Sexual assault doesn’t always look like a violent man holding a girl down in a dark alley. It can take many forms. Sometimes it’s subtle manipulation and pressure under the guise of being a “good guy who feels a connection”. Sometimes it’s a sly butt grab by a stranger. Sometimes it’s inappropriate touching by a “friend/mentor”…or hundreds of other examples in between. But the truth still remains that without an explicit YES, no one has the right to touch another person in any sexual way, and that even includes husbands and wives. A “no” given in ANY form is still a NO to be honored. Sometimes, NO doesn’t come in a scream…sometimes it looks like paralyzed silence and submission, uncomfortable laughter, desperate glances, subtle statements, or tense body language…but all of that is still a NO without specific expressed permission.
I know this is an uncomfortable topic, but I think there has been far too little said on this issue by the Church and I know far too many people who have been sexually assaulted in some form by those who refused to seek out an explicit YES. One selfish act can damage a person for months, years, or their entire life depending on how close they are to Jesus. Someone’s pleasure is NOT worth someone else’s pain.
I’ve heard guys say, “If she didn’t want it she would have just said so.” But unfortunately, that’s not the case for every type of person. Speaking boldly in situations of trauma isn’t always the most natural reaction. My prayer is to see the assertiveness of women increase, but for now this is the reality. Fight, flight, or freeze are supposed to be the typical responses to trauma but I’ll let you guess which tends to be a victims most common behavior in an intimate moment that feels out of their control. Just because someone did not explicitly say NO does not mean they explicitly said YES. When you move forward with sexual behavior against a persons will, the fall out can be massive. If you, as a male or female, are unsure, err on the side of caution, right? Or better yet, honor him/her by staying away from blurred sexual lines all together, yeah? But that’s a post for another time…
If you are a woman, or a man, who has experienced any type of sexual assault, I want you to know that you are not alone. I am sorry that the NO you expressed was not heard or honored. Being a victim of sexual assault myself, I’ve seen how few resources are available to people post-assault and how little friends and family can understand what you’ve experienced. I want to be someone who is available to victims of this sort of trauma. If you have never spoken up about your experience(s) PLEASE message me or reach out to a trauma therapist in your area. (In some cases, going to the police may even be necessary and should be considered. If your victimizer did it to you, they could do it to others.) Don’t keep your pain or story bottled up. If I am nothing else to you, I will be a listening ear, a support and a prayer warrior for your justice and your healing. We must forgive. You will overcome.
And if you’re a man or woman who knows you’re responsible for pushing too far, pressuring, manipulating, ignoring NO’s, or full on raping/molesting someone recently or in your past, it’s not too late to take responsibility for your actions, admit your behavior to an authority figure, and finally do something about it. Accept the consequences. Lust and perversion left unchecked will only become worse and worse until it’s completely out of your control. Hiding from the truth does nothing but prolong the suffering of both the victims and the perpetrator. Step up and get free. There is healing and forgivness in Jesus.
“Sexual assault is defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”
It happens more often than you think in places and with people you’d least expect. It’s time to break the silence. And men, remember your God given design is to be PROTECTORS of women and children. We need you to live that out. Your silence or ignorance to what is happening to the women around you is an offense to the heart of God and an abdication of your role. Defend! Protect! Listen! Be change makers. We love you.
This is just the beginning. I will right much more on this topic to come. Thank you for caring. Change is coming! Jesus is coming back for a Bride that is without spot or blemish. It’s time we start going after some of the darkest parts of society with boldness, honesty, truth and the justice heart of our Father!