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Friday, January 26, 2007


I don't know what else to call this post, because that's what it's about. Isn't it a horrible word? I can't imagine anything more horrible; the violent taking of what should only be given in a sacred act, in union with God; the abuse not only upon the physical body, but the deeper, far more destructive consequences upon the soul of the victim. I would rather die than to suffer such an attack.

This week, I was speaking to a friend and somehow, this subject came up. I told her that several years ago I considered becoming a rape advocate, but I'm glad it didn't pan out because I don't think I could handle it.

I glanced at my friend, to find her staring at me with the most penetrating gaze I've ever experienced. When she had my full attention, she revealed to me in a voice so quiet it was almost a whisper, "I was raped."

She went on to reveal to me that she was "date raped" by a friend of a family, a young man with whom she had grown up; a trusted friend. She was 15, he was about 17, and he raped her.

She remembers calling her dad to come get her, and her silence in the car. He asked if everything was ok, she lied and told him that it was.

When she got home, she did what most rape victims do; she took a shower. She cleaned herself off, she scrubbed and scrubbed to get the feeling of filth, of HIM off of her. She wept, she cried, she sobbed...but she never told anyone.

She revealed to me that the feeling of "filth" haunted her for months, even years. She could never be clean after that, and the rape was never more present to her than when she was in the shower, for that is when she remembered it the most. It was in the act of trying to become clean that the memories of the attack were triggered with a strength she could not endure.

Finally, she told her best friend, and this was the most unkindest cut of all, for her best friend did not believe her.

She never told another soul after that; if her best friend, her peer, would not believe her, how could her family, who knew HIS family, and HIM ever believe her? So she remained silent in her agony, alone in her pain.

She is planning to be married, now, and did recently reveal this part of her soul to her fiance, and finally cried. And she revealed this to me although I'm not certain why...maybe something is telling her that it's time.

She has never sought counseling, or a support group, or an advocate. This woman has been walking alone with this terrible, terrible wound for over 10 years!

Please keep her in your prayers, that she find the grace and healing she so desperately needs.

We never know the pain suffered by people around us; we all have deep secrets that haunt us, some people more than others. Never pass up an opportunity to listen to a friend. Never pass up a chance to recognize a soul in need and send up a prayer...because YOU may be that very person needing that prayer someday, YOU may need that listening ear, and YOU may need to reach out and trust that someone will believe you when you tell your terrible secret.

Please, if you have been raped, please tell someone. Please share your pain with someone. Please don't walk alone in this for years upon years. Trust me, there IS someone who will believe you and who can help you.


Warren said...

I don't know what to say, I'm speechless. Your description of the way she looked at you matches up exactly with an experience I had where someone told me something like that, and it was the eyes that stay with me in memory. I can't forget that expression.


Adoro said...

Warran, it IS the eyes...I can't possibly explain the expression, not on her face, but in her eyes! There was such a depth of pain there, almost fear, even just breaks my heart.

Anonymous said...

You NEVER know who is in this kind of position. Not when you might be used again, or any of us, to help a person who has been. I cannot comment specificially, or even close to so, but people have shared these stories with me as a pastor and friend, and what pain! Still, it is in talking about our secrets that we take some of the power away from them.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: Your friend, and yes, even her attacker, will be in my prayers at Mass this evening.

Unknown said...

Adoro: I'm really happy she has you for a friend. And I'm really happy that I know you and that I have you for my friend. And you can call on me, anytime.

Beth Lemer said...

This is never an easy subject.

I truely believe that to those who are out there whose friends reveal that to, Have to believe them wether they dont think it happened or not. Its hard enough to deal with in the first place! But they have no clue how it feels when things like that happen. Like they always say, without pain, there can be no compassion. Amen?

Sarah Reinhard said...

I am catching up on blog reading, Adoro, and I can't help but gape at this post and then realize the date you wrote it. I was at a prayer retreat. So perhaps I should share with you what came to me as I read your post, because it speaks to your last paragraph:

"We all walk around wounded. But we must die before we can rise."

I have never met you, and maybe I never will. I wouldn't know you in a crowd. But if you are as compassionate in person as you are here, in this space; if you are as graceful in dealing with people as you are in describing them; if you are as prayerful and filled with the Holy Spirit...well, I can understand exactly why your friend would feel comfortable saying it to you, and why she probably felt liberated having said it, having been loved for it, having had you comfort her.

You are a gift to those around you, even those of us in the blogosphere. :)