Hope Answers the Question

Several people have recently asked, “Why do women wait so long to accuse men of sexual assault?”

Three possibilities answer :

Answer # 1: When a young girl is sexually assaulted, she will often dissociate. She will mentally and emotionally leave her body, and the memory of that trauma will hide in her subconscious.

Shock and denial are powerful protectors. She may not remember the event until decades have passed and something triggers the memory – something like the “Me Too” movement.

Answer # 2: Abusers will often whisper, “Don’t tell” or “This is our secret.” If his victim has been raised in a culture of male authority, she will obey the whispered lie rather than speak the truth about what has happened to her.

It takes an enormous amount of courage to confront that lie. The reason we have seen more women speaking out is because strength resides in numbers. Women feel more empowered when they are not alone in their pain.

Answer # 3: Many abusers are particularly skilled at manipulation – sometimes called “Gaslighting.” A gaslighter will convince the victim that she is at fault. So if she tells anyone, she will be punished and condemned. If she speaks her truth, she may lose her job, the respect of her family — even her ministry.

Gaslighters use words such as “She really wanted it” or “She was dressed so provocatively I couldn’t help myself.” When these abusers blame their victims, they don’t have to admit they are criminals. For more information about “gaslighting” check out Leslie Vernick. 

Do women sometimes lie about being assaulted? Certainly. But statistics show the majority of the lies come from the abusers.

Why is a blog about HOPE dealing with the subject of sexual assault? Because so hope - scrabble lettersmany of us who can answer “Me, too” need to find hope. Some of us suffer from PTSD, from low self-esteem, from the strangle-holds of fear. And we can pinpoint the beginnings of that pain from the moment we were devalued, victimized, assaulted.

The only way to march forward and embrace HOPE is to tell the truth. The sexual assault was NOT our fault, and the numbers of encounters now being reported prove just how depraved mankind is.

This is why we humans so desperately need a Savior. For those of us who have experienced assault and reached out to Jesus – we know he is the one male figure we can totally trust. And in relationship with him, we find ultimate HOPE.

©2017 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

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6 thoughts on “Hope Answers the Question

  1. Today I heard one of the woman who came forward in Alabama talk about the consequences she has experienced since she was a child of 14. They have ranged from telling her friends when it happened and being strongly discouraged from telling her story at that time, that she told her family but was hushed, that she wanted to come forward when her children were in elementary school and grade school and decided against it because of the consequences her children would face, and finally that she is not able to work now she has come forward.
    Telling the story of sexual assault, and of rape, of a child less than 16 or of any woman is a perilous journey. An attorney will caution the victim that every detail of their lives will be discussed in open court. Those details will lead to public criticism and be a public record for life.
    Hope for justice is trampled when Christians refuse to believe and come alongside to support victims of assault and rape.
    But I am grateful that God judges by what is in our hearts. I am grateful that God stands beside the weak and those who mourn. I am grateful that God revealed that He requires us to love justice. And, I am grateful that more than 59 Alabaman pastors have signed a letter denouncing this conduct.

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