Sexual assault is any form of sexual activity or contact that happens without consent. It is an act in which one intentionally sexually touches another person without that person’s consent, or coerces or physically forces a person to engage in a sexual act against their will. It is a form of sexual violence, which includes child sexual abuse, groping, rape (forced vaginal, anal, or oral penetration) or a drug facilitated sexual assault.
Statistics from UNICEF shows that one in four girls in Nigeria are sexually assaulted before the age of 18. However, cases of sexual assault in Nigeria remains underreported as most victims face backlash and criticism. Sometimes, people think that victims of rape especially, brought it upon themselves. They try to look for loopholes in their story and ask questions like ‘what were you wearing’? ‘Where were you and what were you doing when you were raped’?
How then do you explain or justify a 4year old girl raped by an adult? They brought it upon themselves too? Or they exposed their bodies too?
It’s nothing new that daily hundreds of women are sexually assaulted, molested and abused. For some women, being assaulted and abused have become a norm that they have to endure daily. Severally, I’ve heard so many ladies complain of bus conductors and random men groping them in broad day light and people just move pass as if it’s a normal thing.
Although we hardly talk about the male gender, they also get assaulted too. Recently, a male friend told me how he had been assaulted by a lady when he was younger. A lot of them don’t get to tell their stories because the society thinks they are men and they should ‘man up’. Some of them are even considered weak when they share their story and are taunted with statements like ‘but you enjoyed it’.
Nobody enjoys sexual assault. Nobody prays to be assaulted. Victims of sexual assault needs to be shown love. The physical, emotional and mental damages it causes them is traumatizing.
If you have been sexually assaulted before, it’s not your fault and God doesn’t love you less. God is not wicked either. You were just a victim of the wickedness of humans. But the beautiful thing is that you can be healed of whatever trauma or damage it has caused you because………”with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).
Here are practical steps to deal with the pain of sexual assault
1. Acknowledge that you have been assaulted in the past. A lot of people live in denial as to what has happened to them and therefore go about still bearing the pain. Take for instance a lady who was raped at a very young age. She might grow up to deny the fact that she was raped but inwardly nurse hatred towards men around her. If you’ve been sexually assaulted one way or the other before, do not live in denial. Acknowledge what has happened.
Talk to someone about it. Seek help if you have to. Don’t be ashamed to talk about it. The devil wants you to wallow in pain alone, and in that way he can feed you with lies. Prayerfully talk to someone you trust, tell them what you’re going through, tell them how you feel. Don’t isolate yourself.You can also join a support group, that way you can relate with people that share the same experiences with you and you can be stirred up.
Most importantly, talk to God about it. He’s the greatest therapist and He wants to help you. The Holy Spirit is the sweetest comforter, tell Him how you feel, rest in His presence and receive comfort.
2. Forgive and let go. Forgiveness entails letting go of the desire to punish someone who has offended you. You can’t receive closure and healing carrying bitterness and hatred. When you forgive, you’re able to get over your pain easily. It’s not going to be easy but with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can forgive your assaulter or abuser and also get over the pain and hatred you have harbored. If you don’t forgive, you’ll do more harm to yourself than your offender.
If you’re reading this and you’ve been sexually violated before, please let it go. Whether you know your assaulter or not, forgive and let it go. The Holy Spirit is willing to help you. Make a choice to release those you have locked up in your heart. Let go of the desire to revenge. Let God do that on your behalf.
In that way, you also heal quickly and move past the pain.
3. Renew your mind/thought. One way to deal with the pain of sexual assault is to renew your mind. Do not let what has happened to you in the past shape your thought or how you relate with certain situations and circumstances. The Bible talks about the transformation that comes as a result of renewing our minds. You have to renew your mind and your thought pattern. Remember, out of your heart are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
Your heart is who you are and it is your RESPONSIBILITY to guard your heart. No one will guard your heart for you. You can say NO or YES to whatever wants to come into your heart.
If you were molested by a guy/lady in the past, do not think every guy/lady that comes into your life after will molest you also. It’s okay to be careful, I mean very very okay but do not live your life being subjected to the torment and guilt of the past.
4. Always feed yourself with God’s truth. As a believer, anything that God has not said about you is a LIE! So when that voice in your head tells you: “you’re worthless”, “no one would ever love you now”, “you’re damaged” and the likes, open your mouth and call out the voice to be a LIAR! Romans 8:38-39 makes us understand that there’s NOTHING that can separate us from God’s love, there’s no experience that can ever make God love us less! That’s our confident assurance. So EVERYTHING is working for our good.
Dear distressed believer, feed on God’s truths. Also, understand that you’re not condemned. You have been justified by the precious blood of Jesus. You’re accepted in the beloved. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Daily feed yourself with these truths embedded in God’s word. The Word works. Yes, the Word works. Don’t stop confessing it. Don’t stop declaring it. Don’t stop believing it. Speak it. There’s life in His word.
Finally, it might look difficult or hard to get over but with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can leave the pain of sexual assault behind and embrace the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the peace that passes all understanding. Psalm 9:9-10 says “The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you”.
You’re not broken! You’re not beyond repair! Jesus is still in the business of turning ashes into beauty.
If you have read this and you’re yet to have a relationship with God, now is the right time to do so. He loves you and he has been looking out for you. He bore your guilt over 2000 years ago when he laid down his life. Let him into your heart as you say this prayer:
Lord Jesus, come into my life. I accept You as my Lord and Personal Saviour. I believe in my heart You died and rose from the dead to save me. I am yours from henceforth. Thank You Lord for saving me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you said this prayer, you can reach me on this email address: email@example.com. I’d love to pray for you and with you. God bless you.