When my therapist stopped and turned to me as I was leaving his office and mentioned if I was going to write about this (sexual assault) I needed to be able to be honest about what we feel. His words took me back because he is the only one I have ever trusted with the specific topic I’m talking about today. I have not even discussed it with my closet friend who is a survivor.
My guess is you too live with this silent shame. My therapist told me every survivor he has met feels it, but that doesn’t mean we should. I will tell you what he told me because I am still working to hear it myself. It is not your fault. There is no shame. Your body reacted normally.
What I am talking about is when we were sexually abused or raped and our bodies reacted in ways we wish they didn’t. They responded with a feeling that confused us. We felt a sexual desire – pleasure. How could we feel pleasure during these awful acts being done to us? What is wrong with us for us to feel something good during something so bad?
Nothing is wrong with us. God designed each of us, women and men, with sexual body parts which work when they are activated. His design was for them to work when a husband and wife come together during sex in marriage. However, our bodies do not know the difference. They are simply designed to react when sexually stimulated.
So, when a perpetrator abuses or rapes us it will unwillingly activate what our bodies were made to do whether we want them to or not. We have no control over the fact this will result in feeling the sexual desire of pleasure. It DOES NOT mean we wanted to be sexually abused or raped. It DOES NOT mean we are bad or sinful.
What is being done to us is the sin. The person violating us is the sinner. We feel the effects of their sin. Satan loves to use this against us and bring us into shame to tear us away from God. To make us feel unworthy.
I know this is a very difficult subject. I am aware it is not easily discussed and it is avoided. No one in all my hospital stays, psychiatric visits, or other counselors over the years has ever brought up the topic of the sexual feelings I was forced to feel when I was sexually abused and raped. My current therapist after years of seeing him is the only one I have felt safe enough to trust and I still find it difficult to talk about with him. I struggle to look him in the eyes.
However, to heal it is necessary to realize and work through every part of the trauma. Start to put away the shame we feel. Oh, I am aware this takes time. I still feel the shame too. It’s why I called it “The Silent Shame”. We don’t want to talk about it – with anyone.
Honestly, I really struggled with writing this post. Talking to my therapist is one thing. Sharing with the world how my body felt when being sexually abused and raped is a big step. But I want the silence broken. I want you to know you are not alone. Your body reacted how it is designed to. The problem was we were violated. It awakened in us things which we weren’t supposed to feel with anyone other than our marriage partner.
Just know, no matter what the world tells us:
It is NOT our fault.
We DID NOT ask for it.
Our bodies only reacted as they are designed.
We should feel NO shame in any pleasure we felt.
As you move forward in recovery try to take this in. Know you are not alone. Ask God to help you with the misplaced shame you feel. He understands better than we do what we feel and why we feel it.
He designed every part of us including our sexual desires. He does not fault us for someone misusing His design for their own pleasure and setting off unwanted feelings in us. God loves us. He knows the truth. Let’s allow the Truth to set us free.
© 2018 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.