Tougher Than Nails (Except Sometimes)

A quick survey of the news illustrates that there are millions of people being identified as “victims” out in the world today:  Victims of hurricanes and tornadoes. Victims of war and terrorism.  So many victims of sexual assault.

But sexual assault victims are different.  The shame of being sexually assaulted is different from the shame of losing property and safe shelter.

Many talk about their victimization immediately.  Many talk about it for the first time decades later.  Many never talk about  it.  And some have moved on.  No Big Deal, right?

I have a friend who grew up in a tough neighborhood in Chicago and she shared that she was assaulted at the age of twelve by local boys.  “But it happened to everybody I knew,” she said. “So, I just put it out of my mind and got over it.”  Well, she sort of “got over it.”  She happened to mention it to me more than once when we were  in our 50s, so it’s not like she ever forgot.

All boys victimize girls, right? All men victimize women, right? (Except the ones who don’t.)  Read this article especially if you’re concerned about boys and men being falsely accused.

Today we are hearing that:

  • Boys and men are the real victims of sexual assault (accusations).
  • Tough women get over it.

Kellyanne Conway: “Every time that happened to me, when I was younger and in the workplace, every time that happened to me, I always told a friend, I always told a female relative. There is shame involved because you tend to think it’s on you, ‘It’s your fault,’ somehow.”  She went on to say that she saw perpetrators as weak.  She didn’t fear them.  She was tougher than that.

Senate Candidate Kevin Cramer of ND about the women in his family: (They) “cannot understand this movement toward victimization” because they are “pioneers of the prairie” and “tough people.”  (We don’t know what the women in his family would say for themselves, nor do we know if they were ever assaulted.  But they are apparently nobody’s victim.) Mr. Kramer generally questions the validity of the #MeToo movement.

Who are the victimized?  And who are the victimizers?  Sadly, it’s become a political game.

But the truth – for every political party, every age, every gender, every culture – is that there are more victims out there than any of us can possibly imagine.  That’s not okay, but it’s not the end of the story. There is hope for broken people.  Hello therapy/spiritual counseling/community.

Churches that don’t want to be seen as gatherings of the broken and traumatized have missed the point of Jesus. Some tough guy churches will say that Jesus was never a victim.

They are mistaken. This is why I’m a Christian:  The God I believe in knows what it’s like to be a victim of assault and mocking and betrayal. But it’s not the end of the story.

If you are an assault victim, know that you are also more than that.  If you are broken today, know that you are more than that.  You are more than your victimization.  You are more than what someone has done to you.  You are more than what has happened to you.

Image of nails.  We can be tougher than them.  But sometimes we aren’t.

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