LIVING AFTER A RAPE

Rape is a devastating and shattering experience for any lady whether “Christian” or not. It is more frustrating when it happens to a believer because she cannot understand why God would allow such to happen to her when she is forsaking the worldly pleasures which is very difficult to do in our time and she is keeping her body holy and presentable to God.

I felt like that too when it happened to me some years ago. I had forsaken the world and all its lust. I had committed my life to Christ, to serve him all the days of my life. I was very zealous for kingdom matters and all my desire was (and still is) to please the Lord…Then suddenly, it happened. Armed robbers came visiting one day and my body was looted. I must admit, it was hard. I could not just understand why God could close His eyes and allow me of all ladies to be violated. I felt terrible. I thought God did not love me as ye loved other ladies in that same house who were not raped. I felt God had not really accepted me as his child because h had messed up in the past. Why? God Why?

I lost my dignity, self confidence and boldness. I withdrew from people and hated my body like hell. I felt I should just remove this body and slip into another. I could not even look at my own body, it was hard to bear. Nobody could understand. I had people around me but they only made my burden too grievous to bear because they were like Job’s friends: “miserable comforters”. I lost the will to live.

I forgot about my talents and potentials and I was afraid to reach out for fear that people will know and I would be more stigmatized. In fact, I was consumed by a feeling of emptiness. However I got over it and shook the dust off my body, I rose up with determination to live and declare the works of the Lord in the land of the living and this is exactly what I’m doing now. I’m sure you’re asking: How? Here are some of the things that helped me.

The first thing I needed to do was to admit that it happened. I stopped trying to deny its occurrence. I relaxed my mind and called the event to memory. This helped me to release the emotional tension of trying to forget it. It also made me to come to terms with the realities of the incident. You don’t have to tell your mind to forget it because it won’t. It is frustrating trying to forget what will often come to your mind. Don’t run away from the fact anymore. Whatever you are able to confront will stop haunting you. Also, face the reality. If that is your fist time and take the truth that you are no longer a virgin. Analyze what rape has taken away from you, and be sincerer and considerate with yourself. Know what it has practically taken away from you don’t say that it has taken everything because it has not.

Express your feeling about the rape to yourself, to God and to your confidant. Don’t try to suppress what you feel. Say it, e.g “I feel like a rotten vegetable”, whatever your feeling is; say it out, if not it will express itself in destructive ways e.g. alcoholism, murder, prostitution, masturbation or even suicide. Ps.32:3 says, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long”.

Forgive your violator(s). It is very necessary. Pray that God should help you because it is not easy. Pray and confess your forgiveness until there is no bitterness in your heart toward him. Bitterness puts its victim imprison. Remember the story of the unforgiving servant in Matt.18:21-35. As I am writing, I have no bitterness in my heart against my violator.

Don’t condemn yourself for the rape. Even if you had caused it or you aided it, you still don’t have to condemn yourself. Accept your faults but don’t condemn. People might say that you have caused it but that does not matter. Be interested in what God has to say because that is what will pull you through. People said a lot about me, some said my sin made God to allow it while some others said that my tantalizing stature could have prompted it. All that holds no water again in my heart. I am having a clearer understanding of why God allowed it.

Also remember that God still holds your tomorrow; therefore submit your fears about tomorrow at his feet. Your violator does not hold your future unless you leave it in his hands by refusing to turn to God. I was afraid about my future, whether I would find someone to marry me but I thank God that I’m engaged to a brother who even knew about it before I said “yes” and he has never used it against me.

Please don’t seek pity from people. Many rape victims have fallen victims of sexual abuse in the hands of opportunists who take advantage of their vulnerability at the time. What you need most is a friend who can listen to you as you pour out your heart and then encourage you to move on with life. You will need to pray to God to give you a friend. I wouldn’t mind being your friend if it pleases you (you can use my e-mail address below). Above all, let Jesus be your friend. When I sought pity from people around me, I only received the bitter wine of human insensitivity, cutting remarks and destabilizing utterances.

Finally, don’t sentence yourself to life imprisonment. So many rape victims stopped living from vehement the incident occurred. Some left their job, quit friendships, put a mark of sorrow on their bodies, forsook people and places etc. some people lost their mind, while some even took their own dear lives, but you must not.

You must stop thinking that there is nothing good about you again. Your violator did not take away your talents, potentials and gifts of the Holy Spirit in you. Do not quench the gift of God in your life. You have great qualities within you. Work on them and you’ll be able to reach out to others.

Also, appreciate your body as the temple of God. God still inhabits you despite the rape. He has said that He will not level you nor forsake you. Remember that your life is more than the flesh; you still have your soul and your spirit. Man can only kill the body but the owner of the spirit says that those who are dead will hear his voice and live. You can live again.

The desire to live the abundant life Christ promised me came to me when I realized that my violator had not taken very good thing in me. I still had my zeal for God, my capacity to love, my caring attitude, my talents, potentials, gifts and the calling of God upon my life. I rose up to this understanding and it is already yeilding rewards in my life. Today, a married woman and blessed with lovely kids.

Let me end by referring you to what God is saying about you at this time in the book of Isaiah 52:1-2. It is my sincere desire that you will live and thrive again. I remain your friend in affliction.

Isa 52:1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

Isa 52:2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, [and] sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

Job 14:7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.

Job 14:8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the    ground;

Job 14:9 [Yet] through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

Uloma ( gardenofbeauty@yahoo.com)

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