A Christian Perspective on the Crisis of Rape


Silent Screams 

Rape is the non-consensual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth by the penis or any other object the perpetrator chooses to use.  Rape is an act of sexual violence that is primarily about anger, revenge, and control of others rather than sex.  This violent act has a significant impact on the victim, affecting her in physiological, psychological, and spiritual ways.  Victims of rape often have severe difficulties overcoming a rape due to their sense of a loss of control over their own bodies.  Many have been physically threatened, and were afraid of not living through the experience.  Many wonder why God allowed this to happen to them.  Some have even lost their faith after having been raped.  The Christian Church has a responsibility to address this issue in an appropriate manner, though it has largely ignored it or hidden evidence of it in the past, especially when a clergy member was the perpetrator.  Some clergy who have been found out have simply been sent to a new unsuspecting church, rather than being truly disciplined.  The Church has clearly been indicated in untold numbers of abuses and rapes of children, both in the Catholic branch and in the protestant branch of the church.

Victims are often blamed by society, as well as by the church and its members for having been raped, even when there is absolutely no evidence to support this idea.  Rape is not about appearance or seductive dress, as women of all ages and body types have been raped. Women and children have been raped from as young as a few months old even to the eldest of the elderly. The vulnerability of the victim is often the deciding factor on who is or is not raped. In a severe rape, a three month old baby girl was raped by a live in boyfriend of the baby’s mother, who had left the child with him to care for. Rape is clearly about anger and control, not how sexy the victim is or is not. Though some women have been accused of being promiscuous and leading the rapist on, reputable authorities today have dismissed this idea as completely untrue.

A connection has been noted by some authorities between a history of childhood sexual abuse and a later rape, due to the ineffective boundaries of the victim.  The victim often dismisses legitimate danger signals as just being paranoid due to the earlier experience of abuse.  She often downplays important facts that would normally indicate she was in danger, thinking that it’s just her being too suspicious, when she is clearly in a vulnerable situation.

Rape is not just an issue of females either.  Young boys have often been victims as well, though they often never tell anyone of the experience until much later.  The victim’s first sexual encounter usually has a related affect on how their later sex life is experienced, especially if the perpetrator is someone the child loves and respects.  Older male homosexuals have been known to rape underage young boys, which only produces a confusion of the victim’s sexuality, and often encourages a later choice of a homosexual lifestyle.  Some of these young boys grow up to have trouble maintaining an appropriate sex life with an adult female, and often turn to underage children, whether boys or girls, which only exacerbates childhood sexual abuse patterns.  About a third of all children subjected to childhood sexual abuse or rape will later become perpetrators of more rape or abuse.

While rape is sometimes carried out by a stranger, often it involves someone the victim knows in some community or family context.  Rape can be perpetrated by someone the victims knows from the home, the school, the church, the neighborhood, or any other context.  Date rape takes place when the victim is in a limited dating relationship with the perpetrator, who then coerces or forces her into sexual intercourse in an involuntary context.  Drugs and alcohol are often involved in some way.

Christians need to be informed of the true nature of rape, and should be the first to offer help to victims in any way that they can.  When a Christian woman or child is raped, often the spiritual repercussions are the hardest ones to deal with.  They need to be embraced by the Christian community and ministered to just as any other victim of a violent act would be.  If the victim is looked down on by the church or its members in any way for having been raped, then the victim will inevitably turn away from the church, and sometimes even from God. The masculine ideas of the Godhead by the majority of the Christian community often adds to the problems associated with the initial rape and the ultimate rejection of God.  The shattered faith that results has left untold victims in a spiritual heart of darkness.

The response of those closest to the victim can be the determining factor of how well the victim heals psychologically and spiritually.  Victims usually face an immediate situational depression, which will either spontaneously heal over time or can become a prolonged pattern of a depressive disorder.  Victims should not be allowed to isolate themselves for a long period of time, but rather should have a good support system to rely on while recovering. It is imperative for those helping victims to give her a sense of control in all aspects of her recovery.  The victim should never be subjected to any aspect of a program that removes consent.

A compassionate ministry to victims of rape is needed both in the Church and the Christian community as a whole.  Rape crisis counselors, often trained volunteers and previous victims, can be an integral part of an effective Christian ministry for rape and sexual abuse victims.  Child abuse awareness programs can also be an important preventive part of a Christian ministry for children.  Churches can provide educational awareness programs to its own members and others in the wider community.  Churches can also provide training opportunities for volunteers who want to become rape crisis counselors in the church’s ministry.

