“So she said to him, ‘No, indeed! This evil of sending me away is worse than the other that you did to me.’
But he would not listen to her. Then he called his servant who attended him, and said, ‘Here! Put this woman out, away from me, and bolt the door behind her.’ Now she had on a robe of many colors, for the king’s virgin daughters wore such apparel. And his servant put her out and bolted the door behind her.
Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly.”—2 Samuel 13:16-19 (NKJV)
Last week, I read an interesting article. And while I didn’t agree with the supposed (or the better word might be *alleged*?!?) solution to the problem, there were two things that I agreed with *wholeheartedly*: 1) Rihanna displays *definite signs* of past abuse (and I’m not referring to Chris Brown) and 2) this statement right here is SPOT ON: “‘The traumas we see and experience often make up our sexual template,’ she told the News. ‘People internalize messages they received as a child and translate them into sexual desires.'” Then, as if that wasn’t confirmation enough about what this week’s blog focus should be, I read about Ashley Judd’s memoir and how she recollects incest and abuse in it.
For those of you who may not know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and here’s the thing about that: EVERY TWO MINUTES IN THE U.S. SOMEONE IS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. The good news, according to RAINN’s website is that sexual assault has fallen nearly 60% in the past two years, which to be honest with you, is mind-boggling for me to conceive being all of the *horrific* rape stories I read in the news; being that I have already *personally* worked with *four* teenaged young women who were *gang raped* at the age of 9, all by their brother’s friends; being that I have a friend who survived a gang rape of her own a year ago this past January; being that I am a survivor myself of both incest and date rape.
And then I thought, “When was the last time I heard a sermon about rape in church?” As disciples (John 8:31), I believe that we are *commissioned*, much like the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61) to reach out to the *brokenhearted*. Rape? Trust me. It *breaks your heart* and it’s not something that you can heal from… on your own.
Which brings me back the Rihanna story. Only she knows for sure what happened to her, if anything, but you know what? Back when I was sexually active, there was a lot about what I did (and even now I see, *why* I did what I did) that mirrored a lot of my past abuse. For one, most of the men looked like my molestor and even my date rape situation was never reported (and should have been) all because I started treating my body the way that my molestor did: like it was for the purpose and benefit of someone else. Whenever. However. Wherever. Even when I didn’t want it. Matter of fact, on this side of healthy, I believe I was date raped twice. Why? Because NO MEANS NO and when a guy doesn’t listen to you…that’s rape.
You’ll do some really strange things when you feel uncovered. What you may think is “uninhibited” may really be just pain run amuck. You out of control. Not crying tears…but still crying out.
And then that caused me to look at porn from another angle. Some of us take our pain on actual people. Yet, *how many sexual assault survivors take out their pain on porn*?!?
You know, a lot of people wonder how people can do such horrific things to others, such as when an adult takes (sexual) advantage of a child. And yet, the stats support that the majority of abusers were also abused. One site cites that 22% of child abusers *actually reported* being abused as children. And as crazy as it may sound to some of you, I’ve asked the Lord for insight: WHEN YOU FEEL POWERLESS, THE LIAR (John 8:44) WILL COME UP WITH ALL KINDS OF DISTORTED WAYS TO MAKE YOU FEEL POWERFUL AGAIN. Someone took advantage of you, so you, in turn, take advantage of another. The date rape that I reference in “Inside of Me“, for instance, *his* first experience was being locked in a room with an older girl, by his older brother. He wasn’t let out until he had sex with her. *You think that’s not abuse?!?* (Platinum-selling rapper Lil’ Wayne has a similar first time story. Some of y’all are a bit too conservative for me to post it. Google if you’re interested. His beginning speaks *volumes* to where he is now. *No one* is ready for sex at 11. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE.)
And so, as I thought about the psychology of it all, I wondered how many people feel powerless and so they use (which is automatically a form of abuse) porn to feel better about themselves or at least to take the focus off of their sexual vulnerabilities. Because again, on this side of healthy (which includes free from porn), when I often speak of what watching it is *really like*, I liken it to the Roman times when people sat in arenas and watched gladiators fight ’til the death. To watch other people abuse one another for money, drugs, fame, kicks…it’s *just as violent* and on many levels, just as cowardly (Revelation 2:18) in the sense of abusing others for our own entertainment. I’ll just speak for me: there’s no way that I could really understand the purpose of yahasey min (Hebrew for sexual relations-Genesis 2:24-25) and then watch two or three or five people engage, for instance, in an orgy. That is not a sign of them exercising their sexual strength. That is evidence of a deep-rooted spiritual weakness (Romans 1). PORN MAKES ONE WEAK. Only God can restore (Joel 2:23-25). Only in *true* confession and righteous praying (and to be honest, more times than not, some serious counseling-Proverbs 24:6) is there healing (James 5:16). Only by serving Adonai can authentic power be given (2 Timothy 1:7).
I referenced the story of Tamar at the start of thi because if you are reading this and are a survivor of sexual assault, her story shows that she can *certainly* empathize with how you may be feeling. *So can I.* Feeling like either no one is listening to you or that you are too ashamed to share what has happened. You know, some people, to deal with their internal pain, they cut themselves with razors. Others cut their soul with TV screens, mags and monitors. If that’s you, please send me an email at [email protected] so that I can get your prayer requests *and* send you a teal ribbon: the symbol of survivors of sexual assault. Also, for those who believe they may be ready to speak publicly on their experience (I Timothy 4:14-16-AMP), RAINN has an application that you can download and send in. You don’t have to keep abusing yourself to deaden the pain of your abuse. Porn is not the answer. The Lord is.
I felt led to entitle this blog, “Red Bleeds Teal” because sometimes we are so focused on preaching/teaching/speaking/writing about how Christ died for the *victimizer* to be transformed that we forget (or neglect to say as much as we should) that he also died so that the *victim* could be healed from what the perpetrator has done. When Christ, while hanging on that execution stake said, “It is finished” (John 19:28-30), your situation and the what has happened as a result applied. He died for survivors too.
I’ll be praying because it has only really been during these past four years of abstinence from sexual activity with others and honestly, almost two years from sexual activity with myself, that I have been enlightened (Psalm 18:28) to what the darkness of sexual sin can *really do* to the mind, body and spirit.
Don’t abuse what has been abused. You were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Now, more than ever, let God restore. All of you. Indeed, red bleeds teal.
Love to you,