Deborah-Ruth Ferber has served as an intern at a Christian Pregnancy Resource Center doing peer counseling for young women who found themselves in crisis pregnancy situations often who had a history of assault, abuse, or rape. Deborah remains passionate about supporting young single mothers, about letting the truth be known that silence is the greatest enemy of our time, and of helping the church to become more open to talking with their youth about what healthy Christian sexuality looks like in general.
Every year hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are violated in the most intimate of ways. Of those hundreds of thousands, the majority of them are told to keep quiet about their stories and to silently struggle through the long lasting effects of the violence perpetrated on them because others around them are too afraid to help them speak out against injustice. To the thousands around the world who do fight for women’s rights, justice, and a safer world – I want to send out a heartfelt thanks. You’re friendship to these precious women is so valued, your prayers are amazing, and just giving them a listening ear is really doing a huge act of service and kindness. This May 2nd, I’m taking a stand and voicing out to the world that sexual violence is NEVER okay. That women should have equal rights to men, and that offenders who abuse must take responsibility for their actions. Please join me in this countercultural struggle to show your support to the hundreds of thousands of women worldwide who will go to bed tonight scared for their lives.
The statistics are shocking. Did you know that each year close to 238,000 people will be assaulted? That a rape occurs every two minutes in America? That 1 in 4 women will be sexually violated in their lifetime? That’s one too many. Therefore, it is entirely conceivable that each one of us reading this blog posting may know several individuals who have faced exploitation and manipulation and for those of us in ministerial leadership positions, it is entirely feasible that several members whom we minister to within our parishes have also experienced this type of graphic violence.
We live in a society that seeks sexual gratification, that commodifies bodies, and that practices victim blaming. Many in our country are simply unaware of the long lasting traumatic effects sexual abuse can leave on a person. Women often live in fear and intense shame, men who have been abused often live with guilt that they weren’t “masculine” enough to prevent this from happening. After the abuse, many continue to struggle for years with questions of their own sexuality and orientation, wrestle with whether or not they could have prevented it in some way, and continue to deal with a negative self-concept of themselves and their own bodies.
Sexual trauma is one of the most horrific experiences any individual can go through akin to losing a loved one or being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and yet our churches all too often are not equipped with the resources or the knowledge of how to deal with such a loss. Sexual abuse is one issue that victims and friends of victims are taught to keep quiet about and unfortunately that silence is the greatest enemy to healing. That silence is part of the reason that cycles of violence and abuse continue.
That’s why on May 2nd I’m wearing purple. I’m wearing purple to symbolize the physical and emotional bruises that sexual assault creates. I’m wearing purple to signify that I’m standing in solidarity with every woman who has suffered loss. I’m wearing purple in protest of the unhealthy views on human sexuality that are portrayed in the media. Please join me in this movement. Your commitment to wear purple displays your understanding that offenders must take responsibility and victims must be provided with the resources they need to heal and trust again. It’s never to early or too late to start changing our cultural mindsets, refusing to participate in activities which do not promote healthy Christian sexuality and to start talking about the uncomfortable. It’s never too early to start wearing purple.
For a Christian perspective on sexual abuse check out: https://christianresponse2sexualabuse.wordpress.com/
These statistics were taken from: