Victims of Rape Can Heal:

Rape is an act of violence and an evil that is against the law and love of the LORD God. We need to understand that the LOD God does not hide this evil and we are expected to confront it and respond to it out of a Christ like love. The rape victim needs understanding and compassion to help this person to heal. There is no love like the love of Jesus who can help in this healing process. 

Rape is a non-consensual act of violence in the sense of violation and is a complex crime that leaves many scars in the life of the victim. It is an act of evil that are not just females but men and children as well. Rape is an act of power of bullying going against the will of the victim.


Rape also includes sexual abuse and it is way out of control. Women are much more likely than men to be the victim of multiple incidents of abuse, and of sexual violence: 32% of women who had ever experienced domestic violence did so four or five (or more) times, this is compared with 11% of the (smaller number) of men who had ever experienced domestic violence; and women constituted 89% of all those who had experienced 4 or more incidents of domestic violence. (Walby and Allen, 2004).  According to a study conducted by the National Victim Center, 1.3 women (age 18 and over) in the United States are forcibly raped each minute. That translates to 78 an hour, 1,871 per day, or 683,000 per year. (Kilpatrick and Seymour, 1992).

Christian women, need to understand that the LORD God does not hide this evil. The LORD expects us not to hide this evil either.  Christian should not be disbelieving or doubtful to those who have suffered sexual assault. The LORD confronts it and responds with an opportunity of restoration and forgiveness. The rape victim needs understanding and compassion to help this person to heal. It takes lots of prayers and compassion. There is no love like the love of Jesus who can help in this healing process.

It is very sad when the position of many churches, who likes to think it is a place when repentance and reconciliation occurs, turn their back on those who have been sexually abused. Far too often churches make the abused victim more of a victim who did something wrong. They do not want to get involved. Christian women need to recognize that there are emotional struggles, physical struggles and spiritual struggles that go along with the abuse. It is like the truth that they are loved by the Lord is believed in their head but in their heart they feel unworthy, un clean and they cannot trust anyone, the worse of all is they believe that it is impossible to be loved by anyone.

Rape, like all violence, is a sin against the LORD God and a crime against humanity. It dehumanizes the victims and destroys communities. The church should have no hesitation in condemning it in the strongest terms. The rape must be condemned but the not the victims of the rape. They should not be blamed, condemned or judged in any way. The victim of rape should be encouraged to seek counseling to help them deal with the physical, emotional and most of all spiritual consequences of the violence of rape. Like the Women of Christ the churches need to demand the respect for women and make it known in their churches that women are created in the image of the LORD God just like men. They are just as loved and just as precious to Him. 1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

We saw in the case of Tamar, the daughter of King David that she did everything right yet she was the victim of rape by her half-brother. The king did nothing because of his own sins, her brother told her not to think about it. Then he plotted to kill the rapist. Tamar had to live with all this deceit and violence. The psychological struggles that Tamar, or any rape victim, goes through are the same as grief.

The most serious injury that a victim of rape sustains is to the self-image and to the spiritual damage where the victim seem themselves ad damage and unworthy. There must come a time when the rape victim realized they are no longer a victim but a survivor.

Victims of rape follow those symptoms of those who are in any other crises situations, especially posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. There are stages which have been labeled as The Rape Trauma Syndrome. Just like any syndrome there are stages and tasks that the victims must master if they are going to make it to full restoration.

The first stage begins after the rape there should be a medical examination for the health of the victim. During this stage the victim need all the support and information possible so they can make good decisions for their health and any legal action that need to be taken. The victim is still probably in a state of shock and needs to be treated with tender loving care.

The second stage is when the victim will encounter the psychological problems and there are various coping strategies that they put into place. They may display rage, tears, denial, resistance, suppression, grief reactions of all sorts. None of these present strategies are wrong or right the victim has to be able to process what has happened. It is helpful if there is a family member or close friend that the victim trusts to be with them for a while.

The third stage can demonstrate a sense of depression and a desire to either talk with someone or avoid the subject all together. Two central issues should be dealt with: the victim’s self-perception of being guilty, damaged, or ruined, and her or his perceptions about the perpetrator, that is, that he or she is a threat to the subject’s security (Brackensiek and Hunter, 1990).

The effects of rape are long term. Rape survivors never forget being raped, but many learn how to deal with the memory. It should be noted that there is no human being that responds to a trauma of any kind in the very same way. Not all survivors respond to rape in the same way even though many of the survivors suffer from many of the same symptoms of the Rape Trauma Syndrome.

Rape Trauma Syndrome is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by a rape victim. The term is used to characterize a group of signs, symptoms and reactions of a rape victim. The theory of was first described by psychiatrist Ann Wolbert Burgess and sociologist Lynda Lytle Holmstrom in 1974.


