I was at Covenant Church’s Women’s Legacy Conference earlier this year and just found myself fascinated with one of the speakers. Probably because she wasn’t churchy, she didn’t have verses on notecards for the screen guy, and she was HILARIOUS but serious at the same time. Her name is Me Ra Koh. Here is her photo recap from that event. Most importantly, she had something to say about a very tough topic facing a HUGE number of women. Her area of street credit is sexual assault (date rape).
She spoke about her personal experience, the struggles and guilt she faced being a devoted Christian woman experiencing grief, and her journey toward healing and restoration after being raped. While reading her book Beauty Restored (and doing my own formal official google research LOL), I found myself in complete shock about just how high the numbers are for this type of crime. And more shockingly, just how under reported it is. Her book states that “One study revealed that during a 20-year period, as many as 12 million women and children – nearly 10 percent of the current female population of the United States – had been raped. One in four college women have been or will be the victim of rape or attempted rape.” Ministry Safe training said that 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys is sexually assaulted before the age of 18. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but those are higher numbers than people diagnosed with CANCER!!! Yet it’s hush-hush because it’s private and oh so violating. (I can just imagine in my mind having sexual assault victims walk like they have cancer walks, and I wonder just how large of a group that would be if everyone came out of hiding…. sad and scary vision.)
I was having lunch with one of my BFFs just passionately venting to her (love that she lets me do that) about just how many girls have been molested and raped and how much it bothers me that THEY DONT TELL anyone. And she looked at me point-blank and said, I was date raped. And I didn’t tell anyone. Can you say speechless?
So, about God’s amazing restoration process. As the Foreword states, “Follow Me Ra’s lead so that you no longer live as a victim but as someone who has experienced victory over the inhumane act of another. Allow God to strengthen you and to perform the same miracle in your life.” So, here are just a few of the many of my most favorite ever quotes Me Ra Koh wrote. My thoughts are in parentheses:
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again. Psalms 71:20.
Follow Jesus through the darkness and devastating hurt and enter the light once again.
I needed someone who could understand… who could sit through all my tears. There is only one person who can do this. His name is God. He calls Himself Jesus.
How had I, the victim, become the enemy?
Understanding Grief: … grieving leads to hope, whereas depression leaves you hopeless.
I chose to stop running and to look my pain straight in the face. (You go girl!)
Other people admire my survival. But survival isn’t the goal; overcoming is.
God uses many different people to usher in His healing… The Lord brings us many different support groups throughout our healing journey.
Walking through this life with a sensitive heart is work, because opening your heart to love gives someone the potential to hurt you. In fact, risking to love and trust again is impossible without God.
From the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. Psalm 71:20,21.
I was still feeling damaged and tired, yet he was calling me God’s princess. How do you receive something like that?
Life can seem life a constant warfare between wanting to embrace the hope the keeper gives in abundance and fearing the risk of trusting again.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if being raped qualified us to be exempt from any other trauma and pain in life? … No one wants to admit that freedom doesn’t mean exemption from pain.
Why forgive: … Then I realized what it meant for me to move on. It meant accepting the realization that if the man who had raped me stood before me right now and begged my forgiveness, it would not bring me freedom. It would definitely be helpful, but it would not repair my heart and make it new again. I would still have the memories and everything they entailed. I had to die to my fantasies of what constituted healing and once again cling to God. (I could soak in that paragraph for days. I’m convinced that the forgiveness in this process is NOT for the other person. It’s to free us and is between us and God and it’s a PROCESS. A continual process. Just like grief is a process with triggers around the holidays. There are triggers in this process as well.)
I can hear His Spirit say it to me now. “We’re going to the other side, Me Ra. Don’t let the fierce waves misguide your hope…” We live for the days when the storms subside. There is a voice that tries to tell us that a lack of storms in our lives is evidence of wholeness. As much as those words tickle my ears, I keep hearing this “annoying” promise of Jesus: you will see troubles in this lifetime, but do not fear. I am with you (see John 16:33).
Three men in particular were determined to show me that all men were not like the one who had taken advantage of me. They became like brothers to me in the safety of our church and the company of other friends.
And an amazing verse… Ezekiel 16:5-14 “…you were naked and bare… so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine… then I washed you in water…and I anointed you with oil.. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals…fine linen…silk…your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you…”
This blog cannot even begin to touch the wealth of comfort, health, and healing this book has been for me during this process. Thank you Me Ra. And I’m especially appreciative that Me Ra’s mother wrote a section in the back called “Through a Mother’s Eyes”. There is absolutely nothing worse than being a mother and feeling helpless to the pain of your child. In fact, this month our Pastor did a sermon on having a heart like Mary’s (Jesus’s mother). And try as he might to encourage us to desire that, I opted out. As great as her heart was, she had to sit at the foot of the cross with her son’s blood splattering and watch him be brutally beaten and killed. I looked at my husband and said, “No, I’m good. I’d rather throw in a pizza and eat with the kids LOL.” I’m very thankful for Mary. But I don’t desire to walk the road she walked. Maybe on another day. But not today.
You can buy the book Beauty Restored by clicking on the book title.
If you are the caretaker or family member of someone who has been sexually abused, you may also check out RAINN (rape abuse incest national network). They have some great resources including this one about Self-Care for Friends & Family Members
Social media hugs all!