Tuko Pamoja?
15. Invisible Wounds
16. Call Me by My Name
17. On Retreat
18. Beauty in Brokenness
19. Here Am I