In which I will stand with survivors

[trigger warning: rape and sexual abuse]

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest


Rape and sexual abuse has been in the news quite a lot lately. The horrific torture, gang rape, and murder of Jyoti in India, as well as the recent attack on a Swiss tourist. There is the fall-out and legal battle emerging over alleged cover-up of alleged sexual assaults at Sovereign Grace Ministries.  The ongoing legal battles of many missionary kids who suffered abuse in their boarding schools in southeast Asia. Locally, we have heard in the past couple of years absolutely staggering news about sexual assaults of teenage girls and subsequent uploading of the images to Facebook, as well as the vicious bullying and subsequent suicide of a young high schooler.  And then there is the rape trial in Steubenville, Ohio which has exposed a disgusting culture of rape and entitlement.

(These are the stories I think about when people tell me that feminism isn’t really needed any longer. Oh, really?)

This week, several friends and online acquaintances of mine are engaged in some redemptive truth-telling and courageous vulnerability about rape, abuse, and the Church’s response to both.

I don’t have much to offer these discussions myself. So I am learning here. I am praying. I am angry and grieving. And I am listening.

But I want to give room on my little platform here to call attention  to the voices and stories of survivors.

You are men and women of valour. And I’m standing with you.


In the meantime, friends and readers, please take a bit of time for survivors this week. Start here:

Steubenville High School football players found guilty of raping 16-year-old girl (<—- This is a MUST-read.)

Rachel Held Evans’ week-long series called Into the Light: A Series on Abuse and the Church

Spiritual Abuse Survivor Week hosted by Hannah of Wine and Marble, Shaney Irene, and Joy of Joy In This Journey.

The Scar of Sexual Abuse and The Sexy Wife I Can’t Be by Mary DeMuth

How Not to Respond to Abuse Allegations by Rachel Held Evans

Why We’re Not Staying Silent Anymore by Elora Nicole (and all week long, Elora is sharing anonymous stories of survivors on her blog. I pray we can surround these brave survivors with our support.)

Edited to add: My friend Tamara Rice is also part of a group seeking justice through G.R.A.C.E. for abuse suffered while on the mission field. Her article here called Where is the victory? is very powerful.



  • elora nicole ramirez

    Thanks so much, Sarah.

  • Hännah

    Yes, thank you.

  • Kim Bradley

    Sarah, I’m getting serious about that coffee. Meanwhile, here’s my blog for today, which touches, albeit indirectly, on abuse and recovery:

  • Stephanie Drury

    Thanks, lady.

  • Mary DeMuth

    I appreciate the link love, friend.

  • Joy Lenton

    As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I salute you for raising this topic and bringing it into the light where awareness and healing can take place. I share some of Mary de Muth’s experiences of repercussions in my marriage relationship and wrote about it a few weeks ago on my blog. Thank you, Sarah.

  • James Prescott

    Great stuff as ever Sarah – my heart is with yours in this need for voices to be heard, and the truth of what really goes on needing to be brought to light. Thanks for speaking out, and for sharing these links. Be blessed.

  • Carolyn Willcox

    Also, rape and abuse in “marriage” and the desperation that goes with it.

  • Sharon O

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Every day news bombards us and every day we can become immune to it, I will never do that since I am also a ‘survivor’ and one who has spent time in therapy redoing the wrong that was done and healing so many levels. We need to be the voice, the instruments, the encouragers and the cheerleaders.
    Healing does happen but it takes time, patience and a willingness to walk through that door.

  • Robin Dance

    Two weeks ago I learned a classmate of mine was raped repeatedly by the same person over a 3-4 year period, from age 12 to about 16. He was (eventually) an Eagle scout, abused by his scoutmaster. In the late 70s, early 80s, he didn’t know how he could get help; the perpetrator was a friend of his parents! He’s telling his story now, after the death of that monster, to try to help other victims he suspects exist. I had classes with this guy and never knew the hell he was living :(.

    It’s been disturbing to observe some of the media outlets covering the Steubenville trial focusing on the fallout for the rapists and their families. Sexual assault and abuse are two things I CANNOT wrap my mind around. Monsters with appetites for the young, the defenseless…well, if salvation was losable, my natural response to this issue is the one that would do it for me.

  • Ed_Cyzewski

    The Yahoo story about Steubenville really took my breath away. It’s like a boys will be boys mentality took hold in an entire town and many lost their moral compass along the way. It is also a powerful lesson in identity and group think. I wonder if there are things I’m less likely to see because of my own identity and the dynamics of the groups I belong to.

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  • Kim Graham

    Thanks, Sarah….once again, you’ve pushed me to pull my head out of the sand and speak up myself on an issue near to my heart:
    I have been challenged in so many good ways both by your own blog posts and by the links you share. God bless you for this…..Kim

  • Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

    I wrote for RHE’s abuse week…and I’m all ready feeling it…the weight, you know of sharing THAT… (and it’s NOT EVEN POSTED YET). sigh. I’m thankful though, that in sharing my story alongside so many other brave souls I can find yolk fellows while hopefully calling someone else out of whatever cycle they may be stuck in….that’s all we can hope/pray/beg God for you know? Thanks for caring about it & for sharing….really, means a lot.

  • Lauren

    Thanks for the post, links, compassion, and even the trigger warning. It speaks volumes to those of us who survived but are struggling to thrive.

  • Mandy

    As a survivor i’m so glad there are people who are not afraid to speak out. Thanks Sarah

  • Beth

    Hi Sarah,
    As a “survivor” I would like to say that I am no different than any other person and I don’t appreciate being differentiated as “brave” or as a woman of “valor.” What makes me brave? That I was raped? No, that definitely does not. I have told my story. I have walked with other women as they have started their own journeys toward healing, but I am not brave. I am a “survivor” because I had to be. I had to survive. Now I am a human, just like any other person that has not suffered at the hands of another. I am a human who was raped. I’ve already been labeled too many other things by too many other people who assumed things of me because of the rape. Just because brave is more positive doesn’t mean it’s true.

    • Kim Graham

      yup. Well put, Beth. I would argue, however, that it takes courage indeed to stand up and say “nope, not me!” in response to the pendulum swing that says rape victims should be “proud” to have survived [a reaction to the view that they should be ashamed to have allowed themselves to be ‘despoiled’]. The bravery is not in surviving; it is in refusing to allow anyone to define you in any way by what was done to you without your consent. So, I think your bravery in posting this comment does, indeed, make you a woman of valour…and if that’s self-contradictory, oh well!

  • Ria

    I experienced sexual assault in 2006 and have never been the same. The passage on the plaque above spoke to me so strongly in this context! I have read it before, but something about it today…it brings back all the hurt of being declothed and overpowered and weak, but gives me an image of myself as god sees me, maybe? I don’t know exactly but I thank you. <3