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Abuse: Is it my Fault?
(Rape is something you have to talk about).

Your best friend touched you and when you said "no" he didn’t listen, or he thought "no" meant "yes". Either way, he didn’t stop and he left you, finally, feeling dirtied, alone, ashamed and violated. A part of you even feels guilty for what happened and confused because you can’t decide who’s more to blame: you for going over to his house to begin with or him for not stopping. Suddenly, it feels as though everything is crashing down on you and life seems to be going so wrong. Even if you didn’t before, you can’t stop crying now.

These scenes are, sadly, common to a lot of young people who have been abused by someone they thought cared about them or sometimes by a complete stranger who had no reason to hate them. I know what this feels like and I know that when we have been raped or abused in other ways, it feels sometimes as though you’re living in a hazy fog, somewhat set apart from everyone else. Can you ever begin to heal and if so, how?

You can begin to heal. The first step is to look at yourself in the mirror and say, "This was not my fault" and say it over and over again until you begin to believe it because it is true. There was nothing that you could have done to stop it and there was nothing that you did to bring it about. I don’t care if you went alone to your boyfriend’s apartment and kissed him. If you said, "no" and he didn’t stop, then that is his fault and not yours. It doesn’t matter what you wore, or what you said, or didn’t say.

Rape is not a crime of passion. In other words, the rapist isn’t necessarily attracted to you sexually. Instead, rape is about his needing to feel in control of some situation and sadly that situation is often sex. Many times the rapist has hostile feelings, in fact, toward all women and studies show that most come from single mother homes where the mother was domineering. Rape comes from problems that he alone has, not you and the most important thing for you to realize is that its not about you, you didn’t do anything wrong and the blame lies entirely with him.

Talking about it is a must. It is sometimes very difficult to do this because we feel embarrassed, humiliated and ashamed. I was raped by a close friend of my family’s and it took me years to tell anyone that. But, looking back, I realize so clearly now that silence leads only to dire consequences and it is all the more painful to keep it hidden You need to reach out and tell someone: you are not going to be blamed: they will understand and they will help. There are lots of people that you can go to: your school counselor, your youth minister, your special teacher, your parents. There are also phone numbers that you can call to talk with someone confidentially, if you feel that you need to do that before you tell someone verbally. The vital thing to remember, though, is that you can’t begin to heal until you tell someone. Pray about it and God will lead you to the right person to tell. Writing in a journal can also help.

You are not on your own. In the United States alone, did you know that 32% (1 in 3) of girls will be sexually assaulted before they turn eighteen, and 16% (1 in 6) of boys will be sexually assaulted before their eighteenth birthday? 25% (1 in 4) of all women (in the United States) will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. I know that, right now, that seems like just numbers but what it means is that there are probably several young people in your grade at school who have been raped, too, or who are currently going through the same thing that you are. Think about it, in every three girls in your class, one will have been raped. You are not the only one that feels degraded and ashamed, but survivors of abuse have nothing to be ashamed of. Shame should only be something that we feel when we have done something wrong, and if you’ve been abused, you’ve done nothing wrong.

Rape is, in my opinion, perhaps the worst crime that someone can commit upon another person because of the emotional wounds it leaves. Sometimes, once the other feelings wear off, survivors become angry and want revenge against the person who assaulted them. It’s natural for this to happen, but just know that God says, in the Bible, that He knows what has been done to you and He is even angrier about it than you: He will not let the crime go unpunished. God will help lead you to the people who can and want to help you through this and who will show you what good relationships are supposed to be like.

Below are some numbers to call, if you have been or are currently a victime of sexual abuse:

  • United States of America
    RSAC: 1-800-615-HOPE (this number will connect you to the volunteer center closest to you. RSAC will offer ten free sessions with a licensed therapist for survivors of sexual abuse).
  • United Kingdom
    The Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
  • Canada
    Helpline: 1-800-668-6868
  • Israel
    Rape Assault Line for Women: 03-6850041
    Rape Assault Line for Men: 03-6850036
  • France
    Information for Rape Victims: 0800 05 95 95
  • Japan
    Rape Crisis Center 0334 91 6284

Rape is one of the horrible things that happen to innocent people, but I have decided to let my experience teach me how much strength I really have. With the passage of time, I find the pain dulls a little more.