NB: This is a fictional story of a rape victim’s prayer; any similar encounter you may have unfortunately experienced or heard about is purely coincidental. The characters and description are purely my active imaginations. No matter how you look at it, rape is not easy for the victim and her family; especially when it involves another family member. But it is real and dates back to biblical times as in the story of Tamar and Amnon found in 2nd Samuel 13:1-21.
When an uncle she considers a second Dad rapes God-fearing Jacinta, the foundation of her faith in God shakes. Her trust dims further when her family covers the crime in a bid to prevent a scandal that they claim can mar her image, for the rest of her life. She had heard of women both young and old experiencing rape by a family member. However, she had been unable to comprehend it until she goes through the same tragedy. Her uncle John was the last person she dreamt could hurt her due to the fatherly role he played when her real dad was working at sea. Worst for her was the fact that the trust she had imposed on God to protect her, seemed to be nothing but wishful thinking. With a bewildered mind full of questions on God’s existence and his ability to protect those who love him, she seeks God in prayer. It is only through this that she may be able to obtain complete healing for her spirit and soul.
O Lord, Why?
You look on unconcerned as your people suffer at the hands of the wicked! You were absent as he tore my virginity into shreds together with my dignity! Where were you when I needed you the most? Did you not promise to protect me from harm? Are you not my refuge like David said you were, in the book of psalms? Do the winds and seas no longer obey you as they used to, or are all those myths? All you had to do was lift your little finger as you did so many times for your people of old to forestall the calamity. Did not your word tell me that you are the same God of Yesterday, Today and Forever? That there is none as mighty as you are? Then why did you allowed this to happen to me?
Am I not pleasing in your sight anymore, or has the punishment for good deeds now become evil? I am broken! My trust in you is shattered into shreds just as he shred my clothes of my body. If you have given me the ability to keep myself pure all these years, then why did you not protect me? Is it true what the unbelievers say about you, that there is no God? Must I take to the side of the idol worshipers who boast that their small gods are quick to fight for their people? Will I be justified in making this move since you seem so far away?
However, if you do not exist, then why do you feel so close to me each time I kneel beside my bed to pray? How can I explain the joy that fills my heart each time I sing a worship song to you? Besides, when the trees move with the passing wind, is it not you passing by? Who was it who healed me from my sick bed five years ago, when death eagerly opened its mouth to devour me? Was it not you, or did you save me for a time as this, that I should go through the worse pain of my life? If Jesus died for my sake carrying my sins with him to the cross, then why did I have to feel the sharp pains that almost paralyzed my body? Pains just like the nails passing through his hands on the cross of Calvary.
As Uncle John moved up and down above me, not caring the pain he inflicted, I felt like Tamar when her own stepbrother raped her. I can now perceive why his Brother Absalom had to resort to murder in vengeance. For what a woman goes through in rape’ goes beyond the physical to harm the spirit and the soul.
Is it my fault that I trusted my own uncle? Was I supposed to carry a shield with me to the house of the man who once carried me while I was still a baby? A man who was present at my birth and who took the role of my Dad more times than I can count? Should I have disrespected my mother and refused to deliver the items to his house? Will refusing to go on that errand have spared me this torment, or would it eventually have happened? How could I know that those lips that used to smile lovingly at me had the capability of tearing at my tender lips until I could taste my own blood? That those hands that had handed me gifts, could squeeze my tender breasts without care. Oh! When did that pure love turn to lust? Where was I looking? How was I to know that those comments passed about me turning into a beautiful woman was not as innocent as they sounded?
I wish the Holy Spirit had chosen to give me the gift of revelation so that perhaps, he would have revealed this to me. That way, I would have escaped this because I would have heeded his caution. Oh God, why have you have allowed this to happen to me? Have I not preached of your loving kindness to other young women who lead their lives recklessly? Is this my reward? Perhaps if I had followed their ways, I would have had a chance to choose whom to give myself to rather than endure my uncle’s brutality.
Do you know what hurts me the most? I cried out the name Jesus, when I knew what was about to happen but there was no response. If the bible is truthful in its statement that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, then where were you? Where were you when I shrieked in fear at the size of his manhood and the pain it was about to cause me? I had never seen a naked grown man and I was so scared.
I feel like dying, because even those who are responsible for my protection here on earth, could not perform their duty. Punishment has eluded Uncle John setting him free from the damage he caused to me due to their inaction. If they had reported the crime, he would not be walking around freely. However, how could I press charges? Grandma’s wailing pierced my heart for fear of his only son’s imprisonment even as she tore her clothes and grieved my rape. And what about mummy? She has wept every day since the incident and completely lost her appetite making me fear for her health. However, she did not make haste to report him either, claiming a scandal could ruin my chances of getting married one day.