Churches can provide a support person or group to reassure the victim that she is loved and cared for.  This person or group should keep a list of programs and phone numbers of resources available, if the church itself does not provide an avenue for healing and help.  Support group meeting times and places should be made available to victims, as well as the names and numbers of recovered victims who have volunteered to support recovery efforts.  The support person or group can provide the much needed prayer and assistance that new victims need while in the recovery process.  Often victims don’t feel comfortable with a male pastor in addressing these types of issues, so this should be a woman’s ministry.  To help victims who are hurting, and restore them to a sense of physical and spiritual wholeness, requires the most genuine sense of compassion and understanding from the Christian community.

About mamaheartfilled

I am a mother of eight wonderful children and five grandkids, of whom I am very proud. I am also a bi-vocational ordained evangelical minister, and a Christian Counselor. I received my B.S. degree in 2004, studying primarily in the areas of Psychology, with minors in Religion and English. I received my Masters Degree in 2009 in Psychological Counseling with an emphasis in Christian Counseling. I have endeavored to paraphrase the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, for the last ten years or so and am working on a final edit, now. It is my hope that it will be of some use in the great commission of Christ. My ministry is primarily geared toward victims of sexual and domestic violence, including victims of childhood sexual abuse, whether currently or in the past. Since I have personally experienced the healing hand of God in overcoming many of the life issues that Christians may face, I feel qualified and compelled to discuss them in a truthful and open manner, as God’s word tells us that “We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.” God has brought me through such diverse tribulations as sexual, physical, and mental abuse, being a victim of a drunk driving accident, spousal pornography addiction, adultery, divorce, remarriage, a very brief, though unjust, incarceration, and having experienced multiple miscarriages and various other trials. I have been asked to leave two Southern Baptist Churches, due to my being a female, ordained as a minister, and fired from a SBC sponsored Christian School (mostly white) for speaking out against racial prejudice in the Family of God. Through God’s merciful forgiveness of my own sins and inadequacies and God’s grace given to me to forgive those who have been a stumbling block to me, I have overcome many of these adversities. God’s word tells us that “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to the purposes of God." Since I have this hope, I believe that God has blessed me with the ability to confront and relate these issues to the Christian community around the world. I hope to be able to use my personal experiences as a ministry of God’s grace and in the comforting of the people of God with the truth of God's mercy. I claim II Corinthians 1: 3 & 4 as my calling, which states: “Blessed be God, the Origin of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Origin of mercies, and the God of comfort; who comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, by the comfort we ourselves have been given by God.” As I have received the gift of God’s healing, I hope to be able to bring the peace beyond understanding to others with the message of God’s mercy and grace. My love for the Sovereign Lord of my life, Jesus Christ, along with my passion for writing has drawn me to explore these commonly experienced crisis issues from the perspective of my own experience in the hope that I may bring an empathetic and compassionate insight to God’s people. I am now a published author and have several books in publication, including my autobiography, "A Little Redneck Theology." The views expressed in my writings are strictly my own insights, acquired from personal experience and diligent study of the related topics and God’s word concerning them. Though I am an ordained minister, my views should not be considered authoritative. I believe that the Christian community’s ultimate authority is the guidance of the human heart by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
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3 Responses to A Christian Perspective on the Crisis of Rape

  1. Pingback: Seven Year Old Raped and Murdered by Maintenance Man | Go Fish Ministries, Inc

  2. I have recently begun as interim pastor at a small country church. In the few months since I have begun, two young girls who had been raped (in both cases because of maternal neglect) have appeared at our church. Both have anger issues. “why didn’t God stop it?” I am at a loss of how our small congregation can be a support in concrete ways to these young girls. Both are seeing counselors, but I long to set up some sort of support system within this small community. Any ideas? Your post talks in generalities. I need usable ideas.
    Paula

    • I would highly recommend some sort of group counseling with prior victims (Christians. A Christian support group is imperative to let these girls know that they are not alone, and that God is there and does care about them. II Corinthians 1:3-4 Comfort others with the comfort you’ve received of God. Ask ladies in your congregation if any of them have experienced this issue and would be willing to mentor/ start group support. I hope this helps. God bless. Let me know how this works for you.

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