WHI-1215 | Rid of My Disgrace

Sunday, 20 Jul 2014

How should the Christian church respond to sexual abuse victims in her midst and in the wider culture? What does the gospel of grace say to those who have suffered in this violent and traumatic way? This week on the White Horse Inn Dr. Michael Horton speaks with special guests Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, authors of Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault. Join the conversation as they discuss important questions like…. “Why is it that people repress past childhood experiences as you did, Justin, when you say, ‘You know what, I’m okay. I’m moving right along’? You just don’t think about it and then years later all sorts of addictions and weird stuff starts coming out of a person and they don’t know where it’s coming from. What’s so horrible about this particular victimization? Do you think we have a shallow understanding of sin, first of all as always acts, not a condition, and also as something I do, without accounting for things done to me? We’re all sinners – never sinned against. So, the whole idea of a victim becomes theologically implausible. Is that something you run in to?”

“The confusing part for the victim is that, this isn’t sex. This is sexual assault and there is a big difference between the two. Sexual assault is not about sex. It’s not about intimacy. It’s not about passion and relationships. It’s about violence. It’s about going against your consent… that would be one of the things I would want to say to a victim. This is far different than what it looks like as it was designed by God. This is not sex as God designed it to be.”
– Lindsey Holcomb
Sexual Abuse
“Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Most victims and perpetrators know each other. Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear or disbelief. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder. While efforts to treat sex offenders remain unpromising, psychological interventions for survivors — especially group therapy — appears effective.
In most states, the legal definition of molestation is an act of a person who forces, coerces or threatens the victim to have any form of sexual contact or to engage in any type of sexual activity at the perpetrator’s direction. Childhood and adolescent sexual abuse damages the developing human being, and therefore may result in severe symptoms. Sexual abuse prevents healthy flourishing (i.e. the ability to function and exist in a ‘normal’ manner) through conscious and subconscious means.
Sexual abuse robs men, women, and children of their ability to exist in the social world by creating a loss of trust, feelings of guilt, and self-abusive behavior. It can lead to antisocial behavior, depression, identity confusion, loss of self-esteem and other serious emotional problems. It can also lead to difficulty with intimate relationships later in life.
(Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology, s.v. “Sexual Abuse,” and the American Humane Association)

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