Rape can happen to men, to women of all ages, and to children. In any case, you are facing the aftermath of a grave evil. How does God meet you in the middle of this horrific experience? How do you recover? First, face what happened. This awful attack is now part of your life. You will be tempted to run from it, to deny it, to bury it, to keep yourself busy, to escape it, or to numb yourself. But it is crucial that you face what happened to you—your recovery depends on it.
His redemption will be evident in this painful chapter also. Redemption begins with acknowledging what happened to you. Next, face your reactions to what happened. You must be willing to enter your into your reactions—to feel what you feel. Something that is hurtful hurts. A violation makes you feel violated. When something overpowers you, you feel weak and overwhelmed.
You need to be able to enter into your grief, hurt, confusion, fear, and anger. Finally, face Jesus. Invite Jesus into your struggle. You are walking in deep waters.
God will walk with you. You are walking through fire. God will not let the flames consume you. Turn to him every day. Say His promises out loud. Speak them back to the One who is your hope. Having faith in Jesus is not something you do just once. He is the direction in which you face. He can bear the weight of your trouble and heartache. He also suffered at the hands of evil people. He knows what a broken heart feels like. Pour out your heart to Him. Have mercy. I am in such need. You promise good to me.
I feel such a weight of evil.
Make me know You are with me. It is common for those who have been raped to feel a sense of shame. They feel unclean—as if they are now damaged goods. Contrast that with what God has done for you. Because of Jesus you are cleansed and whole. Nothing that has happened or will happen can change that reality. This is how Isaiah expressed the joy of knowing his God-given identity:. I will rejoice greatly in the LORD; my soul will exult in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
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Isaiah , ESV. Take hold of how this picture contrasts with how you are feeling. You are not dirty and shamed. You are clothed with garments of salvation. You are wrapped in a robe of righteousness.
Rape’s long shadow: Dealing with the personal costs of sexual assault
You have been made beautiful with pure white clothes, flowers, and jewels. Jesus made that picture a reality by giving Himself for you on the cross. When you put your trust in Jesus, you are clothed with him—with his mercy, kindness, and goodness. You might have heard that your identity should be that of a survivor instead of a victim. If your ship goes down and you are rescued, then you survived the shipwreck. When your identity is that of survivor, you are still defined by what happened to you. What happened to you—the hateful thing that took place—still dominates your identity.
His goal for you is to become His servant. Your identity is not simply that you survived a dirty evil.
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You find yourself when you serve the beautiful One and are clothed with his beauty and goodness. You are defined by His love for you, not by the evil that someone else did to you. If this is true for you, turn in His direction by listening to and singing music that will remind you how God is with you. Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole. Refrain : Hallelujah! Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end. Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing, He, my Strength, my victory wins. While the billows over me roll, Even when my heart is breaking, He, my Comfort, helps my soul. While the tempest still is high, Storms about me, night overtakes me, He, my Pilot, hears my cry.
I do now receive You, more than all in You I find. You hath granted me forgiveness, I am Yours, and You are mine. Saving, helping, keeping, loving, You are with me to the end. Use these words to express to Jesus what happened to you, how you felt, and who he is.
Is this how you feel? Jesus meets you right in the middle of this awful experience. In this stage, the survivor begins to recognize his or her adjustment phase. Recognizing the impact of the rape for survivors who were in denial , and recognizing the secondary damage of any counterproductive coping tactics e.
Male victims typically do not seek psychotherapy for a long time after the sexual assault—according to Lacey and Roberts,  less than half of male victims sought therapy within six months and the average interval between assault and therapy was 2. During renormalization, survivors integrate the sexual assault into their lives so that the rape is no longer the central focus of their lives; negative feelings such as guilt and shame become resolved, and survivors no longer blame themselves for the attack.
Rape Recovery | FamilyLife®
Prosecutors sometimes use RTS evidence to disabuse jurors of prejudicial misconceptions arising from a victim's ostensibly unusual post-rape behavior. The RTS testimony helps educate the jury about the psychological consequences surrounding rape and functions to dispel rape myths by explaining counterintuitive post-rape behavior. Especially in cases in which prosecutors have introduced RTS testimony, defendants have also sometimes proffered RTS evidence, a practice that has been criticized as undermining core values embodied in rape shield laws , since it can involve subjecting victims to compelled psychological evaluations and searching cross-examination regarding past sexual history.
Since social scientists have difficulty distinguishing symptoms attributable to rape-related PTSD from those induced by previous traumatic events, rape defendants sometimes argue that an alternative traumatic event, such as a previous rape, could be the source of the victim's symptoms.
A criticism of rape trauma syndrome as currently conceptualized is that it delegitimizes a person's reaction to rape by describing their coping mechanisms, including their rational attempts to struggle through, survive the pain of sexual assault, and to adapt to a violent world, as symptoms of disorder. People who installed locks and purchased security devices, took self-defense classes, carried mace, changed residence, and expressed anger at the criminal justice system, for example, were characterized as exhibiting pathological symptoms and "adjustment difficulties".
According to this criticism, RTS removes a person's pain and anger from their social and political context, attributing a person's anguish, humiliation, anger, and despair after being raped to a disorder caused by the actions of the rapist, rather than to, say, insensitive treatment by the police, examining physicians , and the judicial system; or to family reactions permeated with rape mythology. Another criticism is that the literature on RTS constructs rape survivors as passive, disordered victims, even though much of the behavior that serves as the basis for RTS could be considered the product of strength.
Words like "fear" are replaced with words like "phobia", with its connotations of irrationality. Criticisms of the scientific validity of the RTS construct are that it is vague in important details; it is unclear what its boundary conditions are; it uses unclear terms that do not have a basis in psychological science; it fails to specify key quantitative relationships; it has not undergone subsequent scientific evaluation since the Burgess and Holstrom study; there are theoretical allegiance effects ; it has not achieved a consensus in the field; it is not falsifiable; it ignores possible mediators; it is not culturally sensitive; and it is not suitable for being used to infer that rape has or has not occurred.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Am J Psychiatry. Handbook of crisis counseling, intervention, and prevention in the schools. Psychology Press. Retrieved 1 October Sarrel1 and William H. Masters Archives of Sexual Behavior. International Journal of Men's Health.
Journal of Traumatic Stress. Violence Against Women. But they can be sorted out too — certainly enough to heal and have the life you want. Research suggests that some brain systems record what actually happened and another system is responsible for how someone makes sense or meaning of what happened.