When I was three years old, a cousin raped me. With the passing of the years I continued to be sexually abused, but by an uncle. As I grew up, I had uncontrollable sexual urges. I wanted with all of my strength to be able to give myself to the man who would be my husband, but I failed. Instead, I gave my body away too many times….
… I feel extremely dirty. I hate myself and I hate my body. I look in the mirror, and see that I will never be beautiful and no one who really knows me will think highly of me. I’m in a relationship… and I want to make a family with him; but I’m afraid that if he finds out all the things that I’ve done because of my abuse, he will stop loving me or won’t understand.
I’ve tried to fill this emptiness I feel with God, but I’ve not been able to. I don’t know what to do besides hope that sometime He’ll forgive me for all my sins, even if I don’t manage to receive eternal salvation.
We are very sorry to hear about the horrible things that were done to you when you were so very young. We hope that you have told the family all that happened so that the cousin and the uncle will not be able to hurt other children like they hurt you.
Did you know that the experience and feelings that you describe are common to almost all victims of childhood abuse? The sexual trauma that you suffered caused you to begin to have strong sexual urges that are not expected until adolescence. You acted out in a promiscuous way because your young mind was not yet capable of processing the morality of what had been done to you. You now have low self-esteem and a pervasive sense of shame because it is difficult to recognize how much of what happened through the years was actually your fault. You believe that anyone who really knows you will not be able to love you. And you believe that God would withhold eternal salvation from you because of your actions.
We have great news for you! God knows the real you and all the secrets you are keeping hidden deep inside. He loves you just as you are. He saw the evil that was done to you, and He knows that it was not your fault. He also knows about every time that you gave away your body, and He understands the confusion that caused you to do it. God is ready and waiting not only to forgive you for any sin that you did commit along the way, but also to give you eternal salvation.1 All you have to do is pray in your own words, asking God to forgive you and to give you a fresh new start. You don’t have to keep punishing yourself, because Jesus Christ died on the cross to take any punishment that you deserve.
God wants to walk with you each day and help you as you face your future. Ask Him to help you find a therapeutic group of sexual abuse survivors. Interacting with others who have had common experiences will help you deal with your boyfriend as well as with your self-esteem issues.
We wish you well,
Linda and Charles
1 1Jn 1:9