“Why does God hate me?” “How can I believe in a God who has allowed my suffering?” These are just two of the difficult spiritual questions that survivors of child sexual abuse struggle with. In addition, survivors often have mixed feelings about the church because of perceived judgment and indifference, their own shame, or their discomfort with certain aspects of worship. Of the many after-effects of sexual abuse, spiritual wounds are the least talked about, yet they are central to adult survivors who seek to heal and find faith and meaning in their lives. With grace and gentleness, this book seeks to answer survivors’ spiritual questions and address some of the common misconceptions that often develop when young victims attempt to understand what has happened to them. Healing the Ravaged Soul explores the origins of their spiritual issues with clear psychological insights and guides survivors on a spiritual journey toward healing, wholeness, and a deeper relationship with God.
1. “How Long, O Lord?” Exploring the Long-Term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse
2. Why Does God Hate Me?
3. “When I Was a Child …”: The Impact of Child Sexual Abuse on Spiritual Development
4. “Lord, Help My Unbelief”: Obstacles on the Path to Faith
5. Am I Going to Hell? Part 1
6. Am I Going to Hell? Part 2
7. Is My Abuser Going to Hell?
8. Will the Real God Please Stand Up? Exploring Images of God
9. “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”: A Discussion on Suffering
10. “Where Can I Get This Living Water?”: Finding Hope, Transformation, and Meaning
Appendix A: Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Appendix B: Recommended Reading
Endorsements and Reviews
With sensitivity, compassion, and understanding, the author shines a light of hope for those who as children have suffered the worst violations of body, mind, and spirit. She is not afraid to tackle the big theological questions and does so with honesty, humility, and insight. Survivors and those who accompany them will find in these pages refreshing images and rituals for healing and the restoration of wholeness.
Suzanne Seaton, MSW, Spiritual Director