Sexual Assault Victims Have Nothing to Feel Guilty About

Anonymous asked:

Last year,my boyfriend sexually assaulted me. A month later I broke up with him. I didn’t talk it about much, tried to be his friend & I thought I was forgiving him. Then he started dating someone else so I let a mutual friend warn her. But I recently found out that he raped her. Everything flooded back to me. I feel guilty & for the 1st time angry. I reached out to her, but she didn’t want to do anything. I don’t blame her at all. I just want to know how to take this in & what to do. I am lost.

I answered:

First and foremost, I am sorry that happened to you. I am also sorry that happened to this other young lady. It’s not okay, and Jesus is not okay with someone treating you like that.

You have nothing to feel guilty about. I have a feeling you skimmed that sentence so let’s take it again- you have nothing to feel guilty about. You have nothing to feel guilty about regarding your own assault. You didn’t have anything to do with it. It was done to you. Nor are you part of the reason that this other young woman was assaulted. She was not assaulted because you didn’t say anything. She was assaulted because someone made the choice to assault her.

You are under no moral obligation to report your assault, and neither is she. If you think that reporting it would help in your healing process, then that is a fine thing to do, but you are not a bad person if you don’t report it. Again, this young lady was not raped because of anything you did or didn’t do. She was raped because someone raped her. That is the reason, there is no other reason.

You have the exact right mindset, which is: how do I move forward. I think you need to tweak the strategy you have been trying. I would strongly urge you to talk to someone about this. That could be a counselor, a mentor at church, or a close friend or family member you trust. The point of talking about this does not need to be reporting this guy, you don’t have to name him if you don’t want. He is not the focus of the healing process, you are.

Also, there is no reason to try to be friends with someone who assaulted you in this way. It is not “the christian thing to do.” I don’t say that to judge the guy either. Again, he does not enter this equation. There is simply no way that being around your assailant is good for you.

Forgiveness is a process and it is a process that is about you. You don’t just jump straight to forgiveness. You have to get there by processing what has happened to you. Forgiveness is not so the other person feels absolved of guilt. Their guilt is between them and God. Forgiveness is about you being able to move on with your life without this thing weighing you down.

Your assault does not define you. You didn’t choose it or have an active part in it. Getting to the point where you can feel that way takes time and honesty. And it does not have to (and in this case, probably should not) involve the person who hurt you. 

Jesus will be with you throughout this process. You don’t have to put on a happy face for Him. Feel and say what you really feel. Get it out so you can listen for God to answer it. You shouldn’t be ashamed to tell people you trust, and if anyone tries to make you feel ashamed about this, they are wrong- point blank. You will move past this with some hard work and God’s love, and we are here for you whenever you need some extra support.

-Matt from The Bridge

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