Q&A: Sexual Assault and Abuse

Introduction

We received an email from a woman who shared with us some of her painful story of having been raped. In order to protect her privacy I will not quote her email, but she was asking why we hadn’t spoken more about this topic on our blog seeing as so many women have endured similar experiences and also how to develop a healthy sex life in marriage after enduring painful sexual experiences like this.

The primary reason that we do not have more articles devoted to this topic is because of the three current authors who write here, we have not experienced this. I have attempted to speak to women who have experienced sexual abuse of various sorts to see if they could give some insight into this for our readers, but understandably so it is not an easy topic to be interviewed about and I respect how difficult it would be to talk about when you know that your answers will be read by thousands.

So even now I hesitate in knowing where this article will go, but I prayerfully step out and invite the Holy Spirit to be our guide as we discuss this sensitive issue. I may not know the pain of having been sexually abused, but I know the One who knows us both and His Spirit is in me so I will gently step out and hopefully give some wisdom about this very important subject.

A Picture of Marriage

Married sexuality can be complicated even without the painful circumstances of sexual assault and abuse so what do we do when we come into marriage having experienced these things? How do we position ourselves so that married sexuality can be what God intended it to be when our purity was stolen, our sexual boundaries were disrespected and people who were supposed to protect us, didn’t? I think one healthy position to take looks like this. You and your husband and God standing in a circle. You are firmly hanging on to the hand of God and the hand of your husband, and your husband is hanging on to the hand of God and, of course, you, too. This community between you does a couple of things. First of all, it allows the wisdom and heart of God to be with your husband so that he can speak truth to you. It is very important for husbands who married a person who was sexually abused in some way to have a heart connection to the Lord. More importantly, though, this circle firmly connects you to the Lord and your husband.

The Trust Factor

If you have been broken because of a known or unknown person violating your authority over your own sexuality, for a healthy, strong marriage bed to be available to you, it will be important for you to be able to trust your husband and God. So that is where I would encourage you to begin. Ask yourself, “Do I trust God? Do I trust my husband?” And if you come to the conclusion that you don’t then do not allow that to fill you with self condemnation and guilt. All the Lord needs in order for redemption to be released for us is honesty. We need to be honest with ourselves and honest with Him. Trust isn’t something we can force ourselves to do. It builds as we get to know people. Many times in the Bible, the Lord tells us to test His character. He is not insecure about who He is so He invites us through relationship to see if He really is who He says He is.

One of the strongest points of distrust for those who have been abused in some way is, “Where were you when THAT happened, Lord?” And that is a very fair question. I would encourage you to not be afraid to ask Him that. I spoke with one young woman who had been assaulted and she shared about how God answered that question for her and it was a very healing moment for her. The Lord, in the way that only He can, took her fragile heart in His hands and spoke truth to her. After years of psychotherapy because of the assault, 10 minutes of asking the Lord this and other related questions about it brought her amazing healing. I do not believe God causes any of our suffering and I used to wonder why He stood by and seemed inactive during painful situations in our lives. I invite you to join me in the journey of asking God why questions. As long as our heart’s motivation in asking is because of a desire for wisdom from Him, I have seen His pure delight at answering all my why questions. While I don’t believe that God caused your abuse or allowed for a redeeming purpose, now that it has happened, if you give Him the freedom to He will not waste the opportunity to bring His awesome restoration and redemption. I hope the distinction there is clear. Rather than approaching Him believing that he was standing there endorsing the act/acts so that you could one day become a stronger person for it, He was standing there weeping and hoping that one day you would come to Him so that you didn’t have to carry the wounding all your life.

Now trusting your husband could be difficult for a different reason. Your husband is imperfect and it is unreasonable to put your trust in the idea that he will never disappoint or fail you. So where should we put our trust in this case? If you have married a man who is devoted to becoming like Jesus, you put your trust in the process of sanctification in both of your lives which ultimately brings us back to trusting the Lord since He is the one who empowers us by His Spirit to become holy. You trust that even if your husband fails you, that he still fundamentally desires to love you as Christ loves the Church.

If you have not told your husband about the abuse I would encourage you to do so. Because it effects married sexuality so strongly, he likely already knows that something isn’t right and if you can find the courage to talk to him about your past it would help to bring insight to him so that he could be an advocate and support to you. Ask him to respect your boundaries on how many details you feel comfortable sharing and be clear with him if he has a “fix it” tendency, that you are not asking him to make this all better. He needs you to be clear with him about exactly what you are looking for from him.

