SEXUAL ASSALT & RAPE RECOVERY

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LEARN: THE ABC'S OF RESPONSE TO SEXUAL ASSAULT AND RAPE  

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RESCUED, REDEEMED & RESTORED

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

Recovering from sexual assault takes time, and the healing process can be painful. You can regain your sense of control, rebuild your self-worth, and learn to heal.  Regardless of age or gender, the impact of sexual violence goes far beyond any physical injuries. The trauma of being raped or sexually assaulted can be shattering, leaving you feeling scared, ashamed, and alone or plagued by nightmares, flashbacks, and other unpleasant memories. The world doesn’t feel like a safe place anymore. You no longer trust others. You don’t even trust yourself. You may question your judgment, your self-worth, and even your sanity. You may blame yourself for what happened or believe that you’re “dirty” or “damaged goods.”

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3

The statistics are staggering. The consequences are critical. God’s Word provides practical help for dealing with this destructive societal downfall. In the Women of Faith resources, discover how God’s truth can equip you with right thinking, and learn how His unfailing love can mend the broken heart.  God will comfort you and give you hope in your life and spiritual challenges, and guide you to know what to do. 

  • Rape is sexual intercourse by threat, force, or deception. 
  • Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a female or male under the legal age of consent, with or without force. 
  • Aggravated sexual assault is a legal term used in the prosecution of a statutory rape offense. It also applies to the visible display of a weapon or the threat of death or kidnapping to anyone above statutory age. 
  • Stranger rape is forced sexual intercourse by one who is unknown to the victim. 
  • Mate rape or spousal rape is defined as forced sexual relations by a husband. 

“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” 

(Psalm 119:28) 

 

The 3 Stages to Recovery 

1. The Trauma Stage: 

For approximately two days to two weeks, the victim is in a crisis. (Psalm 4:8) 

2. The Teetering Stage: 

For a year or longer, perhaps until death, the victim will seesaw up and down, sometimes suppressing emotions and sometimes surfacing emotions. (Proverbs 29:25) 

3. The Trusting Stage: 

The victim views the incident with a balanced perspective—not trusting everyone, but selecting trustworthy friends. The victim doesn’t trust all circumstances, but trusts God, who is over all circumstances. (Proverbs 3:5–6) 

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” 

(Psalm 147:3) 

ABCs of Response to Rape 

  • Assure your own safety. (Read Psalm 23.) 
    • Relax. 
    • Breathe deeply. 
    • Wrap yourself in a warm blanket. 
    • Repeat positive self-talk. 

“The Lord is my shepherd ... I will fear no evil” 

(Psalm 23:1, 4)

  • Begin a support system of help. 
    • Report incident to the police. (In order to preserve physical evidence, do not wash or shower.) 
    • Ask a friend to take you for medical care to check for injuries and/or venereal diseases. 
    • Seek legal advice to learn the rights of rape victims. 

“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge” 

(Proverbs 23:12)

  • Call on others for emotional support. 
    • Call someone you trust. 
    • Call a rape crisis center. 
    • Seek professional counseling. 

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” 

(Proverbs 18:24). 

Tell Yourself the Truth

Lie: “I just can’t get through this.”

Truth: The Lord, your God, will walk with you all the way through to the end. (Isaiah 43:2)

 

Lie: “I will always feel dirty.”

Truth: A dirty-minded person did something despicable to you, but you are not dirty! Every day, claim your true identity in Christ—you are holy and without blemish. (Colossians 1:22)

 

Lie: “I feel totally alone. God’s not even here with me.” 

Truth: When you allow Christ inside your heart, you are never alone. As you wake up every morning, repeat this passage to God. (Lamentations 3:22–23) 

 

Lie: “No one will want to marry me.” 

Truth: Until the Lord brings a husband into your life, He promises to be your husband, your provider, your protector. (Isaiah 54:5) 

 

Lie: “I will never want sexual intimacy. My memories are too painful.” 

