Friday, May 2, 2008

Sexual Assault

The following is an excerpt from the Northview Pentecostal Church blog (link under 'My Blog List').

“A young woman, slightly unkempt with tear stained cheeks is sitting in the back of a police cruiser, in the middle of the night. She is told that she will have to be transported to a community two hours away from her home and she bursts into tears again. "I am not the criminal here!"Likely story you might say if you read the above without the context. In fact, she is not the criminal in this situation she is the victim, a victim of a sexual assault and because there are no specially trained personnel available to help her in her home community the trip is necessary.As a woman I am disgusted. Imagine having been violated in such a violent way, sexually. This young woman is no doubt upset, she has bruising in very private places on her body, private places that she would only share in very intimate or medical situations.These parts of her body are also filthy with the body fluids of the man that did this to her.As a person who is involved at arms length with victims of sexual assault I can say that this type of situation is the norm!There are many holes but this is where the story can begin.” ~Lynn

"The above note/posting came from a friend of mine. It describes the situation that a young lady has faced after the Rape she endured.It happened in Saskatchewan. The place that it took place in is not large. To do the proper investigation they must do in a proper way to not lose valuable evidence. Virtually the young lady is the “crime scene” and must be handled properly or when the potential court case and conviction is sought, the criminal will be set free.During the court case her testimony is vital and so is the evidence. When it is over and the results of the case have concluded – the person who did the assault/rape – is dealt with by sending him to jail. But it is far from over for the woman.The fears and nightmares that she will experience will be unending – perhaps for a life time. The first raping by the man is horrific. The second raping is potential by the system that handles her.In the account given by Lynn she is made to sit in the back of the Police Car for two hours while traveling to a bigger center that deals with this issue more often.Put yourself in her shoes and in the back that Police Car – alone and dirty – defiled by someone she either knew or didn’t know. Who will she cry with or scream at in those long two hours? No one is sitting with her as she is the “evidence”.Why am I passionate about this?Well as a person that cares… I care all the time – not just up to the court case and through the court case. It is long after that when no one listens or even seems to be there…when all the pieces that were shattered and dreams that once were have evaporated… I find the person struggling to exist or even stay alive.Jobs are hard to hold after a rape. Family is hard to enjoy after you have been violated. And as much as the individual tries to “get on with life” – or suck it up and move on – that horrible half hour will never leave. We need to do all that we can to help the victim of these crimes. Mr. & Mrs. John and Jane Public read about the arrest and the trial in the newspaper days later it has happened. Then are moved slightly by what they read…but then skip to the next article on the page about the price of chickens, the fact that a politician is in trouble and that real-estate prices are climbing. Simply the public never really knows what goes on or how people are treated. That is wrong! We need to know. We need to understand. We need to care. So what has that to do with church and God and Christian and all that stuff? As a pastor I would suggest that we really need to get out of our comfortable pew and do something. I can guarantee you that it will years before this young lady darken the door of a church or sits in one of our pews with her pain. Can I suggest in a very loud voice – “FOR GOD’S SAKE AND THE SAKE OF THIS YOUNG LADY DO SOMETHING!”~ Pastor Murray Lincoln ~"

My Response:
I hear you. I am currently taking a course where I am politicizing around sexual assault, and I am also writing a paper on torture. Sexual assault is a form of torture where the perpetrator is attempting to exert control over the victim. The victim has many issues to deal with after the violation, one of the main ones being the issue of self-worth. Acknowledging that the violation was NOT their fault; that they did NOT deserve this, is of upmost importance in helping the person begin the road to healing! So often, we don’t really know how to respond to a person who has been violated because we feel uncomfortable in acknowledging the reality of their circumstances such that we avoid reaching out or we reach out mechanically not allowing ourselves to respond with any emotion. Sexual assault is tragic. It is something that we should get angry about. It is something that we should mourn over...people - adults and children, are being hurt, abused!! It is wrong and we need to come around those who have been in this situation with compassion, gentleness, and sensitivity so that we become part of the solution, not a contributor to their pain. The treatment of this girl, because she was continued to be treated like an object (as "evidence"), compounded the wounds inflicted upon her and prolonged the healing process! I cannot emphasize enough that acknowledging that the person DID NOT DESERVE to be violated, that the person has worth, is so very instrumental in the healing process. I know...I speak from an experience of being assaulted and personally working through the process of healing. Everyone has worth. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and reach out with the love of Jesus Christ and be a part of the healing process.
Romans 12:15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.Romans 12:14-16 (in Context) Romans 12 (Whole Chapter)

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