The Forgiveness Factor

For the sexual relationship in your marriage to have deep intimacy, I need to take the time to talk about the importance of forgiveness. What does forgiveness look like when there has been no repentance on the part of those who abused you? What does it look like when the anger, sadness and fear inside you is so strong that the weight of it crushes you? What does it look like when having been a victim of sexual assault or abuse feels like a core part of your identity?

As I said, I haven’t needed to process forgiveness for this particular grievance, but I have had to process forgiveness for other deeply painful situations and abusive relationships. Without going into all the details, the example I had for an earthly father was very poor and so I have gone through years of forgiveness over what I witnessed during my years growing up. When our hearts are wounded so deeply, forgiveness isn’t usually a one time thing. The pain gets exposed in layers sometimes and all God asks is that with each layer, we come to Him and ask Him to lead us through it.

I am not sure whether or not this is an understood concept or not, but in case it isn’t I want to take the time to outline what forgiveness is NOT. It is not saying that what happened was okay. It does not require you to trust the person who abused you or to have relationship with them. And it does not mean that what you experienced didn’t matter.

What it means is that you give up to the Lord your right to avenge the wrong doing. Did you know that by not forgiving them you keep them bound up in the chains of their sin? That may sound good to have so much power over them after what they did, but the problem is that it keeps you in chains too, and you are also chained to them. What it will do is continue to allow the situation to have power over the freedom of your soul and it will have a direct influence on how you look at your husband. So hand those chains over to Jesus and place the cross of Jesus between you and those who abused you. Then your healing can begin.

The Healing Factor

I would really encourage you to draw close to the Lord in this process of forgiveness and healing, and I want to introduce a concept that may or may not be familiar to you. About 10 years ago I learned how to ask the Lord specific questions about my painful memories and how to invite His truth to them. The result is that as I have found more and more freedom from the pain of those memories, I have also grown a very intimate love relationship with Jesus. When He speaks his truth to us, the lies we believed about those situations are broken.

It is very easy for satan to submit lies for truth when we are faced with a painful situation. Lying is what he does best and so he takes every opportunity he can to rob us of truth by twisting our perception of what is happening in our lives. We are most vulnerable to this when we are in the midst of emotional trauma. Some common lies which get planted through sexual abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • “I am not worthy of love.”
  • “I am ugly.”
  • “I am bad.”
  • “I am alone.”
  • “People are not trustworthy.”
  • “I am guilty.”

Can you see how these lies would interfere in a marriage relationship? Sometimes the lies we come to believe have a portion of truth to them and we need to invite Jesus to those, too. Now, there is no exact formula for this process of listening the the voice of Jesus for healing so the best thing to do is just follow His lead. If you can find a local ministry that does this sort of prayer counselling, it would be really good to be able to do this with someone else, but you can certainly do it on your own too.

I would encourage you to sit down in prayer with Jesus and ask him to come into that memory with you. If it was not a single occurrence, but happened on an ongoing basis, ask Him where He wants to take you. If it is too painful to go to a memory of the abuse, ask Him to take you in your imagination to a “safe place.” Common safe places are the scene of Psalm 23, mountain tops, His throne room… it’s endless. So just spend some time being with Jesus in that place. You can ask Him all sorts of questions and some good questions to ask him about the assault include, but are not limited to:

  • “Jesus, I know you never leave me, so where were you in this memory when I couldn’t see you?”
  • “What were you doing?”
  • “What did I believe about this?”
  • “How did you feel?”
  • “What is your truth for me about this memory?”
  • “Would you plant that truth in my heart and seal it?”

These questions are about relationship so stay on each one until you have peace from Jesus about those things. He wants to release the power of what He did on the cross for the salvation of our whole beings; body, soul and spirit. It takes a lot of courage to approach Jesus with these memories and it is a great risk to leave it with him, but once you have processed a layer of your pain a great ending question is, “What is your promise or gift for me?” He wants to do more than just take away your pain. He wants you to thrive in the essence of who He has made you to be. If you can trust Him, He will do more than you can imagine to bring you through this and to free you from having to carry this pain.

If you can not locate Churches or ministries in your area that have a focused ministry in this sort of  prayer, I still would encourage you to seek out biblical counsellors or Christian sex therapists (American Board of Christian Sex Therapists) to help you process and gain perspective about the abuse. There are also some really amazing faith-based support groups and ministries that have been set up to help women who were victims of rape or sexual abuse. It’s just taking that step to find out what is out there that is scary, and understandably so, but with so many women having endured this and with many of them coming out the other side healed, those women have been able to reach out and now help other women who are where they were.

