People are sexually abused through lies, manipulation, deceit, threats, or forceful acts. It’s any sexual activity that’s imposed on another person against their wills such as fondling, molestation, intercourse, or genital contact. Sexual violence or abuse is any form of unwanted sexual or physical contact.
It’s essential to know and understand what sexual abuse is to identify if you or someone you know has experienced such a crude incident. If you have never been taught correct terminology, you can wrongly classify your abuse. You cannot identify that which you do not understand.
Sexual abuse breaks you down and kills your spirit. It’s like experiencing death within yourself. Your identity is damaged, and you are clothed in shame. The acts that are inflicted upon us becomes part of our identity. Therefore a sexual abuse survivor will experience issues with the evaluation of their self-worth because their identity has been demolished and shredded. All that’s left after sexual abuse are pieces of your identity, paralyzing mental numbness, and a distorted image of oneself.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Sexual abuse results in trauma, and trauma is the experience of powerlessness. It’s extreme psychological damage to the mind as a result of a distressing event. Trauma happens when a person experiences an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions involved with that experience.
After someone has experienced sexual abuse, they will develop what’s called post-traumatic stress disorder, and the symptoms are the following:
lack of appetite
easily triggered feelings
impact on day to day activities
anxiety, avoidance of thoughts
inability to sleep
hyper-reactivity to stimulus whether its sound, smell or colors trigger a memory
For any sexual abuse survivor, their trust bank is automatically shattered. Their ability to trust anyone is stripped. And this lack of confidence is difficult to repair unless it is through the power of the gospel. Trust in God is the beginning of an extensive healing journey.
Isaiah 61:7, “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace, you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”
When you are ashamed of who you are, it’s like a poison that spreads to your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Shame becomes a vail that enables you to see the beauty in you. Guilt is a silencer, and it keeps you quiet. Therefore, you must break out of guilt, and the only way to accomplish this is by speaking your truth. Start by talking to God.
Talk about your sexual abuse out loud alone to God. Release all the sadness, shame, resentment that you’ve repressed in the platform of prayer. Speak. Use your voice to shatter the silence. God will restore your sense of shame and will replace it with a double portion of grace and joy.
Silent suffering will position you on the decline of mental health. Transparency is a gift of freedom. To walk in freedom is to step out of the darkness where you preserve that is shameful. Secrets are dangerous if they are kept hidden. You must know that the enemy wants to keep your secrets hidden because he knows that the key to freedom is to speak about the things you keep hidden. Break the silence and be transparent about your truth.
Understand that secrets keep you imprisoned. Talk to yourself openly and honestly. Sexual abuse survivors need to find the courage to speak out about what happened to them because the price of silence is more violence.
Ephesians 4:31, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
Unforgiveness and resentment is a critical component in the heart of a sexual abuse survivor. Resentment eats you alive and leads you down a path of bitterness. As a sexual abuse survivor, you are entitled to feel rage and sadness, resentment, and pain, but you can’t stay there. You must seek to forgive through a divine relationship with God. Your ability to forgive will set you free on many levels and areas of life.
Testimony and Hope
Psalm 34:19, “The righteousness person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”
Give God your pain and let him turn it into gain. God desires to deliver you from your pain and mental prisons. He wants you to live a life of freedom and joy.
Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind to set the oppressed free.”
God wants to set you free so that you may set others free too. Some people need to hear your story because your story has the power to give others the courage to face their truths and trauma. Many people will see God through your transparency and boldness. There is power in testifying and power in showing others that you stand by your truth no matter how difficult it is.
God wants you to become part of His plan for the freedom and salvation of many. But the keys to freedom are transparency and forgiveness through a relationship with Jesus Christ.