Now, before I begin this blog, may I announce a couple of things.
RAINN: RAPE ABUSE & INCEST NATIONAL NETWORK:
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673)
(Live Chat is also available on the website)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LINE:
THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE:
(Live Chat is also available on the website)
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE
(Live Chat is also available on the website)
CRISIS TEXT LINE
TEXT 741741 (USA ONLY)
I can feel the multiple chains of ligaments tensing in your body as you silently hope this sentence finds with hungry eyes an imaginary exit sign. Do not fear. We’ll make it through this. I would like to address this subject today not only because of the existing ignorance that dwells upon society, but also for your own good. Let’s break some barriers and lift the rug. I’ve brought brooms; one for you and one for me. The Swiffers are ready to encounter dust and any amount of lies hidden there. I’ve brought a flashlight too just in case things get difficult to decipher by the naked eye. The first step was speaking out on the abuse and telling someone you trust. I hope and pray that you did. Now, we know what happened, but we downplay it because we don’t understand the depth of it.
What is one of the most repeated thoughts in a survivor’s head? “It was not as bad as so and so’s experience.” It doesn’t matter what you experienced, it doesn’t mean its impact is less. Let’s unpack that. Many people have different experiences of sexual abuse. It’s not just “one way”.
First Misconception: Sexual Abuse is experienced in only one way.
This is False. There’s many ways a person can be sexually abused. An individual does not have be naked to experience this type of violation. What are some elements that are included in sexual abuse? You’d be surprised. When I use the term exposed, I mean as in being watched.
Second Misconception: It hurts physically.
In many cases this can be physically painful for the victim. On the other hand, there are people that have not experienced physical pain during the abuse. This is mostly because abuser distorts the nature of sex and instead of inflicting pain they try to produce pleasure. Why is this so? Well if the perpetrator gets away with the abuse, the victim will be called a liar because he or she has no physical marks of resistance.
Third Misconception: The victim didn’t speak up because he or she enjoyed it.
This is so false, and it makes my heart so heavy to think that some individuals can arrive at such erroneous conclusion. We must understand that the body was designed for pleasure within the confinement of marriage. If a person’s body responds in a certain way during the act, it does not mean the person wanted this abuse to happen. In addition, many people don’t confess this until they’re older. Many like me, were threatened by the abuser. Such threats include: manipulating the truth to other adults, withdrawing affection, money and time from the victim, more intense sexual acts, etc. The person that abused me threatened to tell my dad I was a liar and that she would do it again to me. Some don’t tell because the brain suppressed the memories This also happened to me. We will discuss memory suppression in another blog.
Fourth Misconception: This only happens to women.
Again, this is false. Many men have experienced rape, molestation, and sexual assault in their lives and remain silent due to shame and fear of being humiliated. Many men that have been abused, abuse. Hurt people hurt people. Now, this does not mean that all men that were sexually abused go around abusing others. If you’re a man reading this and have been through this, I want to let you know that there is hope and you are not alone.
Fifth Misconception: Only men abuse sexually.
No. Women can abuse too. Women can abuse males and females. Males can abuse males and females.
Sixth Misconception: Only strangers do this.
If we’re going to rely on the overly dramatic films that were shown in the 80’s, then we will never fully comprehend how serious is this epidemic. In the 80s, movies portrayed white vans and creepy old men with face masks hanging out around playgrounds searching to kidnap random children. Can this happen in 2017? Absolutely. Nevertheless, that’s not the only kind of abuser we must be aware of. The people that are closest to us can be pedophiles, have severe sexual disorders and wrong appetites. These types of people don’t wear a face mask, hang around playgrounds, kidnap random children and is not necessarily a male. Who can abuse children, teenagers, and even adults?
Seventh Misconception: Sexual Abuse is not in the church.
Yes, it happens in church too. Please find someone you can trust if this happened to you. If you were abused in your childhood by a “church person” you might have encountered fear because of many reasons. Maybe the church where you grew up in was based on a very strict doctrine and may I suggest legalistic? Maybe you felt as if no one would believe you. Hey I do! And many other people do! And there is help for you too. If you are experiencing this at your church, I would tell you to first find someone you can trust and if you must, call the police. If you don’t know who you can trust, ask the Holy Spirit. He can show you who to trust. However, some of you wouldn’t do so because you might be mad at God. I understand. I will also write another blog regarding what God thinks about sexual abuse and what does the bible says about it. Remember: Just because the bible records sexual abuse, it does not mean that God endorses that type of behavior.
Eight Misconception: You can’t be married and be experiencing sexual abuse.
F is for false and for F minus. This happens too much unfortunately. I know of friends who are married, go to church, and have been through this. Ephesians 5:22 and 1 Corinthians 7:3 are two verses that if used out of context, can be the “green light” for forcing a spouse to have sex. To understand the context of these verses, it would be beneficial to read Ephesians 5 verses 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29. I thought about discussing this matter in another blog since it can become lengthy in this one. If a man is submitted to live by the standards of Jesus Christ would he be volatile, aggressive, manipulative, and abusive towards his wife? Obviously not, friend. Ephesians 5:25-27 says that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church. A healthy marriage consists of desiring to honor, respect and please each other in the way God designed it to be. There’s many things about this that I can’t expand on since I am not married. However, if you’re married and you’re going through this, it’s not okay! Communication is the key for great relationships, not coercion. Find a friend. Look for help. You are not alone.
Ninth Misconception: Sexual abuse only occurs when a victim is unconscious.
This is not true. While in many cases the victim was either under the influence of drugs and alcohol (voluntary or not voluntary), this gives no reason for a person to take advantage of the situation. Some experienced touching while being asleep. Others were fully aware of everything without being under the influence of drugs. Most survivors that were fully conscious were ‘groomed’ into participation. Grooming is a process in which the abuser tries to gain the trust of the person by getting to know their emotional, physical, spiritual, and sexual needs. After having a basic knowledge of that, they try to meet their needs and then start the process of abuse. I will talk about that in another blog.
Tenth Misconception: The victim caused it.
This is the most vicious lie a survivor can believe. It doesn’t matter how the person was dressed when this happened, it was not the victim’s fault. The perpetrator sinned against the person. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t met anyone who walks around announcing: “Hey human beings! I want to be robbed, betrayed, lied to, and severely traumatized for the rest of my life!” Unlikely.
There are so many elements of this topic that I will be discussing throughout this blog. I won’t share my experience with this topic, because to be honest it’s quite disturbing and disgusting what was done to me. I know other people can discuss it and kudos for them because they can connect better with others. Hopefully, this can help you understand that whatever was done to you is not put on a scale or measured with a yardstick. Do not downplay what was done to you. You deserve to express your anger, sadness, grief, and frustration in a healthy way. Belittling the experience equals suppressing your emotions. Yes, probably your story is worse than mine, but did the abuse cause trauma in both of us? Yes.
If you need hope and need something to believe in, click here.
See! That wasn’t so bad. I’m proud of you for getting this far. There’s nothing better than a clean rug! If you’re still tense and feeling awkward, you should probably use some IcyHot on your shoulder to relax. If you think this can help someone please share. Let’s pray.
Thank you for your presence and concern for those who have experienced any type of sexual abuse and or assault. We pray that everyone reading this can experience the healing light of your love. We pray for every person that has survivor friends. We pray that they would be rooted and established in love, so that they can give that same love to others. We pray for the healing comfort of the Holy Spirit; to mend broken hearts and spirits. We thank you in advance for open eyes and clear perspectives. We thank you for healing in advance. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.