• Cheryl and Brad Tuggle, A Healing Marriage, p. 19
    "As the spouse of a survivor, it's hard for you to listen to horrific stories about the pain endured by someone you love and at the same time feel powerless to do anything about it.  Your natural inclination is to protect your wife and shield her from harm.  Yet trying to deal with her abuse is like fighting blindfolded without a weapon."
  • Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, p. 89
    “The struggle with shame and contempt--a common experience for everyone--is an intensely felt battle for the man or woman who has been sexually abused.”
  • Cheryl and Brad Tuggle, A Healing Marriage, p. 15
    "You were the victim of someone else's sin.  In a strange way, it's easier to blame yourself than to put the responsibility where it belongs ... The guilt belongs to the perpetrator."
  • Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Choosing Forgiveness: Your journey to Freedom, p. 41
    “The outcome of our lives is not determined by what happens to us but by how we respond to what happens to us … We will be affected by the circumstances that form the backdrop of our lives … But those circumstances, horrendous as they may be, do not have the power to control the outcome of our lives.”
  • Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus, Intimate Issues, p. 167-168
    “Whether your abuser was a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or a stranger, God abhors what that person did to you.  Perhaps you are thinking, ‘If God feels this strongly about sexual abuse, why didn’t He stop my abuser?’ ... God didn’t stop your abuser because when He created us, God gave us the gift of free will.  Your abuser chose to use this gift in an evil way.  God is deeply grieved over your abuser’s actions, but because He is true to His word, God will not take back a gift He has given.  BUT, He will heal you and punish your offender.”
  • Leslie Barner, A Way of Hope, p. 7
    “Change does take time, a lot of courage, and a great deal of support, but change can happen. And if you are in an abusive situation, change must happen.”
  • Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, p.190
    “Deep healing, supernatural change, may take years of struggle, trial-and-error learning, and growing in strength to make the next significant move of faith.  No one ought to judge another’s growth timetable.”
  • Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, p. 126
     “When an abused person feels powerless, she internalizes an image of herself as profoundly inadequate.  She deeply questions her ability, competence, and intelligence. … I have worked with men and women who have attained the highest level of proficiency in their field and yet view themselves as idiots.”
  • Nicole Braddock Bromley, Hush, p. 13
    “Silence protects the violators, not the victims.  May the silence be broken!”
  • Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, p. 114
    “It may be obvious, but to most abused people it is not clear:  abuse strips a person of the freedom to choose.  Sexual abuse was never wanted nor invited; therefore, its occurrence was not a choice.  If the abuse occurred one time or hundreds, the fact does not change; to the degree that choice was denied, powerlessness was experienced and dignity was assaulted.”
  • Dennis and Barbara Raney, Rekindling the Romance, p. 89
    "If you have been abused [sexually] in your past at any level, no matter how minor it may seem to you, and you haven't talked about it with your husband, let me challenge you to risk letting him know this about you.  My guess is, he intuitively knows something isn't 'right' anyway.  Your marriage will never grow to the place of mature, cherishing love without this difficult disclosure."
  • Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, p.190
    “Deep healing, supernatural change, may take years of struggle, trial-and-error learning, and growing in strength to make the next significant move of faith.  No one ought to judge another’s growth timetable.”
  • Nicole Braddock Bromley, Hush, p. 146
    “Without the Lord’s healing in your life, it will be nearly impossible for you to have a healthy, intimate relationship with the mate God has chosen for you...  The Lord, not your future spouse, needs to be your focus.  Only He can help you overcome the obstacles to intimacy that sexual abuse has placed in your path.”
  • Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, p.168
    "The person who feels unworthy and guilty for every kindness and who has the unnerving quality of being able to snap defeat from the jaws of victory, more than likely struggles with an undealt-with abusive past.”
  • Nicole Braddock Bromley, Hush, p. 79
     “You can be free of the pain of the past – the nightmares, the shame, the fears, the lies.  You can nail all of it to the cross.  On the cross, Jesus was ‘beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed’ (Isaiah 53:5).”
  • Nicole Braddock Bromley, Hush, p. 109
    “Unforgivingness doesn’t hurt the one who harmed you; it only hurts you.  No wonder it’s Satan’s preferred tool to keep abuse survivors in bondage!  If we allow him to feed our unforgiving spirit, we’ll never experience the power that forgiveness has to set us free.  Forgiveness will tear down the walls that imprison us, but we can’t know that until we try it.”
  • David Powlison, “Rape Recovery” article
    “Before we talk about anything else, you need to know that God is extremely tender to victims. Many Psalms are the heart cries of those who have suffered at the hands of others. They pour forth words describing the experiences of the afflicted, the poor, the needy, the broken, the innocent, and the helpless. This is your experience. You are afflicted. And the God and Father of Jesus Christ cares.”
  • Remind yourself that what happened was not your fault in any way.
  • If you have not told anyone about your abuse, dare to take a step of faith and share your story with someone that you trust.
  • Remember that you are not alone… struggling with issues of sexual abuse is not uncommon and there are others who understand.  Statistics show 1 out of 4 women have been abused.
  • Be sure to stay involved in a local, Bible-believing church.  You need community, encouragement and accountability during this time of healing.
  • Be willing to take the initiative and risk being vulnerable with those closest to you as you share your story of abuse.
  • You don’t have to tell everyone your story.  But be willing to share it with people you trust or someone you feel may benefit from sharing your journey.
  • Choose one of the Hope scriptures and memorize it this week.
  • Remember that you cannot control the actions or reactions of others, but you can honor God with your own actions and responses.
  • Choose one of the online articles or books on sexual abuse to read.  Dialogue with your spouse, a friend or a mentor about what you are reading.
  • Be assured that once you have forgiven the abuser, anger and bitterness can be replaced by feelings of peace.
  • How are things different now that you’ve reached out for help and invested in your spiritual and emotional health?  List the areas where you have seen growth since you began this process.
  • Forgiveness is a decision modeled after God’s forgiveness of us—a decision not to hold an offense against the offender.  Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is not forgetting, and it is not excusing.  How are you doing with forgiveness as it relates to your abuser?
  • Regardless of whether or not your abuser has repented, you can release the offense and maintain a readiness to forgive.  As you “forgive from the heart” (Mt. 18:35) your burden is lifted and your outlook will change.   How willing are you to forgive your abuser?
  • Past sexual abuse can lead to compulsive behaviors like the need to overwork or overachieve, self-injury, anorexia, bulimia or addictions.  Are any of these true of your life right now?  You might also want to ask a trusted friend or advisor whether they see these things in you.
  • It is often helpful to seek help from a local Christian counselor or pastor in addition to having a close friend or mentor to confide in.
  • Remember that even though you may feel worthless, damaged, or scared, you are still made in the image of God [Genesis 1:26-29 and He loves you very much.