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Monday, November 19, 2012

Can a Victim of Rape and Abuse Ever Trust Enough to Find Love? - Part 1

[Dear Readers,

The writer in this series has endured some pretty bad experiences with guys.  So bad, that one can understand why she has trust issues and why those issues have her concerned that she may never meet a man she trusts enough to marry.  So she starts by asking what will be the Eternal Consequences for her if she doesn't get married in this life.

But the emails reveal other concerns as well.

Below is Part 1.

Part 2 will post next Monday.

Please keep your comments sensitive to her situation and experiences.

- Bro Jo]

Dear Bro Jo,

I have been rather concerned recently.

About 5 years ago I was raped when I was walking home from a school dance.

4 years after that I had just turned 17 and decided I would be courageous and accepted this guy’s offer to go on a date.

Due to the incident before I had a really hard time accepting guys offers to go on dates. Even though they were group dates I was worried I would be taken advantage of again.

On this date, my very first might I add, we went to a water park.

I was modest, one piece bathing suit that didn't even go low in the front, but to my dismay it didn't stop this young man from reaching down the front of my suit.

So as a result of these incidents I have a hard time with guys.

And I'm not yet a fan of the whole dating scene.

But I'm working on it.

So here is my question:  I read somewhere, I can't remember where it might have been, the journal of discourses or in D&C, that you cannot reach the highest glory in the Celestial Kingdom if we are not married.

Now I know I'm 18, these things take time to get over, and me personally I am nowhere near ready to get married. Heck I can barely date.

But I guess my concern is that I won't get married and receive those blessings.

So if I can't get over my fears now will I have an opportunity in the next life?

Or because I may have the opportunity now, and if I don't take it am I stuck?

I know I may not be seeing the whole gospel picture here and am probably missing important principals.

So if you could help me understand?

I appreciate you taking time to this read letter, so thank you very much!

- Name Withheld

Dear Little Sister,

To reach the Highest Level of the Celestial Kingdom we must enter into the New and Everlasting Covenant of Eternal Marriage.

That's true.

It’s also true that God is both just and merciful, so Sister Jo and I are looking forward to acting as proxies for the Sealing of my grandparents, who were not members. They, my grandparents, will of course have the choice to accept or deny that sealing. (Law of Agency, you know.)

The Lord, through his prophets, had also taught us that those who have not had the opportunity to marry, or marry well, here will have an opportunity after this life.

That said, we've also been taught that its much easier to meet and marry here than in the eternities.

I believe that if we do the best we can, always trying to be better today than yesterday, that everything will work out.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, don't worry about it.

Now, regarding the rape and the guy that felt you up on your first date . . . I hope you've told someone other than me about the rapist. He needs to know the consequences of his actions. I understand that being a difficult thing, but when jerks like that go unreported they keep hurting other people.

Five years is not too late.

Tell an adult you trust; parents, priesthood leader, auxiliary leader, someone.

As for the other guy . . . I have a question: just exactly what were you doing that he was able to do what he did?

I mean the hand down the front of a swimsuit thing is pretty difficult to do . . . unless you're already in close to begin with . . . Don't get me wrong, I hope you slapped him . . . or as my Football players say "hit him so hard he lost his testimony"; don't be a victim anymore!

Take a self-defense class or something; you don't deserve to be someone else's target for abuse. You're much more valuable than you've been treated.

Keep dating, definitely in groups, and keep yourself safe.

- Bro Jo


J-Dawg Fluffy said...

I said something a long tiem ago about self-defense classes for women, but I'll say it again.

Make sure your class is more than just a martial arts class. A lot of self defense classes for women focus on physical self-defense and not the more important aspects of it.

First, get a copy of the book 'The Gift of Fear." That book will teach you more that ANY class can. Its author is a psychologist who makes a living predicting violent behavior. He hadn't made an inaccurate prediction at the time the book was published. He knows what he's talking about.