Your road of healing is going to have a “God fingerprint” that is unique to you. Your story is different as is your personality and walk with Him. Trust Him, and let Him lead you to a healed and restored heart.

The Marriage Bed Factor

The reason why all that I have said is important is because the process of becoming free from the wounding of your past allows you to have the freedom to give yourself fully to your husband, and it also allows you to receive love from him without having to hold a caution sign over your heart. The two of you will both be free to enjoy the intimacy in marriage if you are not living as a victim of your past.

As in every other hurdle in marriage, it will be very important for the two of you to learn how to communicate well. Be sure that you remain committed to pursuing respectful conversations without allowing your past to have authority over how you behave and respond today.

I know that this is not an easy process, but I do firmly believe that if you stay connected, as in that circle picture above, to your husband and the Lord that you are going to be able to have a thriving sex life with your husband. That’s what redemption is all about. It’s taking the trash that we experience in our lives, whether we chose it or it was thrust upon us, and coming out on the other side of it shining. And you know, where you have overcome, you then have the authority to release that freedom to others too.

I hope that what I have shared is helpful and if you disagree with me or your heart can not receive it that you would extend grace to me. I have vulnerably shared some of the most intimate aspects of my love relationship with Jesus and I pray that it will be released as a seed of hope that grows into freedom in your heart, like the woman in the picture on our homepage. So ladies, please share whatever you can in the comment section. This is a safe place for you.

32 Comments

  1. I was raped when I was thirteen, and am dealing with infertility as a result of those things. I think you did well in laying out the steps to having a healthy marital relationship. I love what you said about your prayer life, thank you for being so honest and vulnerable! I would also add that women who have had a past of sexual abuse should seek counseling if they have not, either alone or with their husband.

  2. I was sexually abused by my half-brother starting at the age of 10 and step-brother as a teenager. My mom chooses not to recognize or deal with the abuse. I grew up in a home where no one ever really told me not to have sex before marriage. This I think was do to the fact that I was born out of wedlock and my mom and biological father didn’t marry until I was a year old and divorced by time I was around 6 years old. My biological father was very abusive to my mom. I witnessed him try to kill my mom 3 times by the time I was 5. This lead to a very promiscuous life as teenager and an unplanned pregnancy at 19. My child was adopted by a wonderful christian couple that God put in my life. I met my future husband a year after this at work. When I saw him God told me he was the one for me. This relationship was different from all the others I had had I past. We had become friends at work over 4 to 5 month. He did ask me out until I quit working there. We were engaged a month later. But due to circumstances didn’t marry until 3 years later. My DH told me that the first time he was me at work he knew I was the one for him. He also told me that God told him that I had been hurt very badly nad would need a lot of love and care. So when I told my DH about my past before we were married he was not upset about and was willing to work throught it with me. I thank God for such a wonderful husband. The biggest problem we face with my abuse came when our daughter was born 4 and a 1/2 years ago after 13 years of marriage. It made me come face to face with my past. My DH and I went through counceling together and got through it. Now our marriag is even stronger and the sex is even better.

  3. Hello HisPrincess,
    My heart cried as I read your post. I grieved for your girlhood which was so damaged. Then I got down to your heart-building current circumstances and I realized once again that our God is the most wonderful person in the world.

    There is always room for hope in this life and this morning, you have PUMPED me bigtime towards never accepting defeat regardless of what happens in our lives.

    May our Lord Jesus Christ continue to strengthen and bless you with many more people to love and befriend you. Adore your baby girl with all your heart. Love her with the love your mother has never given you. Your sweetheart deserves all of your mommy cuddles and kisses.

    Love on your darling gift of a husband, especially, this weekend. Let him know how much of a miracle he is in your life.
    Men understand physical love and that special ‘look’ from their woman which other females give them but their own woman can freely deliver ! Go deliver some special wife candy to your man this weekend 😉
    Thanks for the boost to my faith this morning. Positive women like you make my day.

  4. Thanks for the reply. God gave me to special gifts in my DH and daughter. Plus he knew enough to give me a son as our first born, who turns 10 today. My daughters love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation. She is always hugging me and telling me she loves me. It is great. And God me the great DH who I am always willing to deliver so special wife candy, especially for all he has had to deal with.

