What Jesus would say to the woman who has been raped

Stephanie Long

When I found out the Stanford rapist only got a 6-month sentence, my stomach boiled with rage. My heart broke, not only for his survivor, but also for every rape survivor watching the outcome and growing even more convinced that speaking up won’t make a difference.  

Rape happens every day, and it happens to people in and out of the church. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime.
If you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted, people may have lied to you and told you it was your fault or that you’re damaged goods. You might be wondering how rape could have happened to you. 

You might be angry at God, but God is not angry with you. 

4 Things Jesus Would Want You to Know if You’ve Been Raped

1. You are not alone. 

Psalm 9:9 promises us that “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”

Your pain, fear, anger, and sadness are not too much for God. God loves you just as much today as He did the day He created you. God sees you in your pain and grieves with you, just like He does for all of His children.

After being physically and emotionally abused, a woman named Hagar finally decided she couldn’t take it anymore. She runs away, but in Genesis 16, an angel of the Lord meets her along the road and tells her that her story isn’t over. “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Genesis 16:13).

God wants to comfort you and heal you — even if you’re angry at Him. If you’re mad at God, tell Him. He can take it. Pour out all your emotions. Don’t hold anything back. God will meet you in your pain. Just like He promises in Psalm 147:3, “[The Lord] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

2. It’s not your fault. 

It can be easy to think, Well, maybe I should have … then this wouldn’t have happened. 

It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, drinking, or doing. Rape and sexual assault are never your fault. Even if your attacker says, “You made me do it,” it’s not your fault.

At the time when God wrote the first rules for His people, women were considered a man’s property. God’s laws set Israel apart from its neighboring countries by elevating a woman’s status and protecting her. The punishment for rape was death for the rapist. The punishment for adultery was death of both parties involved, but God makes a distinction for rape: “Only the man who has done this shall die. Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death” (Deuteronomy 22:25-26).

Nothing you can do would ever make rape or assault your fault — God made that clear in His laws from the beginning. You did not deserve it. Rape is a sin, but it’s not your sin; it’s the sin of the person who harmed you against your will. 

3. You are valuable. 

Rape victim is not who you are. You are a son or daughter of the God who made the universe. 

Your value comes from God. He created you, and He is the only one who can define you. You are not dirty or used up. You were fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God (Psalm 139).

God proved His love for you and your value to Him by sending His Son to earth to remove the sin gap between God and His people once and for all. Just consider the beginning of one of the most famous verses in the Bible, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  

If you have never asked Jesus into your life, let Him meet you where you are. Through Jesus, we’re able to have a relationship with God, which comes with some incredible benefits —  hope and healing for today and forever. 

4. This is a safe place. 

Sometimes, we feel like we have to get our stuff together before we can come to church. But one way God speaks to us, heals us, and comforts us is through His people. When you’ve experienced a trauma like rape, you need to connect with other Christians who love you and will walk through this with you. 

Healing happens as we bring the dark parts of our past into the light. One of Jesus’ close friends, John, describes how this works, writing, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).

When we keep what was done to us to ourselves, we give the hurt, the pain, and the shame the perfect place to grow, taking over our hearts like mold spores multiplying in darkness. To move forward requires us to open the door to our hearts, allowing Jesus and others to shed light on the sins committed against us and the lies we believed about them.  

Every Sunday in the Care Room, you’ll find staff and volunteers who are called and equipped to help you through hard times. If you need to talk with someone or pray with someone, come to the Care Room on Sunday or connect with someone here

If you have been raped or assaulted and have not reported it, or if you are in immediate danger, the best thing you can do is ask for help. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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