The aftereffects of sexual abuse are profound, extensive and pervasive. It is a soul injury. The soul is the center of our spirituality. Before the child has the opportunity to experience him or herself as a fully functioning human being, they have been sexually abused–more often than not by the person with whom the child has implicit trust–the person who is required to protect them from all harm–the parent or another trusted adult. Children as young as one month are sexually abused–genital fondling, oral sex, digital or object penetration are the common forms of infant sexual abuse.
Children are taught that God protects us from harm. But how can that be true when the child was harmed by the person who claims to love him/her? they wonder. An insidious dilemma is established. Many religions also teach that God punishes those who are “bad.” “I must be bad,” the child reasons, “because God did not protect me. God must be punishing me for being bad. I am to blame. I am guilty. What did I do to derserve this?” Self-loathing, shame and guilt becomes the person’s self-perseption. Frequently, people no longer believe in God. While they may go to church and profess their faith–there is an emptiness at the center of their soul. “If God was real why did he let me be abused?” they ponder.
There is a poignant and profound explanation to this pondering. God did protect you. God helped you to survive the most heinous experience anyone could have. God protected you by giving you information on how to stay alive, how to avoid going crazy while living in a crazy environment. A child has only four possible alternatives during the ordeal of sexual abuse, whether that ordeal is over a period of years or hours.
The choices are:
- Doing what the child did: i.e. numbing out, zoning out, going into psychogenic amnesia, splitting the mind off, (Dissociative state) accepting the blame, etc.
- Going crazy: i.e. becoming psychotic, or totally dysfunctional,
- Telling someone, who stops the abuse or Confronting the perpetrator, thus risking not being believed and possible recriminations: Many children do protest the abuse and when they do the abuse stops, however, there are exceptions. The abuse stopped temporarily, but the perpetrator resumed again with a different approach thus binding the child into a more insidious trap. Regaining one’s spirituality is difficult, but it is possible. The journey to regaining one’s spirituality as in the recovery process is unique to each individual. There are many excellent sources to aid you in this process.
The following publications are only a few of the many noteworthy sources:
|Conversations with God: Books I, II, III, IV||Neale Donald Walsch|
|A Course in Miracles||Helen Schucman and William Thetford|
|Love is Letting Go of Fear||Gerald Jampolsky|
|Sacred Contracts||Caroline Myss|
|Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can||Caroline Myss|
|Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course
|Illuminata: A Return to Prayer||Marianne Williamson|
|Self-Esteem: Loving Yourself and Emotional Self-Sufficiency||Marianne Williamson|
|How to know God: The Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries||Deepak Chopra|
|Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel||Deepak Chopra|
|The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightment||Eckhart, et al|
|There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem||Wayne W. Dyer|
|You Will See It, When You Believe It||Wayne W. Dyer|
|The Transformative Power of Crisis–Our Journey to Psychological
Healing and Spiritual Awakening
|Robert M. Alter/Jane Alter|