  5. i really appreciate this article. while i’ve never been sexually molested, i have been used and abused by a leader at church and have found that walking out forgiveness is a very difficult task that affects many areas of your life. i like how you wrote that the pain gets exposed in layers and forgiveness isn’t a one time thing. i’ve struggled over the last year and a half with forgiving this person and moving on only to have it crop back up later and having to deal with it all over again. thank-you for the encouragement to keep walking it out.

  6. I was severely sexually abused at ages 4 by family friends and 6 by a family member, then molested at a park by a stranger at age 7. I’m now 39 and about 5 years ago I realized I had been in depression all my life and that what was in my head were lies and not normal. I told God I wanted the truth and to be free. I so desired a closer walk with Him and didn’t want anything separating me from Him. I also knew my heart was blocked from being able to fully receive my husbands love. I went through prayer ministry with friends trained through Elijah House then did EMDR with a counselor through our medical insurance. Both were instrumental in my healing. I asked God, “Where were you?” and he showed me He was always there and did actually intervene at one point. Also I was bluntly honest with Him and he just held me and told me He already knew what I needed to say to Him. (I was raised that good little girls don’t get mad at God.) There’s nothing He doesn’t already know.

    In my experience trauma therapy can make you feel worse before getting better. DON’T GIVE UP. The fight is so worth it and I can finally see in my husbands eyes when he tells me he loves me he really means it. I am a better mother and friend too.

  7. “In my experience trauma therapy can make you feel worse before getting better. ”

    i am so glad you got help, so many do not.

    it is also very common that people initially seem to do worse in therapy. in the case of severe depression people often cannot do anything but lay in bed when they are really depressed. it is when they START to get better that they become a danger to themselves. it actually takes a while before people really heal.

  8. A lot of you have read my post above on what happened to me and my therapy. I still deal with my issues from time to time. While in therapy with my DH and our first counselor. (don’t be afraid to change counselors if the fit isn’t right) We were do hypnosis and I was learning to go to my safe place I had a Jesus encounter. Instead of going to my safe white room, Jesus took me to a field of beautiful flowers. In this field he told He told me “everything will be ok.” This personal encounter gave me the courage to to finally face what had happen and start my recovery and truely start the forgiveness process. With our new counselor, I worked through the book and workbook, The Wounded Heart by Dr Dan Allender. Dr. Allender is christian counselor who specializes in sexual abuse. He also trained my counselor. I would highly recommend this book to any one who has been abused. I had read many books on the subject plus books on being the adult child of an alcoholic. This did the best at explaining the issues and the worbook at helping me work through them. It showed me thing I had not thought of yet need to be dealt with. The book and workbook even helped me talk to my DH about what I had been through and help him better understand how the abuse made me the way iI was. But that through counseling and God’s help we could change things and we did.

  9. i was molested as a young girl around age 4-6. my little bro was in the hospital a lot and my mom left me w/ a couple of babysitters whose older sons did this to me. it made me draw into a shell completely. i became extremely shy. i never told anyone. i didn’t trust anyone. i have always to this day looked at people sideways wondering what’s the other side of their personality theyre hiding? what’s his/her ulterior motive? what’s behind that smile?

    it completely turned me off to sex. the male anatomy was nothing i wanted to see nor touch. sex was a dirty thing, a secret thing, a twisted desire. i wouldn’t wear dresses or skirts at all throughout my entire school career, including college. i had no problem waiting until i met a prince charming b/c i wasn’t that comfortable around guys anyway. they were not getting in these pants. i had never even touched my own genitalia until i was 18 yrs old. i never even looked at my own genitalia until years AFTER i had my first child.

    now, at age 27, it still bothers me. i recently realized that the thoughts of my past abuse do cross my mind at some point every day. the only thing that really keeps bugging me is wondering if those same 2 guys are still doing the same thing to other little girls. it bugs me so bad. i want to find them and prosecute them just for that so they can’t do it to anybody else. another little girl may not be as strong as i am or as blessed as i was to be raised in a christian household learning about god and strength and moving on w/ life. that’s what bothers me the most

    i finally met a distinguished, godly man who embraced my classiness and strong willed spirit. he loved me for that and married me. that’s how he viewed me b/c of how i was. he didn’t know at first that i was completely and adamantly against sex for what i viewed as being just for some man’s gratification.

    there’s an inner struggle sometimes. he continues telling me how beautiful i am and how perfect i am. reminding me that he was first attracted to my mind and femininity. reminding me that he’s my husband not someone taking advantage of my body, not someone using me. that’s just how i think sometimes about sex but i block it out b/c i am married to a wonderful and perfect man that’s crazy about me. i have to block it out b/c that’s my past and it has nothing to do w/ mike. he deserves the best b/c he gives me the best

  10. I would recommend reading and working through Dr Dan Allender, book and workbook, The Wounded Heart. If you have never been through any counseling or even if you have I highly recommend working through this book and workbook and discussing with your DH. This book will help you with both iissues you are dealing with.

