Guest Post by Donna
It has been 40 years since the day I became “the next one” for a serial rapist.
It was a warm Summer day, and I needed to get to work. Mom had the car and I didn’t know if she would get back in time, so I decided to walk the two miles to work.
Walking past the church where my father was the pastor, I stopped briefly to say hello to one of the church ladies working in the flower bed.
Concerned about making it to work on time, I absent-mindedly accepted a ride from the guy who offered as we finished our conversation.
Yes, yes… I know better, but did not engage my brain in that moment.
All was fine until I told him where to turn left as we approached the street that led to my employer.
He drove past, pulled out a knife and told me to remove my shirt. Driving to a remote location, he did what should not be done to an innocent young girl. I was given the expected warnings about not calling the police or telling anyone, then he took me to work as originally promised.
Needing to give a reason for my tardiness, I went to the office when I arrived. The decision was quickly made to involve the police. As I told the officers what had happened, they knew immediately who I was describing. He was picked up that same day.
This man had been released from jail only a month earlier after serving time for a prior rape conviction. They suspected he may have molested a seven-year-old boy during that time. He pled “not guilty” to the charges against him in my case.
Much to my dismay, the judge reduced his bail from $15,000.00 to $1,500.00, which allowed him to be free as we awaited his trial. Within two weeks, he raped another woman.
As the court date approached, I was not looking forward to facing him in court.
There was great relief when we received a call less than 24 hours prior to appearing in court that he had changed his plea to “guilty.” I never heard what the agreement was or how much time he served, but I never had to see him again.
So what do you do when the unthinkable happens to you? How do you deal with the drama and trauma?
I got mad. I wasn’t mad at the rapist, though.
As he held a knife at my throat, the look in his eyes showed that he didn’t want to do this, but was compelled by something he couldn’t control.
So I got mad at Satan. He was trying to hurt and destroy me, and I wanted to fight back by taking something from him. I decided in that moment that I was going to pray for this man to be saved and delivered. My desire was to snatch him from the control of Satan and bring him to God.
For years, to remember was to re-live all the emotions as if it was happening again. Each time the memories came flooding back, I prayed for this man.
We always ask “Why” when bad things happen. Why did God allow it? Why didn’t He protect me from this? Does He care?
I believe God allowed this. The story in the book of Job tells us that Satan must have permission to bring us any harm. God could have said no, but He did not. In the end, God tells Job that he would not understand why God allowed it, even if He told him.
I also believe God was there with me, and I experienced His protection. As I recall my story, I see God’s protection in the things that did not happen:
- My attacker threatened me with the knife, but didn’t use it. One of my classmates lost her life from multiple wounds inflicted with a knife. Another friend survived a brutal knife attack and lives with severe OCD because of it.
- My attacker took me back to work when he was done with me. He could have left me without my clothes out in the middle of nowhere.
- I did not contract any diseases.
- I don’t remember what my attacker looked like. I can remember to this day the color of his car, the leather belt he wore with his name in the pattern and that the time on the clock had stopped at 11:20, but I have no memory of his face.
Does this mean God cares less for those who endure these things? No. It means there is much for which I am grateful.
What if this story is not so much about me as it is him?
What if God loved this man and wanted to save him, and He allowed me to be involved because He knew I would be willing, with His help, to intercede for a man who society would say did not deserve it?
More than fifteen years after the attack, while driving home from work for lunch, my attacker came to mind and I felt a heavy burden to pray for him. The intensity of this urge to pray leads me to believe this was a life-or-death moment for him and eternity was at stake.
When I finished praying, my emotions were completely healed. I no longer have any pain associated with the memories, and I no longer feel any need to pray for him.
Regardless of what my attacker had done, Jesus paid the price for this man’s sins.
Far from thinking God unjust to forgive so freely, I am thankful that our God is willing to apply the blood of Christ to any sin and save any sinner.
Oh, the depths of his love! The sweetest revenge for me will be to find this man in heaven. I will be looking for him there to see how this story ends.
How to Find Emotional Healing After Abuse or Rape
1. Fight the Right Enemy: It may not be who you think.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” –Ephesians 6:12
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” –I Peter 5:8
2. Know Your God: God never changes, no matter what circumstances you are facing. The God you could trust with your problems yesterday is the same God you can continue to trust with your problems today.
Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” –Job 42:1-6
3. Meditate on Scripture: When the unthinkable happens, it’s all too easy to let your mind wander to and dwell in a dark place. Protect your mind and heart by meditating on Scripture instead.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. –Psalm 16:8
4. Use the Right Weapons: While it is perfectly normal to get mad at those who hurt you, Jesus calls us all to a better way. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
“Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” –Luke 6:28
“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.” –2 Corinthians 10:3
5. Allow God to Make it Right: God may not solve the situation the way you want Him too, but He WILL make it right.
“Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” –Romans 12:9
Abuse and rape are absolutely horrible situations that no person should ever have to go through. If you do, however, there is hope for a bright future. God doesn’t call us to understand all things, but simply to trust that no matter what happens, He is still in control. He does have a plan for you and He does want healing for you. And you can find true healing when you deal with your trauma His way.
**Note: If you are currently in an abuse/rape situation or have been in the past, please let the proper authorities know immediately.