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I think I was sexually abused, but I'm not sure. What is sexual abuse, and what can I do to stop the trauma I am facing now?


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(Letter)

I'm 15 now, but when I was 12 1/2, I met a guy. He was 13. I didn't think about anything between us because, at that age, I was still playing football and dumb games with guys.

The day after I met him, my friends left us alone, and he started kissing me. I was confused and scared and didn't know what to say. He took me into another room (with a door) and did things to me that made me feel uncomfortable. He went up my shirt and down my pants. I didn't even know what all of this was until not too long ago.

My friend walked in, and he left. That's the last I ever saw of him. I was so confused and still am. I have nightmares a lot. Is this sexual abuse?

I have a great fear of dating. I can't handle a guy liking me. I'm so scared it will happen again.

—Tanya

You ask me, Tanya, If you were sexually abused. The answers is yes. That guy sexually abused you. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

And sexual abuse is one of the most traumatic emotional experiences a person can go through. But you are doing the right thing, Tanya. You are being honest and direct about what happened to you. I know it's hard for you to talk about it, but you have to do it.

I am sorry, terribly sorry, that this happened to you. And I am not at all surprised that you are afraid and confused. That is completely normal.

You must understand, Tanya, that you are a victim. You did nothing to cause or deserve what happened to you at the hands of that jerk. You are not horrible. You are not bad.

If that was the case, Jesus, would have been the worst person who ever lived. Remember how he was so horribly and cruelly abused on the cross? He was laughed at, spit on, physically humiliated, and finally put to death. We can't know for certain, but it's very possible Jesus hung naked on the cross as He died. And he was completely innocent. So please don't forget, Tanya, that Jesus understands how you feel. He really does. He, too, was a victim.

As I said earlier, Tanya, you are doing the right thing by writing to me about what happened to you. You must talk about it. But you need to talk to someone other than me. You need to find a Christian counselor to talk with on a regular basis. With their help and God's help, you can quit being a victim and become an overcomer. You can win, you can be victorious over this problem, just like Paul talks about in Romans 8:37,38:

But despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. For I am convinced that nothing can separate us from His love (TLB).

I can't promise it will be easy, though, I must be honest and tell you it's a long road back from being abused. But as you deal with your emotions and your questions, there will come a time when those strong emotions will no longer be there. Of course, you will still see pictures in your mind of what that guy did to you, but those pictures will not carry the awful emotions you feel today.

And there also will come a time when you realize that not all guys, by any means, are dangerous. It's not the gender. That guy did what he did to you because he's a sick sinner who needs help, not because he's a guy.

I promise you, Tanya, you can and will overcome with God's help. Have the courage to face your emotions with a Christian counselor.

I'll pray for you. God will bless you. And someday you will say, like Micah said in Micah 7:8,

…for though I fall, I will rise again! When I sit in the darkness, the Lord will be my light (TLB).

For further reading

Author: Dawson McAllister of Dawson McAllister Live!

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