Truth: The Lord is able to heal all emotional hurt, no matter how severe the memories. (Jeremiah 17:14) 

 

Lie: “My life is now too damaged to ever be used by God.” 

Truth: You can now have compassion for those who have experienced the same trauma. You can now reach out with true care and compassion. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4) 

 

Lie: “I will always be consumed by fear.”

Truth: All people experience fear when their lives are truly in danger; that is normal. But the Lord will deliver you from excessive fear because of His presence within you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

 

Lie: “I have no hope for the future.”

Truth: Because God is a God of hope, your future is safe in His hands. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Practical Dos and Don’ts When Helping a Rape Victim 

Don’t...

 react with shock or horror. 

Do... 

Respond with compassion. 

 

Don’t... 

suggest the victim could have avoided it. 

Do... 

Affirm that the victim is not at fault in any way. 

 

Don’t...

ask for details of the incident. 

Do ... 

Suggest the victim write down the details for authorities. 

 

Don’t...

 press the victim to initiate immediate forgiveness. 

Do... 

Refer the victim to professional counseling. 

 

Don’t...

criticize choices or decisions made by the victim.

Do ... 

Strongly suggest the victim report the crime.

 

Don’t...

 infer that this was God’s chastisement for sin.

Do ...

Encourage medical treatment.

“[There is] a time to be silent and a time to speak.” 

(Ecclesiastes 3:7)

 

Practical Precautions Away from Home

  • Trust your instincts, and exercise caution whenever you sense danger.
  • Look confident and assured when walking.
  • Check the backseat of your car before getting in. 
  • Have your keys ready to unlock car doors quickly, and lock them again immediately as you get in. 
  • Park in busy, well-lit parking lots. 
  • If leaving shopping malls late at night, ask the security guard to walk you to your car. 
  • Beware of staged incidents and requests for help.  

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”

(Proverbs 22:3) 

 

Practical Precautions at Home 

  • Install a reliable security system. 
  • Install dead bolt locks on all outside doors. 
  • Install a peephole in the front door. 
  • Do not open the door to anyone you are not expecting. 
  • Install electrical timers for lights to come on when you’re not at home. 

“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.”

 (Proverbs 28:26)

The Sacrifice of Suffering 

  • Seek, through prayer, God’s supernatural help to overcome the negative consequences of rape. (1 John 5:14–15) 
  • Understand that Christians are not immune to tragedy, but are called to suffering. (1 Peter 2:21) 
  • Forgive the offender and leave the revenge to God. (Ask God for the power of Christ to do this in you—you cannot do it yourself.) (Romans 12:19) 
  • Forgive others involved. (Colossians 3:13) 
  • Exchange your old identity for your new identity in the person of Christ. (Philippians 3:7–9) 
  • Remember, the Lord is your Shepherd. (Psalm 23:1–6) 
  • Incorporate reading and meditating on Scripture along with listening to praise music as a daily habit. (Isaiah 26:3) 
  • Notice and encourage others around you who are hurting. Your sensitivity and compassion for others will be a blessing to them and healing to you. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4) 
  • Glorify Christ by allowing His splendor to be displayed through you. (Isaiah 49:1–3)

 

“How can I go on with my life since I’ve been raped? God seems far away.” 

We are all impacted by our past and God doesn’t want us impaired by our past. Rape is a sin, and God hates sin. So God hates what has happened to you. He knows your heart has been traumatized. It’s natural for your heart to feel numb. The Lord is not far away from you.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 

(Psalm 34:18) 

 

“How can I ever trust any man again after having been raped?”

Be aware of a tendency that many people experience after trauma: they overgeneralize. For you, that means ascribing one man’s sin to all men. There are godly men as well as ungodly men, just as there are godly women and ungodly women. Many trustworthy men today have followed in the footsteps of Job, making a covenant before God to remain sexually pure.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” 

(Job 31:1)

 

Key Verse to Learn 

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 

(Psalm 34:18)

 

Key Passage to Read

Psalm 37

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