It is more than a year since 270 girls were taken from the secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria. “This year feels like 10 years,” says Enoch Mark, father of a daughter and an adopted daughter taken from the Chibok school.*
Every day, millions of girls suffer some sort of sexual attack! Many are raped (forced to have sex against their will). In South Africa, 40% of women are raped at least once during their lifetime! Many more will be abused in other ways, even as children. In the American Army, 30% of women soldiers are abused by men soldiers. India is now working to protect girls and women from so-called ‘Eve-teasing’ touch abuse, and rape. FGM (also called 'female circumcision' – cutting a girl’s sexual parts) is another very bad thing done to many girls in Africa and beyond. Of course, boys can also be abused.
Recovery from rape and sexual abuse
It is a long journey to recover from the hurt caused by rape or sexual abuse:
● It is important to talk to someone, if possible a trained helper, instead of hiding the memory away. Do this even if it happened many years ago.
● Most people think "Somehow it is my fault." This is called ‘false guilt’ – feeling that you were somehow to blame.
● Healing is even harder in countries where other people also blame you, even though you did nothing wrong. This makes you feel even more shame.
● God can be part of the healing you need. He understands the pain you feel, and can ‘walk with you’. You are not alone. Jesus died to take away the guilt of things we have done. But he also died to take away the shame of bad things that have been done to us, and bring healing inside.
Carrie was raped when she was a student. It took her many years to find healing.** She says, “I was 27 before I began attending a group for rape survivors ... it took a year of their help. Tears became my silent prayers to God. I ‘held tight’ to words from Psalms [in the Old Testament part of the Bible], ‘You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book’ (Psalm 56:8).
I had lost so much. My innocence [not knowing bad things] was taken from me. Worst of all, I felt I had lost hope – hope of getting a good husband, keeping a job. But Jesus reached down and rescued me.”
Read more online - Carrie’s story: Carrie's story
Enoch’s story: bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-32305622
End sexual violence: Najemly
Help for you
If you have suffered rape, abuse, or any other sort of trouble, please write to a helper (‘mentor’) online. (You can also try to find a support group in your community.)
Whether you are man or woman, you can write: about big problems, small worries, or questions about faith.
The Power to Change website is a private safe space to ‘talk’ by email to a trained helper: powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor