“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
I know you are not a counselor. I did not come to you for counseling, but for spiritual guidance. In your line of work you have to deal with many situations, but in today’s world sexual assault is rarely talked about because of the stigma.
When I came to you, you listened and appeared to care and I thank you. I was extremely depressed when I came to see you. The recovery from my trauma was weighing me down.
I really just needed someone else to talk to. For you to pray for me. To encourage me. Most of all to tell me God loves me. I know you wanted to communicate this things to me, and you tried. Next time, I’m sure you will.
You did provide me with some verses which you found encouraging to you during depressing times. Only the difference between regular depression and major depression is so extremely wide it is unexplainable. Mine left me suicidal, yours left you sad. But I thank you for the verses you shared. For the kindness toward me.
There are so many of us in your congregation. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted by age 18. If you look out at your congregation you will see hundreds or maybe thousands of hurting individuals.
We need to hear of God’s unending love for us. There needs to be a safe haven for us to speak about what happened to us, the sexual assaults, and the recovery which it leaves behind. A safe place, which the church can provide.
You can provide this in your church. In my article, Healthy Ways to Help Sexual Abuse Survivors in Your Church, it lists the following ways you can help.
- Recognize it’s happening.
- Don’t be afraid to use the two words: sexual abuse.
- Connect survivors with professional help.
- Encourage openness from the survivor and the congregation.
- Don’t let survivors become isolated.
- Help survivors think about something else.
- Look to help survivors.
The article further explains how you can do each of these, including praying with and for us. I encourage you to read it. You can make a difference in the lives of the sexual assault survivors in your church. Thank you for helping us.
Your Church Member,
Do you need to write a letter to your pastor, current or former? A church member? Sometimes the place which should be the safest ends up hurting us the most. Let your feelings go by putting them on paper or recorded by voice. Then, once again revisit your letter after a while.
© 2018 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.