It was date rape. Plain and simple. A moment in time that effected life as I knew it, and my life going forward.
I’m sorry, you are just so pretty. Those are words that I will never forget, along with two messages on my answering machine at college apologizing. I didn’t need an apology, I needed to forget.
I will also never forget a guy friend of mine telling me that rape wasn’t a thing, not knowing what had happened just days before.
After seeing the backlash of what happened to another girl who had come forward about what had happened to her, my choice was to not report the incident. I never saw him again, and I tried to forget, however when something effects your life so deeply, you can never forget.
A few years ago a guy that I used to work for was accused of sexual assault on two young women who worked for him years after I left. Because of how he used to talk to me, when I heard about the case I wasn’t surprised. But it seemed like town officials were taking his side. I hadn’t heard about the outcome of the case, so last night I looked it up. He ended up with a no contest plea deal where he basically denied guilt but acknowledges the fact that there probably enough evidence to obtain a conviction. He got off easy.
Not coming forward was the first choice I ever made about what happened. And I’ve been judged for it. These girls that came forward were judged for their decision too. Years later, I am not sure if not coming forward was the right choice. But it was the choice I made. I believe in justice and hope for outcomes that are “right”, but sometimes that is not how life plays out as we have been seeing in the media over the past couple weeks.
Since then I have made many choices, and the choices I have made have effected my life and others.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.”
One of the choices I made was to allow God to heal my heart and not allow bitterness to grow. He allowed it to happen, and this in turn allowed me to use my story to help others. The first time I did that, things didn’t really go so well. I had a pastor (not from the church I go to now) call me and tell me 3 things that I needed to do. One was tell my parents (I did that months later), the second was to go to counseling, and the third was to go to the police.
Telling a victim what they “need” to do doesn’t really help anything, and it was one of the reasons I left the church for so long shortly after.
My second choice was to eventually forgive someone who had taken so much from me. It took years. But shortly before my husband and I started dating, I knew I had to forgive him. So I did, and I prayed for him and his future. I prayed that he had become a man of honor, and would come to know Jesus. And I prayed blessing over his future family, if he didn’t already have one.
Another choice was to again share my story. It was about 8 years ago now, that God allowed me the honor to share my story with a group of young adults. Since then, I have had many women coming to me with stories of what has happened to them searching for healing and for a listening ear from someone who understood. Sometimes this was shortly after it happened.
A choice that my husband and I have made in regards to raising a son is to model obedience when someone says “no”. This can be hard with him being such a young age, but sometimes he wants us to tickle him. But it always get to a point where he says “stop”. When he does we do, and then we use it to teach him that this is how he should react when someone says “stop” or “no”.
And I pray. A few years ago I was leading a small group with a pastor from my church. He was traveling one week, so I had to lead by myself, and one of the women shared that she had been raped. The other women in the group gathered around her to lay hands on her to pray, but when we finished one of the guys got angry and said “wait, why can’t I pray as a man?” And he did. It was beautiful to see a man come along side this woman in prayer, because he knew that what happened to her wasn’t right and he wanted to show her that there are good men in the world.
That was a moment that will always stay with me, and so I pray for God to raise up Godly men who will protect women and fight for them in the most honorable way. Who will stand by them in prayer, and who will live honorable and worthy lives.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
My most important choice though is to look to the cross. Sometimes because we live in a fallen world, justice doesn’t seem to always be served. But Jesus came to die for this, and but “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
We all have choices to make. We have all made choices. But whatever you have chosen, whatever you chose do it in prayer, may it be done with compassion, through healing that can only come from our good Father, and by looking to the cross and in the confident hope that one day it will all be made right because we serve a God who is good, faithful, and just.