    I will be praying for you. I have dealt with simliar issues.

  11. I was raped when I was freshman in college and did not tell anyone for 3 years. I read an article and realized that what had happend to me was known as “date rape”. After that happened I started on a path bent on self-destruction and no one could stop me. Thankfully I did not get mixed up in drugs or alcohol. I made terrible choices in men in my life such as physical abusers, addicts, dead beats, and ones that refused to grow up. I ended up pregent 2x 1 abortion, 1 miscarriage. I finally hit rock bottom and ended up in a mental ward for 7 days after I tried to kill myself. I got the help that I despertley needed and learned how to like myself and that I did not need a man to be a whole person. I kept people at arms length, moved away and got my self put back togather again. I moved back home and within weeks ran into my now husband. We got to talking and hanging out with each other and I confided in him all of my past. I did not feel threatened by him because he was not looking for a girlfriend just a pal. a few weeks later he asked me out on a date and I asked him are you sure with all of my baggage and he told me yes and within 6 weeks of our 1st date he asked me to marry him and I still thought he was crazy to want me with everything that was in my past. My past has never been bought up by him to hurt me. I know God put me and my husband togather.

  12. Diane, I have an eerily similar story. Sadly, I did turn to drugs, alcohol and self abuse to dull my pain and guit/shame. I thank our merciful God every day for pulling me back to Himself and for opening my eyes to see that He was always there, even when I was too ashamed to look for him. What love!

  13. Great article. The best book I have found on this topic is called “Hush: Moving from Silence to Healing after Childhood Sexual Abuse.” It is by Nicole Bromley. She just came out with another one called “Breathe: Finding Freedom to Thrive in Relationships after Childhood Sexual Abuse.” Both of them address all of these topics and have helped so many people in my church find healthier marriages and lives.

  14. I was sexually abused by my dad beginning around age 3. My earliest memory is him on top of me . . . The abuse lasted through age 12 when I think my mom found out after my doctor’s visit (I had recurrent severe kidney and bladder infections – due to the abuse.) and confronted him. I really don’t know what happened because she was abusive, too, and she never spoke to me about this – she just continued to despise who I was and made me know daily how worthless I was. I became a Christian at age 12 but could not figure out why I was so depressed. I thought everyone was raised the way I was and it was “normal” for dads to rape their daughters. (I didn’t use that term then. Soooo despite knowing Jesus, I ended up numbing my pain and seeking comfort in alcohol, and drugs. Eventually my depression spiraled into attempts at suicide. God spoke to me in that time and said “choose life.” I tried and got to the point where depression did not completely rule my life. I later married a Christian man who knew my history but did not relate well to me on an emotional level. In our times of “intimacy” I would have flashbacks to my dad – not good so I learned to dissociate with my husband as I had with my dad. Needless to say, our sex life has not been great. He is satisfied as much as he can be and I am somewhere else. Your article gives me at least some hope that with help this can be resolved. I like your guidelines for prayer ministry – at least it seems with what you said that there is something to ask Jesus about in this mess and not just stay in pain and hurt. Somedays it is a struggle just to breath especially when the littlest thing triggers me into hours of tears. I hope and pray that God will bring healing in this place of brokenness. I so desperately need Him to speak life into my wounded heart. Your article – especially the direction in the prayer ministry helps. Thank you.

