Date Rape Journey (Part 5): Forgiving the Robber of My Soul~

Clients often say during the counseling process they forgave their abusers.

Yet as they say this, their breathing changes. Their hearts beat faster, which I notice because of my training. Their bodies speak loudly.

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The body doesn’t lie.

When I ended up walking by the fraternity my rapist lived in – 36 years ago – I gasped. My breathing grew labored and I trembled. My body, figuratively, screamed.

If you would have asked me ten minutes prior if I’d worked through the trauma, I’d have said, “Definitely.”

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I knew I still needed much work on this journey. Any time our bodies respond in such a way, the trauma is deeply entrenched in the cells of our bodies and our personalities. We may think on the surface, “I’m over that,” but our bodies loudly, passionately scream for help.

I snapped a pictures as I noticed a tiny wave of peace when I saw scaffolding on the outside of the building. The symbolism of remodeling acted like a stream of healing in the shipwreck of my soul.

Possibly, just maybe he’s a new person, I thought. Maybe he doesn’t use his body as a sword to rupture women’s souls anymore.

The riptide of violence, sex and power created a soul tsunami.

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I suffered from mono and felt week and nauseous that day, which added another level of sickness on his part. To rape and throw your body upon someone to satisfy your own cravings is disturbing beyond words.

Yet to rape and rob and ravage another’s body, mind and soul while they are throwing up almost constantly – there are no words.

How does a woman forgive her rapist?

The other day, as I read my Bible like I enjoy doing in the mornings and evenings, it fell open to this sentence. “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” The passage in Luke 23:34 seemed to jump off the page and into my heart.
Instantly, I knew God desired me to apply the verse to the robber of my soul.

I’ve been soaking in the verse, letting the words envelop my innermost parts.

I remembered how God gloriously uses this experience as I work with women on their journeys. Unfortunately, rape and date rape happen fairly frequently. Somehow the young women involved find me, and I feel honored to walk with them though their healing proves.

As I reflected on the way God uses each story in my life, I remembered this:

I experienced a vision in which I asked Jesus why certain traumatic events happened to me.

I saw myself kayaking with Jesus in a double kayak. I wore a princess gown made of shimmering purple Gore-Tex. Goretex is a fabric worn to keep athletes dry while letting sweat evaporate, although the dress looked like silky satin – exquisite to touch.

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I wore a crown of jewels and a long string of pearls. Pearls aren’t my taste, so I found the jewelry choice interesting.

Jesus explained how trauma and scratching of sand grains inside the oyster created each pearl. All the pearls represented traumatic experiences, and how they formed jewels of my story.

But wait. I wasn’t a princess who sat around engulfed in hedonism and self-absorption. Today a backlash of anti-princess writings light up the internet like flames.

And I grasp why. We shouldn’t teach girls to sit around, look pretty and act as if the world revolves around them.

In this vision I used my story, gifts, talents and strength to help others. The entire vision spoke to using the pain of my life story to help others with their hurting hearts.

I held a radiant golden wand with a cross at the end. This brings tears to my eyes.

God uses everything that happened to me, and wastes nothing.

Even rape.

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This morning while eating breakfast, I ran across a TV show I’ve only seen a few times. A messianic rabbi reminded the audience how unforgiveness keeps us in bondage.

Not those who sinned against us. We fertilize seeds of bitterness, resentment and weeds that overtake the entire garden of our lovely souls.

In that respect, the resentment boomerangs back upon our own souls, and we become slaves to ourselves. A paradox in a perfect package.

The messianic rabbi offered this to his audience: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Oh. My. Gosh. God invites me to work though the pain of this trauma and to forgive the guy who raped me.

Twice in a week the verse landed in my lap. As I wrote earlier, there are no circumstances.
Forgiveness is frequently a process. God is offering me tools to work through this event which I believed I was done with twenty years ago.

Next Tuesday, which is normally my writing day, I’ll receive counseling from another trauma therapist. The journey won’t be quick most likely and it won’t be easy.

We will target many other facets of my story as well, from the earliest to the latest. Then she will target the triggers that will show up in the future. (Read parts 2 through 4 for disturbing details.)

I will use the profound verse and I know God will help me forgive the rapist. Even though I believed I’d already done so.

He is definitely a broken, wounded individual. I know the mosaic created by trauma causes sharp pieces to cut other people or ourselves.

Somehow, some way his heart bled tears.

And from those tears, he acted violently, using sex to self-medicate his bleeding soul.

How will I know when I’m truly finished with the journey?


I’ll walk through Greek Row at the University of Washington campus on my way to the Lupus Support Group meeting, conveniently located around the block.

My body will unveil any remnants of feelings I’m unaware of.

If my heart rate and breathing increase even a bit, I’ll know I need more trauma therapy.

If my body sweats or trembles, I’ll know I’m not finished – that God desires a deeper level of healing. That he longs for real and lasting heartfelt change – through every pore of my body.

 

When the day arrives where I walk through Greek Row and smell the scent of leaves and flowers in the air, and where I find myself shooting pictures of the architecture, I’ll know I’m closer.

 

Someday I’ll walk through the neighborhood, and feel the scent of gratitude as I capture the architecture of the old picturesque mansions with my iPhone. And I’ll remember only how God ordained my story and uses everything for his glory.

My heart will fill with compassion on a poor wounded soul who medicated his heart pain with a human body. My curvy body, which attracts attention when I unveil its true form by shedding a thin cape of fat.


But my body will not respond. My only internal experience will be listening to the wind blow as I embrace the sights and smells on my walk in front of the fraternity where “he” once lived. Just as the mansions of yesteryear whisper the winds of days gone by, my heart will fill with tears of gratitude as I remember the gentle way God uses the pieces of my life movie to help others I meet along this journey called life. ~

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Well-said, dear lady! I agree that helping others through their trauma is a great help. A great book by someone with a similar story is “Beauty Restored.”

    1. Thank you, Kathy. I will take a look at it. I’m so glad God uses every piece of our life quilt for his glory.

  2. Beautifully stated in your blog. And it does take time to heal once the trauma is addressed. The cognitive mind acknowledges but the emotional mind takes longer. Hang in there and blessings for talking about it as nothing helps more than to know you are not alone.

    1. Thank you, Marlene. I appreciate your support. Great reminder.

  3. Beautiful, Cherrie! And so powerful. Praying for you today and always.

    1. Cynthia, thank you so very much for your kindness. Blessings on your amazing writing journey!

  4. Emily G says:

    My story is so very similar to yours. I was a victim of repetitive date rape and physical abuse 32 years ago at WSU. I lived in a sorority and “he” in a fraternity. I thought I had forgiven “him” until an issue recently occurred with my daughter and I burst into tears and was shaking with fear. Now I’m in search of a therapist. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone.

    1. Emily, I am so extremely sorry you’ve had to go through this. It is painful to the very core. EMDR is the best therapy for trauma, according to the world’s leading trauma expert. Go to someone who is certified or is an expert. I’m so glad you are going to get help.

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