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The aftermath of that experience and subsequent battles with depression have left me with the appreciation for the fragility of life and the importance of friends and community who extend a hand of outreach and compassion in difficult circumstances.
Elul, the tradition teaches, is a time when God is more present, ready to listen and care for the human being.
(I should also note that I know most of the respondents in real life, including many who have been my students.) Their comments altogether filled up 60 pages. A few years ago, I conducted a similar informal survey on Twitter by sharing the story of being stalked by my high school teacher and using the hashtag #howoldwereyou. In my research for a related essay, I learned the sobering statistics about childhood sexual abuse: 7 percent of girls in grades 5–8 and 12 percent of girls in grades 9–12 report having been sexually abused, along with 3 percent of boys grades 5–8 and 5 percent of boys in grades 9–12.
The numbers for sexual assault are only worse for adults, and college students are particularly vulnerable.
Through getting the right help, therapy, and medication, and through the support of good and devoted friends, I was able to survive and emerge from that challenge.He doesn’t deserve that power over you.” Forgiveness is not a favor we do for the person who offended us.It is a favor we do for ourselves, cleansing our souls of thoughts and memories that lead us to see ourselves as victims and make our lives less enjoyable.Another revealed that “the church has helped redeem my understanding of what a man and a father looks like.” As I read these and other responses, I found myself asking: What if the church were the first place an abuse victim knew to go to for help and healing?Local churches have an enormous opportunity and can address this grievous issue in a number of ways, by: Maybe the simplest and most profound act of Christian response is this: listening to those who have suffered. And by learning, perhaps we as local church communities can take proactive steps to prevent more abuse from happening and to help survivors find true healing in Christ.
The University of Texas at Austin recently released a report indicating that 15 percent of its female undergraduate students have been raped.