  15. I’ll pray for you! I am so grieved for all the pain you have endured.

  16. As a child I was alone quite a bit, and although I was emotionally abused by my mother’s first husband (who I still call Dad to this day), he fortunately didn’t sexually abuse me outright; however, from time to time he would accuse me of trying to look at him naked or in the bathroom, etc. (which I didn’t). Around age 13, I started getting phone calls when I was alone from a man who claimed to be in his 20s and wanted to talk sex with me. I was bored and alone…and it seemed harmless. This went on over the course of a summer. Occasionally others would call too. It was not harmless; all these years later, I still feel dirty and ashamed. I feel even more ashamed that a few years later, someone called with similar intentions and I went into greater detail than ever – only to later conclude that it was most likely someone from school playing a prank on me, and he didn’t think I would take it that far (he is a close friend of someone who later married my cousin, so I cringe when wondering who may know about it). Thankfully there was no touching in this kind of abuse…but there is still pain associated with those memories, and I have told my husband that it affects aspects of our sex life today. In fact, a decade or so ago early in our marriage, it led to all sorts of problems with my mind going to places it never should have. The shame I feel for things I said and allowed to be said to me as an otherwise innocent and inexperienced girl is very real. I praise God for intervening in my life when I wanted badly to act out…and He didn’t let me. He made sure I held on to my virginity for my husband, and gave me a marriage that is despite the problems we’ve had, is still a safe place and I praise Him for it!

  17. Hello HiddenHeart,
    Your post shook me up.
    I am so sorry for your loss of childhood joy, and the physical pain, you have had to live with.

    There is nothing to replace what you have gone through but I will be praying for a new strength in your heart.
    My prayer will be that you will no longer remain hidden but will take the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and reach out to those, who hurt and are still in their darkness of heart, and show them the light of life.

    This may not mean you have a public life or are known for the light you share, since much of what you have experienced is too raw to broadcast. I have reached out to more people one-on-one than I can recall but they all needed a person to hear them and reach into their hearts.
    There are many who need a laborer of God to come across their path, to shine a ray of hope into their pain-filled minds.

    I trust that our Lord Jesus Christ will reveal more of Himself to you as you enter into this marvelous journey of growth, in Him.
    May God bless you and keep you close to His heart as you become WHOLEHEART 😉

  18. I am praying that you will receive the strength of the Holy Spirit to help you get through this rough time. As you can tell from the out post that I have been there too.
    Don’t give up God can help you get through this.
    I would recommend reading and working through Dr Dan Allender, book and workbook, The Wounded Heart. My DH and I worked through this book in counseling and it helped us tremendously. I still use the book as reference when I have recurring issues.

  19. Cinnamonsticks,
    Thank you for praying, I really need it. I reread your article and it made more sense to me. I’ve been afraid to ask Jesus where He was when this was happening. Your words “give me permission” to ask. I’m closer to trying, at least. It is hard to process this. My heart is so raw right now I can only do so much and still function. Thank you for writing.

  20. It’s understandable that you’ve been afraid to ask Him. I understand that, and you know what? He does too. He is just such a safe place for us. We can be exactly who we are (afraid, wounded, angry, in sin, anything) and he still embraces us exactly as we are. I love that about Him. Your healing will probably happen in layers, and each layer will connect you more strongly to Him and give you what you need to take the next step, knowing He is trustworthy.

  21. Hi Smokeypuss,
    I’m sorry I shook you up. I have no perception of how other people feel about this. I am usually numb, triggered or “someone else”. I didn’t think anyone would even care.
    I know He will end up using me to help other people walk through this. I am fine with that so long as I know what “being healed” looks like. It feels like I am chasing an illusion. I am not sure I believe there really is healing for this. I know that’s not a “faith” statement but it’s the way I feel. Sorry.
    The problem is that I don’t know how to walk through this. I am doing the best I can to yield my heart to Jesus, but I have no support in walking through this. When I am triggered I just cry through it and ask Jesus to help me.
    I do want to be wholehearted – it is my deepest cry. Someday i will be. Jesus is my only Hope. Please keep praying.

  22. Hi HisPrincess,

    I love your name. Maybe someday I’ll feel that way. I dunno. I have Dr. Allender’s book in my stack to read. I don’t know if I got it right but somewhere I got the impression that he thinks the problem with childhood sexual abuse is our response to the abuse. That the victim responds in a sinful way to the abuse and therefore the problem is the victim’s sin. If that is what he says . . . uh, I have a problem with that. He may be right but it’s gonna take me a while to get to a place where I agree with that unless the Holy Spirit convicts me . . . He does do that, you know. :o/ Ugh. I suppose I will dig his book out of the stack and start on it. I don’t have the workbook – is it helpful?
    I did read your story – it sounds like you have a great DH who really loves the Lord and is attuned to your needs. That’s really a blessing from God.
    Thanks for your comments and for praying – I need it.

