Date Rape: Lifting the Burden of Secrecy!

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Last year, my post to commemorate “Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month” focused on children who were molested or raped as a child by a family member. This year I want to focus on date rape, which is unfortunately a lot more common than it should be.

While teaching recently, I noticed a young lady trying her best not to lose it when I told a story about another student who had shared with me that she had been “date raped.” Tears streamed down the young lady’s face, as she tried her best to keep the rest of the class from seeing her cry.

She broke down crying in my arms after class and told me her boyfriend had raped her two years ago when she was in the 9th grade. She said she broke up with him the next day, but had never told anyone about the rape.

Medicating Pain = More Pain

I asked her how had she medicated her pain. I’ve found that if counseling is not received after a rape happens, self-medication often occurs. She said she had sex with other guys, none of whom she was in a relationship with, hoping that it would somehow help her regain her value.

Girls often feel like “damaged goods” after being raped. So, if another guy wants to have sex with them after they’ve been raped, it gives them hope that they may still be “worth something” after all.

When Adults become Allies

I took her to the school counselor so she could report the rape, something I find myself doing way too often. Below is the letter she wrote me later:

I only wish you had come to my middle school so I wouldn’t have had any problems. You helped me so much. You basically told my story during class. I always thought it was my fault that I got raped, but you showed me that it wasn’t. I didn’t know my value because I felt that it was taken from me. I’ve made mistakes I regret because of being raped. Now that you’ve spoken, I know my worth and I’m going to save what I have left for my husband. Also because of you, I am closer to my mother. Since she learned about the rape, she seems to care for me more. I love the information you taught me. I still wish I had learned this earlier. I also wish I hadn’t beat myself up.

Are you speaking your child’s love language?

It’s great that she feels closer to her mom now. However, I hate that it took her mother learning of the rape for this young lady to know how much her mother cared about her. In fact, I’m sure her mother cared about her just as much all along. The daughter just didn’t “feel” cared about as much.

Perhaps, the mother had just not been speaking her child’s love language. To learn more about the 5 Love Languages of Teens check out a previous blog post.

A Mother and Daughter on the Same Page!

Parents often mistake their teen’s behavior as “just a phase” that all teens go through. So the child continues to “act out,” and the parent continues to chalk it up to typical “mood swings.” And let’s be honest, a “moody” teen can be a handful to deal with. It wouldn’t surprise me if in this young lady’s case, the relationship between her and her mom appeared to improve drastically because for the first time, the two of them were finally on the same page. No more secrets between them.

And the Truth Shall Be a Burden Lifter!

So many of our teens are burdened under the weight of secrets they were never meant to carry on their own! I cannot tell you how many times I have had girls to share their secrets of sexual assault with me, and every single time, they tell me how relieved they are to finally tell someone else. They want to share their secrets, but the fear, betrayal and shame produced by date-rape, holds them hostage.

Unfortunately, as much as we try as parents and caring adults, we aren’t always able to prevent sexual assaults from occurring. But we can pay attention to out-of-the-blue changes in mood and behavior and ask questions. We can establish a “safe place” for them to come and share what’s going on in their lives. And lastly, we can relieve them of the burdens of secrecy and get them the help that they need.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 7 Things Every Parent of a Teen Needs to Know Before Having "The Talk"  Want to discover more ways you can help your daughter make good choices? Learn more in this FREE eBOOK. 

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