Law enforecement statistics indicate than one in every five women in America will be the victim of sexual assault in her lifetime. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are one of those women or you have a loved one who is. Sexual assault — whether stranger rape, date rape, gang rape, or marital rape — doesn’t just violate a woman’s body… it violates her very being and it changes the way she experiences the world. Every aspect of her life may be touched in some way by the assault and she may fear that her life has been changed forever. Sexual assault victims often find that they simply cannot “let go” of the assault no matter how hard they try or how much time has passed. They often find that they are irritable or angry “for no good reason”, that their relationships have become problematic, or that they simply do not enjoy life they way they used to. They often struggle with shame and guilt, and bombard themselves with unproductive (and even destructive) messages that “It was my fault”, “It wasn’t that bad”, “I should be over it by now”, or “I will never be ok again”.
If you have been sexually assaulted, the emotional, psychological, and spiritual impact can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to continue to suffer alone. There is help; there is healing; there is hope. A compasionate counselor can offer you a safe place to talk about the assault, can assist you in working through the aftermath of the assault, and can help you move toward the joyful life that your heart desires and that God desires for you.
Rape often results in a spiritual crisis of sorts where everything you once believed about God, yourself, and the world is called into question. You may be angry with God or may fear that God no longer loves you. Counseling can help you look at the spiritual issues as well as the psychological ones. It takes courage to reach out for help, but the reward for your courage is freedom from the suffering you have been enduring.
If someone you love has been sexually assaulted and you are frustrated by your inability to offer comfort or assistance, a counselor can help you understand what your loved one is going through, can help you process your own feelings about what has happened, and can offer you suggestions on how you can best offer support and assistance.