Your sister hasn’t been the same since that summer. She used to enjoy being a social butterfly but now she doesn’t seem interested in doing anything with anyone, not even you.
Or maybe it was a friend who can’t seem to find the right guy but is determined to date all of them until she finds whatever it is she didn’t see in the last one.
Or maybe it was you. Something in you feels like it died and can’t be revived. You remember what you were wearing and how the air smelled. The sounds are muffled by the rushing in your ears.
If this was you or someone you know who is a survivor of sexual abuse, you share a bond with more than 85% of women we serve at Scarlet Hope. (1) Look at five of your female friends. Chances are one of them has been or will be sexually abused. (2) Every two minutes another person in America is sexually assaulted. (3) Of those, 42% are children. (4)
By the time you finish reading this page, you can mark another one on that list. Only 27% of these crimes are reported to the police, so these figures only represent the numbers that we know. (5)
Let that sink in.
These statistics are only about those survivors who had the courage to tell someone.
You probably remember significant moments in your childhood. They shaped what you wanted to be when you grew up or what your favorite song is. Now imagine for a moment that you experienced this traumatic event as a child. It would change how you viewed yourself and your worth for the rest of your life.
Whether it happened once or often, those who were sexually abused often experience fear, anxiety, anger, depression, flashbacks, shame, increased use of alcohol or drugs, and eating disorders, as well as sexual dysfunction or sexual addiction. (6) The effects of this violence are long lasting and permeate every aspect of the survivor’s life. Even little moments can bring flashbacks: something as harmless as getting arms stuck in a jacket can bring a survivor back to the exact moment of violence when everything was shattered.
Thankfully, we know this isn’t where the story ends. Hope isn’t lost. Our Lord has already provided complete restoration. God knows every moment we will experience and He planned to have someone here to help us before we knew we needed it.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6.
Our Heavenly Father gave us His only son, a piece of Himself, to stand in our place even though He knew ahead of time that we chose to stand as His enemies.
Through the unconditional and redemptive love of Jesus, we are restored, regardless of the brokenness. Hope is renewed. We cannot earn His love. God can use anyone He wants. He chooses to transform lives that have been shattered because it is then that everyone will see it’s not about us; it’s about Him. It’s only through Christ’s sacrifice and love that we are restored.
1 Alegria, M., Vera, M., Freeman, D., Robles, R., Santos, M., & Rivera, C., (1994). HIV infection, risk behaviors, and depressive symptoms among Puerto Rican sex workers. American Journal of Public Health, 84(12), 2000-2002.
2 Michelle Black et al., The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report, (Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011), 19, accessed September 19, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf.
3 Alegria, M., Vera, M., Freeman, D., Robles, R., Santos, M., & Rivera, C., (1994). HIV infection, risk behaviors, and depressive symptoms among Puerto Rican sex workers. American Journal of Public Health, 84(12), 2000-2002.
4 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sex Offenses and Offenders. 1997. 5 Truman and Planty, Criminal Victimization, 2011, table 8.
6 Women Organized Against Rape. Resources & Information. October 2014. http://www.woar.org/resources/common-reactions-to-