“Where Would I Take My Shame?” (An Account of Rape)

…he took hold of her and said to her, “Come lie with me, my sister.” But she answered him, “No, my brother, do not force me, for no such things should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing!… However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her. (2 Samuel 13: 11b, 12, 14… underlines added)

The wetness of the tears that flowed down her cheeks was too real. It was her indicator that she was not dreaming and this experience was real. She was being raped and the man that was defiling her body was her own brother Amnon. Amid the pain that she felt from his roughness she found the courage to open her eyes and through the tears she saw his blurry image  on top of her. She had said “no” but he overpowered her and had his way.

Whether your “no” is a loud scream or a small whisper unwanted physical intimacy is rape. For many people who have been raped there is a shame that comes over them.

Tamar asks, “Where would I take my shame?” (2 Samual 13: 13a)

So the ordeal is done. You never thought it would or could happen to you. You are now a victim of rape and filled with shame. How do you deal with it and where  do you take it? The truth of the matter is that the only one who should feel shame is the perpetrator. They are the intruders, often with masked faces, armed with a weapon. They are the ones who made the coward move.  However, the reality is the victim/survivor is often left with the burden, the load, and the shame. This leaves them in fear, feeling humiliated and alone.

 As much as you may offer advice to the victim/survivor they must be allowed to grieve, to digest what happened and to purge it out. You should still be there for the person. In fact, make yourself available as much as possible but don’t force them to talk about the situation. They will open up in time.

Whether your “no” is a loud scream or a small whisper unwanted physical intimacy is rape.

So where does the victim/survivor take their shame? To the feet of Jesus

As she stood behind him at his feet weeping she began to wipe his feet with her tears…(Luke 7: 3a)

Weep at the feet of Jesus. He doesn’t mind the puddle your tears will make at his feet. Release the sorrow and pain. People deal with grief differently. Some will weep like the woman in that scripture, others bottle it in and rarely shed a tear, yet others will do things that distract them from thinking about what happened. The worse thing you can do is to not deal with what happened. If you don’t you will live a life of suffering.

Here’s what God promises you!:

Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance… (Isaiah 61: 7a)

God is real good at turning a bad situation around. When you are grieving  you can hardly see past the tip of your nose much less imagining a blessing coming out of it.

Joseph mourned at the death of his father, Israel. In fact, not only did he mourn but so did all those that went with him to bury his father in Canaan: the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and the elders of the land of Egypt. Their mourning was described as a a “deep mourning”.

And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a deep mourning of the Egyptians.” Therefore its name was called Abel Mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.  (Genesis 50: 11) 

If you are a victim/survivor, you know real “deep mourning.” However, lets go back to God turning this situation around. A little further down in the text Joseph addresses his brothers, reassuring them that he would not repay them for the wrong they did to him (selling him into slavery).

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good. (Genesis 50:20)

 It may not feel like it at the time, but the experience of every bad situation can be utilized for the greater good. For Joseph, he went from slave to governor. Often times victims/survivors often use their experience to advocate for a cause, holding workshops, writing books, sharing their experience on a a global platform. Many routes can be taken. I do not believe God causes women (or men for that matter) to be domestically/sexually abused. However, I do believe that God can use any situation as a teachable moment and testimony for others. There are some people, when they hear your story, will start to heal or heal better because they know they are not alone.  There are others, when they hear your story, will find the courage to tell others and be used as instruments to heal also. It is quite possible, due to the frequency of these types of acts, they may have heard someone else’s story. However, it may very well be your story that touches their heart. In you, they may see the hope they need.

As you find your strength you will come out of this victorious.

 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) 

Hope! What an awesome word. Hope is a feeling of expectation. Though you have been through a lot of bad, good things can still happen to you. . Yes, something unexpected happened, something you did nothing to cause. However, just like before the incident your future is still up to you. You can have a great future! If you are a victim/survivor the first thing you need to do is be open to grieving process. Find someone you can talk to about the situation and if you do not feel like you have anyone, find a local organization or hotline that offers services to assist you. Seeing a physician if the situation calls for it (i.e. rape). Never blame yourself. When someone forces themselves on you or if you started being intimate and then said “no”, it is rape. Putting trust in God for healing is one of the most important steps. There are lots of in between steps not mentioned here. However, know that you are not alone and as you find your strength you will find peace and come out of this victorious.

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