Now it is too late, the evidence of my scars and private injuries are no more. My wounded spirit is not visible for anyone to see. The fact that he did not take responsibility for his action is too much for me. Pleading forgiveness and saying sorry is not good enough for me. For the first time sorry is not good enough! He says he did not know what came over him but to me this is nonsense. I am glad he has relocated because I am afraid I might stab him with a knife should he ever come close to me. At least he has no wife and children to witness his shame. I will not curse his future children for they have done no wrong. I never want to set my eyes on him again though I know it is impossible.
I sometimes ask myself whether mummy loves her brother more than her own daughter. However, I have witnessed with my eyes her misery that goes beyond my wounds. Like me, this came as a shock to her. A brother to whom she had entrusted her only daughter had almost caused her insanity. What was going to be her defense when her husband; my father got wind of the incidence?
The day I heard her arguing with grandma with intermittent tears, I knew that though the physical pain was mine, the two older women felt the deeper torture. My mother whose brother had raped her daughter and my Grandma whose son had raped her granddaughter. How daddy would have raved if he knew the truth. I have seen him in a temper and have no doubt my uncle’s blood would have gushed like a burst pipe.
The man I had often referred to as my second daddy does not stand the chance of seeing another day if my real dad gets to know. I don’t know if I am happy my dad is far away overseas thinking his little princess if fine or if vengeance will do me good. Nevertheless, what is the use of such blood? Does it have the ability to make me complete again? What is the use of such anger? Could my parent’s marriage have survived this tragedy?
No, this is better kept quiet and locked away in my memory where it would not be remembered if possible. How I wish I had amnesia or that I would wake up one day to realize it was all a bad dream. However, the pains I feel in my abdomen bring me back to reality. Not all those pain-killers and the hot water I sat on were enough even though the doctor we went to see out of town was helpful and kind. His words, “young woman you are free of all venereal diseases and will soon feel no pain” was said it kindness, but was not enough to erase the torture I was going through.
When I heard him reprimand mum and grandma for not reporting my uncle I admired his good heart. Unfortunately, he was at the same time concerned that doing so would be scandalous to my image for the rest of my life. I knew then that life had wedged me between the devil and the deep blue sea. I don’t know what is more important, my image or the pain I feel. I know the society we live in can be judgmental so I sometimes understand them but it is not easy to see wrong go unpunished.
Where were you, God? I know your word says you will not give me more than I can take, but I wish you had given me a different cross. I don’t know how I feel toward my uncle; sometimes pity and sometimes hatred. I don’t know if I can ever forgive him, I feel like stabbing him with a knife just as he stabbed me with the strength of his manhood. Where was his sanity? Is this the power of lust? Does it make all men crazy? Oh God, I taught he was an animal. When he tore my clothes off my body, I thought it was a bad dream.
His weight on my body completely paralyzed me for and I knew my strength had failed me. How can a woman fight the strength of a man possessed with lust? How could my fragile body defend itself from the unwanted invasion? The terrible pain that shook my unprepared body as he thrust into me had the power to render me lifeless. When I remember how he held my mouth to blot out my screams, his eyes lifeless, I want to blot out the memory.
I never want to remember this again. Take away the memory and the pain and lead me through this healing process, for my spirit is broken. You alone can mend it. My life is shattered and my world is bleak. I want to run away from you and never serve you again, but this past month without talking to you is more than I can take. Is the world out there better? Was the little girl I saw in the news who had suffered the same faith more deserving of this than I did? Will straying away from you bring me healing? Will I go back to all those I told about your goodness and tell them there is a more wicked side to my God? No, for then my heart will break more than it already has and I would rather be dignified in the grave.
I remember the look of shock on my uncle’s face after he had finished his barbaric act and looked at me as if seeing me for the first time. It was as if he was a different person as he grabbed a cloth to cover his nakedness and run out of the room. Sobs racking his body as he went off. The harm had already been done. The blood was running down my legs and my body had turned so cold I pitied the cold fish in the deep freezer at home. I wonder where he is now. When I went on that errand, I didn’t know I was entering a lion’s den.
