- Recommended Articles & Media
- VIDEO - What to Communicate to a Kid Who Has Been Sexually Abused
- Jim Burns shares four important messages to convey to a kids who has been sexually abused.
- General Information on Sexual Abuse
- We know sexual abuse is hard to talk about. Here’s the most important information you need to know about this tragic issue.
- Recommended Radio Broadcasts
- Healing from Sexual Abuse - Part 1
- Author Jan Morrison endured years of childhood sexual abuse - only to be followed by a rape in her adult years. Dr. Jim Burns talks with this inspiring educator about some practical tips for "Healing from Sexual Abuse."
- Healing from Sexual Abuse - Part 2
- Sometimes the trauma of sexual abuse can seem too overwhelming to get beyond. But if that's your story right now, you'll be encouraged by Dr. Jim Burns' continuing conversation with author Jan Morrison about "Healing from Sexual Abuse."
- Recommended Culture Blog
- 1 in 3 U.K. Teenage Girls Tell of Sexual Abuse by Their Boyfriends
- One in three U.K. teenage girls has suffered sexual abuse from a boyfriend and one in four has experienced violence in a relationship, according to an in-depth study published recently.
- Survey: Teens Dating Younger, Experiencing More Violence in Relationships
- A troubling new survey reveals that teens (even "tweens") are dating earlier, and are experiencing emotional and sexual abuse in their relationships.
Question:We learned last night that our 17-year-old daughter was raped by her boyfriend. We are devastated and don't know how to help her. The incident took place several weeks ago, and she didn't report it to anyone, so I doubt we could take any legal action. What can we do to help our daughter get through this awful ordeal?
This is the time for you to be there for your daughter. She needs your love, grace, understanding, and prayers. There will be times she will want to talk with you and other times when she will not. Be there for her but don't smother her. During this period, your presence and support is often more important than your words. Any form of sexual abuse is traumatic and people will deal with their pain in many different ways. If your daughter came to my office, here is what I would want to get across to her.
• It is not your fault. It is always the fault of the abuser. Most people who have been sexually abused place much of the blame on themselves. You see this often in date rape situations, but the fault always lies with the abuser.
• Seek help. Do not suffer in silence. Perhaps the last thing on your daughter's mind is to seek needed help because she will have to tell the story to a stranger. However, a trauma has taken place in her life. She is the victim of a crime and the victim of a great offense against her precious body, mind, and soul. If I had cancer and the answer was to get help instead of letting it take over my body, then I would hope my friends would urge me to get help. It's the same with sexual trauma. It is very important to receive the help and counsel needed to deal with the rape.
• There is hope. Unfortunately, thousands of people have been raped on a date. Even though it seems so difficult now, many of those people have gotten the help they needed and although there are difficult times, they are doing great in life. These people worked through their pain and got the help they needed.
• God cares. When someone has gone through any kind of abuse, it is sometimes very difficult to understand that God still cares about us as individuals. Jesus wept at the death of a friend. If we have a God who weeps at the news of his friend's death, then we have a God who weeps when he hears of injustice and abuse. The spiritual side to her healing is very important.
You mentioned that you were devastated by this terrible experience. Make sure you get the right kind of help for yourself and for the entire family. This is not a time to withdraw but to seek the help and support everyone needs. When you talk with a counselor, they will help you deal with the pain and help you support your daughter. A counselor will also need to report this crime to Child Protective Services. Reporting the incident is a very good thing though your daughter will probably not think so. Even if your daughter chooses not to prosecute, the name of her ex-boyfriend will be placed in the system in case he ever does it again. Sexual abusers often strike more than once.
Your daughter needs your love and acceptance right now. Thanks for being there for her.