I feel so bad because of what has happened. How does God look at me?
Sexual abuse hurts victims in many ways. One of those ways is to make you feel that it was your fault, that you are bad and a worthless person.
There are many emotions and feelings that you may also go through such as anger, betrayal, mistrust, helplessness, insomnia or a loss of sense of who you are, feelings of shame is not uncommon.
You are not a bad person because someone else abused you. You are in no way to blame for what happened.
God hates the oppression of the weak and suffers with them in their pain. God loves you and sees you in the innocence and purity with which you were created.
Does the victim of sexual abuse bear some responsibility for provoking the situation and not putting a stop to it?
Children are taught to obey adults and cannot discern and older person's motives. A child may take years to understand that what has been done to them is abuse, so they are powerless at the time of the abuse to do anything to stop it.
The onus is on adults to provide a safe place for children, not for a child to put a stop to the abuse.
I feel the need to talk to someone. Where can I go for help?
If you are experiencing sexual abuse or know someone who is, you need to talk to someone who can stop the abuse. Such as the police or a child protection helpline.
If you are an adult who has experienced child sexual abuse then making a choice to seek help is an important step to empowerment. Abuse removes from the victim the freedom to choose. Therefore, the first person you talk to, should be someone you trust and who will support you.
If you do not wish to disclose to a friend, AdSAFE has qualified case specialists who will guide and support you through this.
Shouldn’t the perpetrator of sexual abuse be confronted according to the scriptural injunction?
Sexual abuse is a crime and needs to be handled initially by the criminal justice system before any steps are taken by the church to confront the perpetrator.
"The general teaching of the Bible (see Romans 13:1-7 and Matthew 22:15-21) is that the state has been given a divine authority within a certain parameter. It is the task of human authorities to take care of crimes in general. The authority of the church is to deal with issues of a religious nature. It is therefore contrary to general biblical principle to expand the judicial authority of the church to any case of general crime, for example child sexual assault."
(South Pacific Division Biblical Research Committee, 2004)
What if people at church, treat me as an outcast?
People sometimes try to deny the seriousness of abuse by blaming the victim.
It can be disappointing to see people neglect your needs and rally in support of the person who abused. People who abuse can be well-liked, respected in church and be community leaders. Therefore many find it hard to accept that the person they liked has flaws.
The more educated people become about the dynamics of sexual abuse, the more they will understand the victim is not responsible. Remember, the problem is not yours, it is the problem of those who do not accept you.
I am afraid to talk to my minister
A minister should not judge you for what has happened. A minister can support you spiritually and help you with questions like, 'Does God still love me?' or 'Where was God when this happened?' Remember that most ministers are not trained counsellors. They are not equipped and supervised to provide complete counselling to sexual abuse victims. A minister can help you find a trained, professional counsellor to complement the pastoral support. You may also wish to contact AdSAFE who may help you navigate and find an appropriate counsellor who understands the issues around sexual abuse.