April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We live in a culture that dedicates a whole month to raising public awareness of the fact that our society is ravaged by sexual brutality. Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted and 44% of those victims are under the age of 18 (RAINN). Once again my generation is being hit with the consequences of fostering a culture of death. One third of my generation is gone due to abortion, hundreds of thousands are in forced or willing prostitution, and uncountable numbers are trapped in pornography addiction. The Sexual Awareness Month campaign’s goal is to open dialogue about preventing sexual assault, but it needs to be taken a step further. We need to go to the root of the problem: Surviving the fallout of a sexually broken culture.
In God’s perfect plan there is no sexual perversion or abuse, but our world is fallen and imperfect. We must regain what was lost: Our full sexual integrity. That can only happen through the redeeming mercy of Christ on the cross. There are two types of sexual defilement -- the violence of sexual trauma that comes from no fault of your own, and the consenting engagement of sexual sin, both of which have damaging consequences to our souls.
During my time on Survivors Campus Outreach, I heard a common theme as we traveled to many campuses. Almost every militant pro-abortion advocate I spoke with shared with me their personal stories of abuse and assault. Their vulnerability revealed the connection between sexual brokenness and high abortion rates among college age students. How do we combat sexual assault when it has become so commonplace that we are no longer astounded by its epidemic proportions?
I realize we must be the voice for Christ’s message of healing. But it is never as simple as that. On college campuses Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations are also reaching out to students, and often with the loudest voice. Their message reaffirms victimhood and states that healing and liberation comes in the form of more sex and more abortions. So many lies have been believed that when Survivors come onto campuses we are met with anger and pain. Showing pictures of abortion victims is the most glaring image of the consequences of sexual brokenness. The photographs of the babies’ broken bodies are the light that forces out the darkness, challenging us to confront the choices we have made as a society; choices like “no fault” divorce, sexual “liberation” and relativism. Now the question is, do we follow Planned Parenthood’s path of “healing” or do we follow God’s?
In John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, he explores how the human body expresses the person created in the image and likeness of God. “When my body suffers, I suffer. when it is hungry or thirsty, I hunger and thirst. When my lips form a smile or my hands reach out to embrace, I smile and embrace and others understand what I ‘say’ even if I have not uttered a word” (Eyck 7), so likewise when our bodies experience sexual defilement, our soul experiences it as well. How do we come back from such a loss of innocence?
Man and woman are not completely lost. Yes, our culture has been profoundly injured but, “God’s word and his fidelity are greater than their tragedy. No sin can eliminate the goodness of creation or the dignity of the human person, made in the and likeness of God” and, “The call to love He planted deep within man and woman is too great to be canceled by sin” (Eyck 7).
This message must be proclaimed “louder” than the ingrained lies of Planned Parenthood. The church must lead the charge to this counter-cultural message, and not just for one month out of twelve but all year. Redemption only comes from God. So, as the campaign to raise awareness about sexual assault continues, let’s follow God’s command to share Jesus’s redeeming love. We are called to love our neighbor. Honesty about our sexuality integrity begins to fulfill this call.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of despair, out of the miry bog,
and set my feet on solid ground, making my steps secure.
He has given me a new song to sing, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
Eyck, Katrina, and Michelle Borras. "The Body Reveals the Person." Called to Love: John Paul
II's Theology of Human Love. New Haven: Catholic Information Service, 2014. 7. Print.
Eyck, Katrina, and Michelle Borras. "Shame." Called to Love: John Paul
II's Theology of Human Love. New Haven: Catholic Information Service, 2014. 24. Print.
"Statistics | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network." Statistics | RAINN | Rape,
Abuse and Incest National Network. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.rainn.org/statistics>.