The Single Most Important Thing
Survivors of emotional rape face many mental and emotional challenges as they begin the
process of recovery, and facing these challenges can result in positive personal growth,
as discussed in the previous chapter.
First, however, they must acknowledge what really happened to them. There is no hope of
recovery for someone who is suffering from cancer but being treated for influenza. We have
to make a correct diagnosis before recovery can begin. The same holds true here.
If you are emotionally raped, the single most important thing to do is to accept that
you are a rape victim and treat yourself accordingly.
This isn't always easy because our society finds it hard to accept that anyone is a
totally innocent victim. It is popularly presumed that we all somehow contribute not only
to our own problems, but to the problems of others as well, and there's some truth in
this. But it isn't an argument that bears taking too far, as the following example
One spiritual advisor leading a church-sponsored workshop on relationships and forgiveness
lectured his audience on how there could be no such person as an "innocent
victim." He maintained that the term is an oxymoron, a figure of speech combining
apparently contradictory expressions. To be a victim is to be not innocent.
Many of those who attended the workshop had been shocked to hear, that morning at the
Sunday service, about an eleven-year-old girl who was abducted from outside her home, and
raped and murdered. However, when a member of the audience asked the workshop adviser if
that girl was an innocent victim, he said she was not. Moreover, many in that audience
obviously agreed with him that somehow she had been responsible for her fate. His argument
was widely accepted.
The absurdity - indeed, the abhorrence - of that advisor's argument should surely be
apparent. Sadly, there are people who take advantage of others, therefore there are
The dangerous myth that we are all responsible for everything that happens to us has to
be discredited conclusively, so victims of emotional rape, for example - can learn to love
and trust again, unencumbered by feelings of guilt and shame.