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Friday, October 25, 2013

Dealing with Rape - Part 4 - A Mother's Perspective


What follows is Part 4 in a series of posts about a very serious and very sensitive subject.  These emails were sent to me quite a while ago.  Now that enough time has passed it seems appropriate to share them.  I am doing so with the original writer's permission.  She is doing well, and hopes that others in the same situation can learn from this trial she has had to endure.

Rape is a Violent Crime.

If you have been, or suspect you may have been, the victim of rape, regardless of your age, sex, situation, location, or the identity of your attacker, I want you to know that it's not your fault.

It never is.

I plead with you to get help from a trusted relative, authority, friend, crisis center or counselor.  If at first you don't get the help you need, please don't give up trying.

And, most importantly, I want you to know that I know that the Savior Loves You, that you have Value as a Child of God, that you can survive this ordeal, that you can heal and be whole and live a great and wonderful life.

I love you, and I know that Jesus and Heavenly Father do as well.

- Bro Jo]

Dear Bro Jo,

I wanted to thank you for your kindness and support for my daughter.

As I'm sure you can imagine, the last couple years have been intensely challenging for her; she's an amazing girl coping with extraordinarily-difficult circumstances.

I'm especially grateful for your reiterating the message that she is not at fault for what happened; she sometimes struggles with "what-if's" wondering if she should have done something different.

She has a host of tough questions that her father, her psychologist, the court system, and I sometimes don't have very good answers for, so I'm thankful that when she wrote to you you were able to "be there" for her.

Like all rape victims, she struggles with how much and when to tell people about what happened to her.

She worries that knowing her story will make people think less of her or judge her; thank you SO much for explicitly telling her that you don't!

When she first told her father and me, I quite literally felt like I had been punched in the gut and had the wind knocked out of me.

I couldn't breathe, and felt, as you put it, like hitting "Bob" with my truck.

So I get that reaction; it's like compassion, love and rage all whirling in a blender in your stomach.

But please consider as you write back to other girls who have been assaulted that our daughter was so afraid her dad, uncle, brothers, and/or guy friends actually would kill her perp that she didn't tell anyone her story for months.

So maybe just…I don't know… try not to communicate the violent retaliation impulse even if it is coming from a place of empathy.

She sometimes worries she's "damaged goods" and will never find the right "good guy" to take her to the Temple.

She worries about the safety of others with "Bob" still out walking around with his freedom.

She wonders how long it will take for the flashbacks and nightmares and pain to disappear completely.

Your responses were unquestionably inspired, as if you were inside her head and already knew those places she needs reassurance.

Thank you again for how much comfort you have given to my daughter.

- Mom

Dear Mom,

I appreciate your perspective and advice; thank you for writing me.

And thank you for your kind words.

How ever it happens, whatever the Lord's timing is, I pray that your daughter will find the True Eternal Love that she deserves, and that she'll feel the comfort of the Savior that she needs.

Thank you for your strength,

- Bro Jo

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