  • Crying more than usual.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Being restless, agitated and unable to relax; or on the other hand just sitting around and moving very little.
  • Not wanting to go out and/or socialize; or on the other hand socializing more than usual.
  • Not wanting to be left alone.
  • Stuttering or stammering more than usual.
  • Trying to avoid anything that reminds the survivor of the rape. So for example, someone who was raped at a party may stop going to parties. Many rape survivors don’t want to talk about what happened, because it makes them remember the rape.
  • Being more easily frightened or startled than usual. Rape survivors often get very scared when someone walks up behind them without warning.
  • Being very alert and watchful.
  • Getting very upset by minor things that didn’t worry them before the rape.
  • Losing interest in things that used to be of interest to them before the rape.
  • Problems in relationships with people like family, friends, lovers and spouses. Rape survivors may become irritable and so may quarrel with others more easily; or they may withdraw from people with whom they had been close before the rape. They may also become very dependent on others, or on the other hand overly independent.
  • Sexual problems like a fear of sex, a loss of interest in sex or a loss of sexual pleasure.
  • Changes in work or school such as: dropping out of school, truanting from school, changing jobs, or stopping work altogether.
  • Moving house.
  • Increased use of substances like alcohol, cigarettes and/or drugs. A person who didn’t use a substance before the rape may start to use it after a rape.
  • Increased washing and/or bathing, because of a feeling of being dirty from the rape.
  • Acting as if the rape never happened. It is quite common for rape survivors to try and carry on with their lives as if nothing has happened, because they don’t want to face their feelings about the rape. This is called denial.


  • Intrusive thoughts about the rape that upset the rape survivor.

Intrusive thoughts and feelings about being dirty from (contaminated by) the rape. These feelings often make rape survivors wash or bath more frequently. These thoughts are known as obsessional thoughts.

  • Flashbacks – the sudden feeling that the rape is happening again, which makes the survivor very frightened and upset.
  • Nightmares about the rape.
  • Being very upset by anything that reminds the survivor of the rape. This is like becoming extremely afraid of certain things that remind the survivor of the rape. Such extreme fears are called phobias. Rape survivors often develop extreme fears of men, of strangers, of being alone, of leaving their homes, of going to school or to work, and of sex. These phobias are called traumatophobias, because they are caused by a trauma.
  • A loss of memory for all or part of the rape, which is called psychogenic amnesia. This is like being unable to feel certain feelings like happiness, or feeling very ‘flat’. On the other hand, rape survivors can feel emotionally confused and have mood swings (quick changes of mood).
  • Feeling that they will not live for very long and/or feeling very negative about their future prospects.
  • Feeling depressed and/or sad. There could even have thoughts of suicide. They should seek help immediately.
  • Feeling irritable and angry.
  • Feeling more fearful and anxious than usual. Rape survivors are often very afraid that their assailant/s will return, that they may be pregnant or have been infected with a disease from the rape.
  • Feelings of humiliation and shame.
  • Feeling different and/or distant from other people.
  • Feelings of guilt and self-blame about the rape. Rape survivors often feel that they were somehow responsible for being raped.
  • Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.
  • A loss of self-respect and self-confidence. Many rape survivors feel that the rape has made them worth less than other people. (Burgess, 1978).

The first couple of days immediately after a rape, a survivor usually experiences a state of shock. This shock does pass; some survivors try to act as if nothing has happened. This is their way of trying to block out the rape, because they feel that they won’t be able to cope if they let themselves remember what happened to them. So, they may look as if they have not been affected by the rape. This has been called the stage of denial or pseudo-adjustment.

There does come a time if a rape survivor is going to recover they must allow themselves to remember the rape and feel whatever it has left them with. Then comes the working through these feelings and this will take lots of prayers and a Christian counselor to help with the transition.

Part of the healing process is to uncover what the survivors true belief system is. Women of Christ must remember that they are a precious child of the LORD God.

  1. He chose you:

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16).

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1Peter 2:9).”

  1. He adopted you:

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Ephesians 1:4-51).

  1. He redeemed you:

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;: (Ephesians 1:7).

“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” (Revelations 5:9).

“ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3).

  1. He loves you:

“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39).

“Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.” (2Thessalonians 2:16).

  1. He forgave you:

“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:15).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

“I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” (1John 2:12).

  1. He cares you:

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1Peter 5:7).

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14).

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22).

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

National Sexual Assault Hotline – 800 656 4673 Is there for anyone needing help.


Brackensiek, L. S., & Hunter, R. J. (1990). Rape and rape counseling. In R. J. Hunter (Ed.), Dictionary of pastoral care and counseling. Nashville: Abingdon.

Burgess, Holstrom (1978). Rape Trauma Syndrome. Boston, Mass: American Psychiatric Association.

Kilpatrick, DJ, Edmunds CN Seymour A,( 1992). Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, Arlington, VA: National Victim Center.

Walby, Sylvia and Allen, Jonathan (2004) Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking: Findings from the British Crime Survey (London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate)

 Cite Article Source

MLA Style Citation:

Holstein, Joanne “Victims of Rape Can Heal: .” Becker Bible Studies Library Apr 2015.< ,>.

APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015, April) “Victims of Rape Can Heal:.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from ,.

Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015) “Victims of Rape Can Heal:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (April),, (accessed).

Joanne Holstein is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She is a graduate of Psychology/Christian and Bible Counseling with Liberty University. She is well-known as a counselor to Christian faithful who are struggling with tremendous burden in these difficult times. She is a leading authority on historical development of Christian churches and the practices and beliefs of world religions and cults.

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