The Me Too movement has been going on for quite some time now and has brought about conversations on consent among many, on and offline. The conversations I have had, few as they are, have delved deep into a place I have tried to pretend didn’t exist.
You see, as a “good Christian girl” I have tried to stay pure and not have sex. As my “Visions” series showed years ago though- although I haven’t had full on sex- I have done much more than I ever should have and I never dreamed I would have done outside the confines of marriage when I first set out dating.
As a child, I thought I’d meet a man, we’d fall madly in love, get married summer between undergrad and med school, and then have a glorious reign as a power couple in church; both still virgins who never kissed until the alter.
This, however, did not happen.
I found myself 26, never having held a man’s hand before, and desperately wondering how was I that ugly and unattractive that almost no man wanted to date me.
And so when my first boyfriend came along, I caved in with kisses (after he stole my first kiss) and eventually more. And with the 2nd I gave in some more. Each one pulling more from me than the first and each one leaving part of me with them- forever gone are things I’ll never get back.
The worst time though- the worst – was when one of my ex-boyfriends did something that I did not say yes to. I didn’t say “no” either- I was frozen. In shock that this thing- his thing – was in part of me. Not **there** but still… in me. I didn’t get to say yes or no to it. He just… did it and I was crushed under the weight of him, under the weight of what he was doing, literally, physically and mentally unable to utter a word or even able to push him off of me.
And the shame- the deep deep shame. How could I, a Christian female, tell anyone what he had done? It was MY FAULT for allowing myself to be in a situation where he felt at liberty to do that- to put that – in places I didn’t ask for it to be.
It wasn’t rape in my book- I didn’t object, I didn’t even try to push him off so he couldn’t have known at the time. I just laid there, unable to move or speak, and before I knew it it was over. He was out of me and I was left unsure.
Afterwards, excited, he asked me if I liked it and “wasn’t it so great?”
I halfheartedly said “yeah”
The overwhelming shame silenced me from saying anything further.
The guilt of having allowed myself to be in a place where what he had done was even possible ate me to my core. In my head it was MY FAULT that I let my boyfriend of the time think it would be an okay action to try on me.
He apparently eventually blamed me as well. Months later as we were breaking up, he disgustedly look at me to tell me how gross I was for wanting **THAT** after church services – after I was begging for him to just hold my hand. Apparently I was a temptress who only led him to do bad things. It was the only time I yelled at a man other than my father in my adulthood.
“I don’t want that! I just want you to hold my hand!” I screamed, but he was sure: I wanted *almost* sex apparently all day, every day, especially after church, even though we hadn’t even held hands in weeks.
I’m still working through some of this with my counselor. At some point, I’ll have the courage to tell my current boyfriend. For now, his assurances I don’t have to tell him anything until I’m ready make me feel safe.
He has never tried to even hold my hand since pastor told him not to, and the safety I feel with him honoring that I cannot explain. It is SO invaluable to me, having lived through what I did. To know that he will honor that level of not being physically intimate yet, until he’s more sure of if he loves me/wants to marry me, tells me that I would be safe from ever being in a situation like that with him.
I write this in tears, so thankful for this man who I’m dating now, and so grateful for a God who can heal even the deepest of wounds. I have given that guilt, shame, pain, and fear to Him- and He has given me back beauty for such horrible, ugly ashes.
I need time for this amazing man to prove that my heart, my honor, and my body are safe with him. That he won’t push me to places I don’t want to go; that he won’t put things in places that I haven’t asked for them to be; that he won’t be among the males who have walked away from me, leaving me broken in their dust.
If you dear reader, have had a similar situation- if you have shame for allowing yourself to be in a place where a man feels at liberty to put **that** in any place you never asked for it to be (or a woman felt at liberty to put *you* in places you didn’t ask to be) – but you didn’t fight, you didn’t even say no, so you don’t feel calling it rape is accurate either – know you are not alone. Also, know that God has such deep levels of love, compassion, and healing for you- as He did me. I could not be in the relationship that I am in currently if it wasn’t for His healing power.
You are not alone.
Your healing can start today.
I ask You now, You know who’s reading this. You know who searched for something to speak to their situation. So speak to them now- help them know that just one word – Your name – Jesus – can heal them. By Your stripes we are healed! You healed this place of deep pain for me, and I know You can for them. In Jesus name, I release Your healing in their heart, mind, and soul right now and I pray You lead them to the right people to help them continue on this journey of healing.
In Jesus name,