I’ve heard every possible story. In addition to hearing the stories of the women who come into our bible study for sexual healing, people email me from all over the world. Just when I think I couldn’t possibly hear anything worse, someone shares the unimaginable with me. The evil that people do to one another must break and grieve God’s heart, the One who made us in His image, and created us precious in His sight. I know, because it desperately breaks my heart to hear the pain, humiliation and evil people have caused these precious women who share their hearts with me.
I’ve discovered after working with hundreds of women that regardless of the cause of their sexual wounding—whether from abuse, trauma as in rape, sex-trafficking or from their own choices, they all experience shame. They all believe that somehow they were to blame. They feel that they caused it, they allowed it, they wanted it, they deserved it, they were stupid for falling for it—on and on the lies go.
It’s often the shame that keeps us from taking the first step towards healing. First, because we don’t want to share our story with anyone—for we’re sure others will confirm how we feel about ourselves. And second because the shame tells us that we’re not worthy of healing—not after all we’ve done, or allowed others to do to us. We believe that that is all we’re good for and that we’ll never deserve any better.
Doesn’t that sound hopeless? So sad? This is one of the biggest lies I hear, and it’s a lie from the pit of hell.
Regardless of what has happened to us, whether our sexuality was robbed from us, whether we were abused, used, or we willingly gave our virginity away, we are worth everything to God. We were worth our Savior’s sacrifice of His life, and regardless of how we’re treated, or what others say, God is the One who determines our worth.
It’s His opinion alone that matters. And He finds us loveable, worthy, precious and best of all, He wants us. He wants to know us, love us, be with us, and share His life with us. Sometimes that’s hard to believe if everyone in our life has wanted us for their own selfish motives. But you can trust God. He will never hurt you, abuse you or betray you.
One young woman, Alexa, had been gang raped by some boys she thought were friends. The one friend had invited her over to his place between classes, and there waiting were for her were the other guys. She was alone, vulnerable, without a chance of escape. I was horrified by her story. But it was the next words out of her mouth that I’ll never forget.
“It was all my fault,” she asserted, as if I must surely agree.
Taken aback, I replied, “How could gang-rape possibly be your fault?”
“Because,” she assumed, “I shouldn’t have been so stupid to trust him.”
Can you hear it? The shame, guilt, responsibility? She was angrier at herself than those who’d violated her. And because she believed she was to blame, she never told anyone for the next three years.
Healing from Trauma
For those of us who haven’t experienced sexual abuse, we find it hard to imagine that anyone who’s experienced sexual abuse as a child could believe that the abuse was their fault. But I hear it over and over. In fact the first step of healing for the sexual abuse victim is to recognize and acknowledge that the abuse was against their will, and not their fault regardless of how their bodies responded. They did not want it, no matter what their perpetrator said. They did not deserve it, they were not to blame. Often the beginning and hardest step of healing is transferring the blame they’ve carried, from themselves to the where it belongs—on him or her who exposed them to sex, and used them for their pleasure.
With current rates of sexual abuse by age 18 at one in three to four girls and one in six boys, I know that many of you have experienced this trauma. And my guess is that most of you have resisted God’s call to pursue healing—maybe because of the very lies I’ve mentioned here. It’s time to say yes to God. It’s time to let Him heal your wounds and set you free from the lies surrounding your abuse.
You’ve suffered long enough. The shame and pain is keeping you stuck–spiritually, emotionally and physically from becoming all that God created you to be. There’s a world waiting to meet you…the real you. Not the one shrouded with lies and shame. But the you that only God knows. The you He died for so you could be free to love, live and serve with total abandon. I believe that although your heart’s desire is to help set others free, maybe God’s heart is to first set you free. Isn’t it time?
You don’t have to face this alone: Email a mentor