Healing for victims of rape
[Written for the Sentinel]
The court's verdict was "guilty of rape."
Human law convicted the sullen and defiant young man and sentenced him to prison.
Human belief tried to convict me as victim and to sentence me to imprisoning bitterness—frightened, despairing.
But Truth reversed this sentence. Step by step, through humbly relying on God, through praying to destroy the revulsion and anguish that bound me, I gained such a deep understanding of my true identity as God's spiritual child that I knew beyond all doubt that my innocence, my innate purity, had never been touched. Because each of us is in reality God's idea, we can neither be a frightened victim nor a defiant attacker. This understanding healed me.
Nothing is impossible to God. Therefore nothing in the vast range of human experience—no matter how terrible it seems—is beyond reach of Christian Science healing.
Rape rests on the belief that man is a physical being who can violate or be violated by another. What, then, do we do? Run scared? No. We can lift ourselves to such heights that we see the true man—spiritual, Christly, good, governed by the one Mind, God. We can refuse to accept the belief in many minds, some of them bent on wrongdoing. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health: "It is the opposite of good—that is, evil—which seems to make men capable of wrong-doing. Hence, evil is but an illusion, and it has no real basis. Evil is a false belief." Science and Health, p. 480;
To heal the effects of rape we must treat rape and the emotional shock it produces the same way we would sickness—as false belief. And for this we have clear guidance from Mrs. Eddy. "Mentally and silently plead the case scientifically for Truth," she writes. "You may vary the arguments to meet the peculiar or general symptoms of the case you treat, but be thoroughly persuaded in your own mind concerning the truth which you think or speak, and you will be the victor." ibid., p. 412;
Among the effects of rape may be fear, loathing, bitterness (especially if the perpetrator has not been apprehended and punished), self-pity, self-condemnation, and perhaps haunting memory.
Through mental argument, one can destroy these false beliefs with the truth of being—the very opposite of evil.
Fear: How unnecessary it is to fear the recurrence of something that never happened in God's kingdom—and that's exactly where one has always been. The pure atmosphere of Spirit is the only environment there really is; and there, in divine Mind, where all God's spiritual ideas exist in harmony, nothing but good is going on, ever has gone on. As God's ideas we can't be separated from Him. With the Psalmist we can rejoice that God's knowing gives us existence, holding us at one with Him: "O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. ... Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there." Ps. 139:1, 7, 8; An unflinching stand with Truth, a clear consciousness of God's presence, give us spiritual strength and destroy fear.
Loathing: An opposite of loathing is cherishing, and we can cherish ourself and everyone else as the spiritual idea of God, living in His atmosphere of innocence, where nothing loathsome can enter. As we cherish man's oneness with pure Spirit, we are washed clean of loathing.
Bitterness: An antidote for bitterness is forgiveness—the compassion that annuls shriveling, wasting bitterness. Christ Jesus said of those who nailed him to the cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34; We can forgive—not the evil but the mistaken human being who temporarily allows evil to govern him. How? By seeing him in his true, sinless identity. This forgiveness frees us. And it can't help bringing blessing to him too.
Self-pity: An opposite of self-pity is self-respect. To heal self-pity we must see our true, spiritual selfhood—untouched, protected, God-controlled—and respect this self. Likewise we must see our fellow beings as they really are: Christly, Godlike.
Self-condemnation: The opposite of self-condemnation is genuine self-love. Such love is based on the recognition of our true self as God's child and gratitude for the fact that, regardless of material appearances, we remain His pure, innocent idea. There is no circumstance that can shut out divine Love's thoughts, which enable us to love our true self as God loves us.
Memory: The mental rehearsing of distressing events is based on the belief that the material past is real and has power. The healing truth is that man lives in and of Spirit, reflecting the divine consciousness, God, good. Man in God's likeness has no material past and knows none. He lives in the perfect, eternal now. We must not be tempted to think we have been through something real, with the resulting need to overturn its effects. We are healed when we see the unreality of evil, and good's allness, which wipes evil out of consciousness.
Rape is not an actuality to be feared. It's an illusion, a waking dream, powerless, nothing. Divine Love's infinitude, realized and accepted as the basis of our living, is our protection. "Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you," Science and Health, p. 571. Science and Health states. When we abide in the conviction that God is holding all His children within His infinite embrace, that man's spiritual innocence can never be violated, we are safe.