Some things to remember: 80% of all rapes are committed by men the victim knew, and it's almost always a significant other or a "family friend" who commits the act. And even in instances where the victim didn't know the attacker, it wasn't like he jumped out from behind a bush or stalked her then attacked. That represents less than 1% of all attacks. They usually get the woman to trust them first, as demonstrated in the book.

Again, be wary of MMA and similar self-defense type classes. While knowing how to fight is important, you aren't going to out-wrestle someone who is 80 pounds heavier than you. They have weight classes in sports for a reason. And if you're wearing heels to an event, try carrying around a pair of flats to wear home in case you have to run. And avoid carrying weapons unless you know how to use them and will not hesitate. Anything you use against your attacker can be used against you if you don't know what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

This whole post is a kind of mixed-feeling one for me! I've been looking into taking a self-defense course or two. I freaked myself out as a child that every single person I saw was out to get me. Some of them were legit concerns, but it really messed up my head.
Anyway, I'm not scared to date, but I am scared of commitment - yes girls have that too. I'm scared because I'm afraid that if I trust someone enough that they will eventually let me down, which has happened a lot. I'm working on it, but it is definitely an upward path! But I do know Heavenly Father really, really loves His daughters and is so gentle with them! So consider yourself in His hands. He is one man who is in no way going to let you down. :)

Jessica said...

Having been a victim myself, though under different circumstances, my best recommendation is to get a good counselor. While self defense is helpful like jdawg says, it is easy to be a victim again unless you work on the emotional aspects of rape. Self defense and confidence starts on the inside. A counselor will help you work through those emotional aspects better than a friend or family member could because this is something they are familiar with.
Also, overcoming the effects of rape is very difficult to do alone. In my experience nothing helped my testimony as much as relying on The Lord through this adversity as with any other trial. Even though I have my own experience with rape I can't say I fully understand what you're going through, but there is one who can. This brought an immense relief to me, though it is difficult and takes time giving you burden to The Lord is the best thing to do. Having faith that he can and will restore what you have lost will help you overcome your challenges with relationships and trust. This is obviously not something that will happen instantly, but with time these challenges decrease. It has been 6 years since my experience and I was older when it happened and I went to counseling right away, but I still have to work on it once every few months or less, but it always gets better. It is also important not to burry these emotions or they will come out when you don't expect it.
Now I am still single and 26, but I have dated and been in trusting relationships though I haven't settled down- BUT I have faith that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. Another one of the best resources for this faith and assurance comes in temple attendance, even if it is just doing baptisms.
I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

What can we do as guys to be a better support for girls? What can we do to be patient with their lack of trust? Rape, molestation and such abusive experiences are scarring and difficult to deal with, but I don't want to be seen as a danger to girls. The fact that I'm Hispanic may sketch white girls out initially as I've sadly seen while being at BYU lol.

What are some things guys can do while dating girls that will help them feel safe and to help them see the type of guys that we are? How can we support?

Stacey Lynn said...

As a sexual assault survivor, I know exactly how you feel! I still struggle with the idea that all men are out for one thing and not to be trusted.

I was 16 when my assault happened at the hands of my boyfriend. We were not being decent to begin with, and that's where I let myself get into harms way. After some time with a counselor, I learned how much staying chaste & modest in every way possible keeps you safe from this danger. Follow the guidance of the prophets, they know what they're talking about!

I have been married now for almost a year, and my husband is fantastic. I still have trust issues, and it's been a rocky first year. But he's been there to help me through. He makes sure that communication channels stay open and respects my wishes if I ever feel uncomfortable or upset about something.

And I always have the Lord. His atonement is for more than just the sin of pain, he's there to help each of us through our individual trials.

BananaSplit said...