  23. HiddenHeart,

    What Allender is saying is that the abuse leads many on us into a sinful life style. He say we are responsible for our sins just like people who were not abused. Yes some of us respond in a sinful way, I did. What I learned from him was that what was done to me was sinful and God cried over it. But God is still holding me responsible form my reaction to what happened. God wants to help me heal so I don’t live that lifestyle anymore. But I still need to ask God for forgiveness for what I did in response the abuse. God want to help me to not see myself as a victim but as His beautiful and wonderful child. Remember this God wept when you were abused.

    I really recommend doing the workbook at the same time. It will help pull everything all together. WeI will all tell you it is a step by step process. I still from time to time have to deal with flashbacks and unwanted memories. But know they are easier to handle with God’s help.

    I hope this helps. feel free to ask me questions any time.

  24. Hey Wholeheart 😉 …..had to do that and I hope you smiled!

    Thx for your reply. I am always amazed when people, who have suffered terrible pain, are surprised when someone does care. It makes me more determined than ever to reach out to strangers when out doing my mom stuff.

    Take heart and believe that God does have ‘ears’ in the many followers of His. Yes, we are all busy but there is always a way to speak and have your voice heard.

    Don’t shut up any time soon. You will receive comfort as you seek it.

    God bless your weekend and life. Please let us all know how you are doing as you heal and grow. I am excited about what God is going to do with your life.

  25. Hi Cinnamonsticks,

    I’ve never thought of Him as a safe place. I always thought I had to get “cleaned up” or be “good” to approach HIm. He embraces me the way I am? Wow! That amazes me. I am at the beginning of this healing journey and I’m not looking forward to dealing with the intense pain of working through the memories. If I can really understand that God is safe, maybe I’ll survive the process of walking through this mess.

    I am hearing God heals this stuff. I’m not sure I believe that yet but if it is true, how do I know when I am healed? How does this process work? Will I have to go through every memory? Sounds awful but I have heard that freedom is worth it. Is it? I’m not sure.

  26. HisPrincess,

    It helps. Thanks for not being offended at my question. You answered it well. I told Cinnamonsticks I was afraid to ask Jesus where He was in all this. I am trying to understand God weeping over this. I have always thought He was a distant detached observer – He just watched and did nothing. I have been really angry at Him but I am willing to let Him change my heart and mind in this. I know I believe lies about God and myself that need to change. How does this stuff go from mental assent to reality – to my heart?

    I am going to get the workbook and start on it soon. Thank you for your help – I really may ask you some questions. I have a lot of them. :o/

  27. Hi Smokeypuss,

    Yes, I did smile. :o) It was very sweet of you to call me that. Someday I really will be . . . Wholeheart . . . right now it is just broken.

    I think the reason that I didn’t think anyone would care is because to the core of my being I feel utterly worthless and insignificant. I know in my head that it is not supposed to be true but it is how I feel deep inside. I live every day with intense shame, self-hatred and guilt. Lest you despair and think what a total mess I am – (well, I am) . . . God, in His mercy, has revealed this to me . . . He is not letting me “stuff” things deep inside anymore . . . He is doing surgery . . . and He is facing me up with my sin. As for me, it is excruciatingly painful and I would rather run away from Him than toward Him. But . . . He has other ideas. Soooo I will yield my heart to Him, and surrender again and again and again . . . and as i do this and learn truly that He is safe and does heal broken hearts . . . Isaiah 61, Luke 4 . . . someday He will heal me and I will become . . . Wholeheart.

    You, Smokeypuss, and the others on this site give me hope. Hope is a great gift. Thank you.

  28. I don’t know what your journey of healing will look like. God uses many different methods of extending us healing and a lot of it will depend on how your respond to those things. It sounds like you are open to His work in your heart so I feel a lot of hope for your situation.

    You probably do not need to go through each and every memory. I would start by asking Jesus to give you a symbolic picture of what the abuse has done to your heart and soul. Then put your faith in Him as Redeemer and ask Him what it would look like for Him to enter into that picture. What does He want to change? What does He want to take away? What does He want to give you? If at any time what you hear/think/feel causes you to feel condemnation, then recognize that as lie and reject it. That’s where I would start.