How could a man who had played a fatherly role in my lie all these years have thrown all that away in such a disgusting manner? I though his love for me as a daughter was real but this act tells me otherwise for why should a father defile his daughter? This is a great lesson for me and I will take it to the grave. Not even the healing of my broken soul can take away this lesson of life. God, can your omnipresent eyes see him now? Tell him; I thought he was my keeper, I did not know I had to be kept from him. Keep him away from others like me who cannot defend themselves. He says it was the first time he raped someone but who can be sure? Even if it is, will it be the last?
My proof of innocence is gone with my hymen. But if I drive away my God, my life will end. I will hold on to the dignity I have left and protect it with all the life I have in me. I will lift up my head, for I am but only one victim out of thousands of other woman. My cry is just a fraction of the cries ringing in your ear. Help your daughters, open our eyes and keep us from harm’s way. I know tomorrow will be better just as yesterday was better than the other day.
One thing I ask of you let something more beautiful come out of all this pain. Let me not suffer in vain oh God. If you heal me of this and show yourself strong just as the God you have always been, I will speak out one day and damn the consequences. My voice will bring healing to the broken hearted. I hope this experience will assist the many who are scarred for life. Nevertheless, I will soar above this with your help. One-step at a time, one day soon and that which meant to bring me down will be dismayed.
May these tears streaming down my face wash away the pain in my heart. For when I leave this room today, I refuse to wallow in self-pity. I will wash my face and put on a bright smile because as far as you have not called me into your bosom, my whole life is ahead of me. I will continue my mission here on earth until it is time for me to return to you. Help me heal the love I have for you because hatred threatens to take its place. Take away the bitterness because my anger burns toward you who watched this happen to me from above. I don’t pray to understand this tragedy now, for I will never be satisfied with any explanation. Maybe one day when I see you face to face in heaven, you will explain it to me. You will explain to me why I am supposed to thank you for all things both good and bad. I am sorry I cannot accept those words now.
Maybe one day I will; just Maybe! And when I meet my uncle one day in this world or the next, may I have the courage to walk up to him and say; uncle I forgive you! Just as Jesus forgave and saved me by dying for me on the cross. Until then I release the power he has over me right now through unforgiveness. He no longer has any more power over me. I am stronger now. I have grown ten additional years of wisdom with this experience. I am certain; justice will prevail one day. So help me God! This time and always, God Help me!
RELATED FOR BIBLE PASSAGE
2nd Samuel 13:1-21
1 _ David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her. 2Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible that he could ever fulfill his love for her.
3 _ Now Amnon had a very crafty friend—his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimea. 4One day Jonadab said to Amnon, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?”
So Amnon told him, “I am in love with Tamar, Absalom’s sister.”
5“Well,” Jonadab said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are sick. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she feeds you.”
6So Amnon pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, “Please let Tamar come to take care of me and cook something for me to eat.” 7So David agreed and sent Tamar to Amnon’s house to prepare some food for him.
8When Tamar arrived at Amnon’s house, she went to the room where he was lying down so he could watch her mix some dough. Then she baked some special bread for him. 9 _ But when she set the serving tray before him, he refused to eat. “Everyone get out of here,” Amnon told his servants. So they all left. 10Then he said to Tamar, “Now bring the food into my bedroom and feed it to me here.” So Tamar took it to him. 11 _ But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, “Come to bed with me, my darling sister.”
12_ “No, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! You know what a serious crime it is to do such a thing in Israel. 13Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me.”
14_ But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her. 15Then suddenly Amnon’s love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. “Get out of here!” he snarled at her.
16_ “No, no!” Tamar cried. “To reject me now is a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.”
But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her. 17He shouted for his servant and demanded, “Throw this woman out, and lock the door behind her!”
18 _ So the servant put her out. She was wearing a long, beautiful robe, as was the custom in those days for the king’s virgin daughters. 19 _ But now Tamar tore her robe and put ashes on her head. And then, with her face in her hands, she went away crying.
20 _ Her brother Absalom saw her and asked, “Is it true that Amnon has been with you? Well, don’t be so upset. Since he’s your brother anyway, don’t worry about it.” So Tamar lived as a desolate woman in Absalom’s house. 21 _ When King David heard what had happened, he was very angry. 22And though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about it, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Like Jacinta, have you ever been bitter toward God for not coming to your aid when you needed him?
2. How does forgiving God and the one who hurt you bring healing to your soul?
3. Like Jacinta’s mom and grand mom, how does covering some family crimes hurt us the most?
4. In the passage above, how do you think David could have dealt with the situation to avert Absalom revenge?
5. Like Tamar and Jacinta, how do you think women should protect themselves from such painful experiences?