@ Anon #2- Wow you are great. I wish there were more guys that would ask that question.
I've never had been physically assaulted, but I still have trust issues because of different things. So here's what I would suggest for a great guy like you (and it really shouldn't matter that you're Hispanic, even though I know people act like it does) anyway,
1- Take anything slow. Show your respect by not reaching for the hand, or wanting physical stuff too soon. Help her know that you love her as a person and not her body.
2- Talk about a lot of different things, so that she can know you have a mind apart from your body. 3-Get her home early and keep your hands to yourself unless you can sense she's ready.
4- If you do start something more physical and she seems even the least bit uncomfortable, back off and give her some space physically, but don't act like you're only in it for her body. Pray for her and treat her like a queen. It might take a long, long time, but if you think she's worth it, she definitely is. That's my 2 cents anyway. :)If Bro Jo has anything to add I'd love to hear it.

Madi said...

I'd like to add on to what banana split said:

I (being a teen girl) also think that you need to constantly watch how you talk, and what you say about girls around your friends, and around her. Word gets around, and I know that in my high school if a guy says something about a girls body, every girl eventually knows what he said.

Also I think that you need to not use words thy society believes is now acceptable for a replacement of beautiful. Words like hott, sexy, fine etc... I also think that (as banana said) treat girls like princesses. Think of your favorite storybook prince, he would never do anything that would make his princess uncomfortable. Open doors for her, tell her ccomplements that don't have to do with her body. I also agree with taking things slow, don't rush things in
relationships, and reneged satin is supposed to be a fun, safe way to get to know other people and to hopefully find your future spouse.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry that has happened to you! Know that you are not alone. When I was in 16, I went on a date and was touched inapropriately. My biggest thing is don't feel like you are alone, you are not. It took me close to two years to get through that experience.. Remember this though, You are a BEAUTIFUL BELOVED Daughter of a loving Father in Heaven. He knows you, He knows your Heart and I strongly believe he will be there for you all along your way, He will patiently wait for you come to him and then he will lovingly take you in his arms and through the wonderful power of Forgiveness will bring peace back into your life that will give way to trust in YOUR Time... Don't feel pressure to get over it now, It takes time. The Lord know this and will nto hold it against you. Trust in Heavenly Father, He loves you and wants you to return and He will help you get there.
As for Trust, maybe this will help you.. Remember that everyone you meet is a son of God. Keep an eye out for those guys who are Prietshood holders and pay close attention to how they act when they don't think anyone is looking. you can always pray to Heavenly Father and I believe He will help you whenever you need it for anything. Even if that help is descerning if the guy is trustworthy. You are Worth so much love and You will find that one special guy who will treat you like a Princess.
If you are thinking of Self Defense classes, They are not always so bad. I have taken some Self Defense classes, they helped me with my confidence. The other thing that has helped me, is knowing that I am a beautiful Daughter of Heavenly Father and He does love me. You can feel that love to. I don't know you but if you are struggling with Confidence or Self Esteem, I will tell you Self Defense helped me a ton, as did Positive Affirmations. If you feel like trying this, then You can look at yourself in the mirror daily and tell yourself "I am a Beautiful Daughter of Heavenly Father, born to be a Queen." Hope this helps you, if not its okay. I pray that you can find the peace and love that you so deserve in life. You are a precious, Beautiful and Beloved Daughter of Heavenly Father!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry this comment is coming to you so late after your question, but I had to say something!

My very best friend endured years of horrible abuse growing up and into her teens. She struggled with trusting men, and other things. She met an amazing guy, and they actually got married last Saturday, she didn't think she would ever get married. Through the Savior she was able to overcome the trials and struggles the abuse had caused her. She will always have some problems now and again because of the abuse, but she heavily relies on the Savior (I am not at all saying you do not!). Her husband is a wonderful man that knows about what happened to her, and her problems as a result. But he loves and cherishes her very much, and does all he can to show her love when she does struggle.

I am sure that you will be able to find someone who is worthy of you, that you will be able to trust. And whether it is in this life or the next, I also believe that you will not have any repercussions for whatever path you take!