  29. I was wondering what you guys would have to say about someone who has been molested and sexually violated when she can’t have sex with her husband. We will start making out with each other and things will be great and then he will touch me and it will go down from there. I have thrown up, cried, taken a scalding hot shower, and (recently) even cut myself with a razor blade because I feel so dirty afterwards. The images of porn I was shown still float through my head, and then my abuser trying to do the things he would show me in porn to me, then I will transpose that onto what I am doing with my husband. I cannot for some reason see any difference between what I saw on the porn and what I am doing with my husband, it feels one and the same to me. It also makes me judgemental of other people (and I really, really don’t wanna be, I have an extremely good heart), I end up having this horrible huge internal struggle, wanting to please my husband, live for God, but then I end up hating the world, hating myself. The only way I end up able to get a sexual release and not feel guilty about it is to seperate the sexuality from the emotional part of the relationship, so if we’re extremely sexual I will distance myself emotionally, usually I end up getting violent with my husband, and if we are emotionally close I will take care of the sexuality myself, usually using porn so I can act out of the disgust. I don’t want the person I love to see me sexually. I know this hurts my husband, he pretends it doesn’t but I can see it in his eyes. He was a virgin we we got married and he claims that sex is not that important to him but he will make comments that he is not that good of a man. I hate it that I’ve done this to this poor man, he is such a good person. I wasn’t a virgin when I got married, not that I ever enjoyed the sex I had promiscually, it usually felt just as violating as it did when I was being molested. I felt like I didn’t have much of a choice though, it was either give my virginity to my molester (who is a part of the family) and tell my children that, or pick someone myself. My molester got pretty violent when he found out I lost my virginity and threatened the guy I lost it to. I guess I’m glad he didn’t do that to my husband.
    I’ve seen 7 counselors for this, 4 secular ones, 3 christian ones….the christian ones won’t talk about sex, the secular ones have no understanding of wanting to please my husband and have a Godly form of intimacy. I have other problems in my life this affects but my sexuality is the worse, it can stir flashbacks and make me think other people are whores (other married christian people). If any person needs proof the sexual immorality destroys, I’m the picture perfect example. I keep praying for God to release me from this hell but as of late he has yet to do it. It makes it just as hard to believe in Him as it was when I was being molested and prayed for the molestation to stop.”

  30. Oh Cheryl, my heart aches for you. I am not equipped to help you, but I can pray for you, and encourage you to try and find another counselor. There has got to be someone out there that can help you through your pain.

    I pray that someone reading this post will reach out to you with some answers.

    Til then, please know that you matter, and I am so glad that you shared your burdens. You should not have to bear this alone.

  31. I need to spend a bit more time to read this post and the comments more thoroughly. My situation is the opposite of what is most common. I was a virgin when I married and my husband is the one who is a victim of sexual abuse. This childhood experience contributed to his living a highly promiscuous and destructive life as a teen and adult, all in the quest for true love. He has since come to Christ (many years before we met) and God has healed him in so many areas, but his sexuality is still a very wounded part of his life. He cannot grasp yet that sex in marriage is holy and blessed. He wants to believe, but his past haunts him and taints everything sexual for him. I have been patient, but as a newlywed virgin with a strong sex drive, it has been difficult at times to go without for extended periods of time.

    Any suggestions, as well as prayers, would certainly be appreciated.

  32. Glitterbug,

    Your comment really spoke to me. The pain you’re describing must be so difficult.

    My husband is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. About two months before we got engaged, he disclosed this to me. I was the first person he had ever told. Most of his family still does not know. His young adult life was riddled with violence, drugs, alcohol, and other risk-taking behaviors.He has been diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. We’ve been married five years now. It took me years to convince him to seek any outside help or counseling. We’ve talked with our pastor, he has a regular therapist, is on mood-regulating medication, and has learned a great deal about coping with it. That said, we continue to struggle as a couple to overcome what is, for many survivors, a life-long hurt.

    While I know that counseling cannot solve every problem, this seems like a good time for the two of you to consider finding a Christian marriage counselor that specializes in CSA (childhood sexual abuse). It’s important that you are able to have a discussion with your husband (who you clearly love very, very much!). It is so easy for co-survivors (spouses, family members, friends) to feel shut out or rejected by a survivor struggling in their recovery in a variety of ways. While his own journey of healing is so, SO important, your own self-care is important, too. It’s important for him to know that when he touches you physically, it shows you how much he loves you, it helps you to feel closer/connected to him, and it is a physical reminder of a holy bond between the two of you, a SAFE PLACE to love. Maybe, also, a discussion with him about some things that might help you satisfy your needs in a way that isn’t triggering for him emotionally. Things like digital/oral stimulation, aided masturbation, heavy petting, toys, sexy talk… I know that these suggestions certainly won’t fix everything. Patience is going to be an important part of this process, too.

    My prayers are with you both. I know this must be a huge struggle for you.

    Take care,

    Elizabeth


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