Content Warning: sexual assault/rape
My story is a testimony of the restorative love of Christ.
As a young girl, I was quite shy and timid. I did not easily get along with other people and was very socially anxious. In elementary school, I loved nature and spent a lot of time outside. Being alone was where I felt most at ease because I didn’t feel accepted by anyone.
After elementary school, my life took a dark turn.
I lost my two closest friends and began to hate school, grew detached from my family, and actively avoided everyone around me. I felt more alone than ever. In eighth grade things improved—I joined an honors class and found a group of like-minded people. While they were a good influence on my life, I struggled to feel accepted. This feeling endured throughout high school and led me to constantly compare myself. I was driven and determined to succeed, but underneath there was a looming sense of self-doubt. In my effort to find acceptance, I found my first boyfriend during sophomore year. Our relationship started off well, but it quickly became harmful.
I was 15 the first time I was sexually assaulted.
I remember saying “no,” but I did not have the strength to stop his advances. The effects of this first sexual violation were incredibly profound.
I started to become depressed and fantasized about ending my life. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I blamed myself for what happened and struggled with a profound sense of self-loathing. Every voice in my head said: you are worthless.
The pain pulled me away from God and accelerated my isolation. The depression became so bad I stopped regularly attending school. I became anorexic junior year of high school and pushed myself so hard in track and field that my body mass index dropped to a staggering 15 percent. That same year, I attempted suicide and was kept in an psychiatric hospital for four days. After enduring this trauma, my heart longed for a source of comfort in the emptiness and the pain.
That is when I started to find my faith.
I read the Bible religiously. I lamented with David in the Psalms. I felt the pain and shame of Tamar in 2 Samuel, who after being violated, “put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.”
I was able to bring my anguish to God.
Senior year, I continued reading and journaling everyday. Despite being rejected by classmates who resented my newfound Christianity, I did well in school and for the first time in a while, I was content.
Around the time of prom I was asked out by a guy. Given my past experience, I was reluctant. But we started dating and yet again, I was violated. This relationship lasted about a year and a half before it ended. Once more, I felt anger and resentment towards God. I even started to despise other Christians. They appeared guiltless and seemed to have everything together, and here I am feeling empty, impure, and guilty. Again, I felt like it was my fault. I felt like to be a good Christian I had to have everything together. But I didn’t, which made it hard to relate to other believers.
I felt like an outcast. During my first years at Gordon I didn’t make many friends. I was ashamed of myself. I continued to experience assault at the hands of male Christian “friends.” I started to wonder if there were any good men in the world.
It was not until I met my current boyfriend at the start of junior year that I began the healing process. He validated the pain of my past and did not judge me. He helped bring me closer to God and allowed me to experience love.
I’ve begun to understand the profound nature of Psalm 147:3, when it says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” In the midst of the pain, Jesus has been my truest friend and the counselor of my heart. He is restoring me from the horrors of my past. I never asked for any of the hurt that I have experienced, but through the pain, God has been showing me the everlasting wonders of His love.
I am writing this article because sexual assault has been a part of my story and I want to let survivors know—you are not alone.
Sexual assault is something that remains with you. It impacts relationships, friendships, and faith. It changes how you view the world. To this day, I am still healing from sexual assault. For me, writing this is part of that process. But there is solace, peace, and restoration in Christ. His “mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3: 22).
I am learning that His love is sufficient. Even though the hurt is something that takes time to fully heal from, I know that though justice and deliverance from suffering might not fully come while on earth, I can have assurance in the hope that He will make all things new.
I am not condemned. I no longer have to be afraid. God is on my side. He says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Categories: Student Life