Healing After #metoo

  1. Share
2 0

As you watch a flood of #MeToo tags come through your social media feed, what is your reaction? Maybe you feel sick to your stomach, need some time to let the grief wash over you, or experience a rush of anger. Me too. How does something that is so hidden and pervasive finally come to light after decades of colluding in silence? I celebrate that women (and men) who have been told to be quiet can finally speak their pain out loud. 

My hope and prayer is that #MeToo doesn’t end with the boldness to speak of what has happened to us. But that in time we also begin to use a similar hashtag representing that we have been healed and redeemed. Coming into the light is just the first step of God’s work in our lives.

The tidal wave of sexual exploitation in our world will not subside until we recognize sexuality as a great spiritual battlefield. It is sadly ironic that some of the same people decrying sexual abuse are leaders in Hollywood who create countless films that objectify women and present sexual pleasure as a commodity traded as freely as baseball cards. This cavalier and humanistic attitude toward sexuality, pornography, and the “hook up” culture are clearly propagating the tragedy highlighted with the hashtag #metoo.

What to do with Humpty Dumpty

The nursery rhyme is familiar to us.

Humpty-Dumpty sat on the wall

Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall

All of the king’s horses and all the king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again

How many women and men have I met who feel exactly this way as a result of the sexual exploitation they have experienced? Below the veneer of self-confidence and independence lie shattered pieces of purity, identity, innocence and trust. Even an army of psychiatrists and counselors (all the king’s men) fail to erase the shame, the memories, the anger, and the brokenness. Many survivors spend a lifetime trying to escape the dark messages written on the soul during brief moments of violation. As you're reading all of the #MeToo stories online, or even sharing your own, can you relate? 

A Surprising Healer

As a Christian psychologist, I am thankful for recent advances in our understanding of the impact of trauma on the brain. Counseling and medical intervention can help, but they can never heal. It is why I am passionate about exalting the ONE, who came to bring healing to all of those who have been oppressed, victimized, and abused.

At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus quoted a prophecy from Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

Because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

To proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,

To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion –

To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,

The oil of gladness instead of mourning,

And a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair,

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

A planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3

Pointing to this ancient passage, Jesus declared this as the purpose of His Incarnation. He came to bring a great exchange: exchanging ashes for beauty, mourning with gladness, and despair with praise.

Beside this passage in the margin of my Bible I have written, “This is your call on my life. July 2011.” This was the passage the Lord gave me while on my knees, before knowing that I would start a ministry to women (and later, men). This is why Jesus came to the earth and also why He prompted me and Linda Dillow to found Authentic Intimacy.

While posting of your experience with sexual abuse is bold and purposeful, if it stops there it offers no hope. We want to tell you clearly, you are not alone and there is hope. Jesus is the God who sees your pain, who hears your cries in the night, the God of all comfort, and the One who can bind up your broken heart. He can release you from the prison of your sin and the darkness of your shame. Celebrities online, women of Hollywood, Christian leaders, and all of our dear friends, He has “been there.” Why did the God of the universe suffer abuse, ridicule, and torture at the hands human beings? So that He would be the “man of sorrows, acquainted with our grief,” identifying with us in our deepest pain.

One of the names of God is “Jehovah Rapha” which means “the Lord who heals you.” Unfortunately, many Christians do not acknowledge God as the Healer of our sexual brokenness. The unspoken lie we believe is that sexuality is beyond God’s ability to heal, to redeem, and to restore. God has been gracious to bring many men and women across my path whose lives declare that God is the Healer of all brokenness, including within our sexuality. The book Surprised by the Healer gives an intimate portrait of nine real women who suffered abuse, betrayal, shame, and sexual pain but have discovered profound healing through the Lord Jesus Christ.

If the hashtag #MeToo grieves you, don't stop there. It's time to be Surprised by the Healer.

Follow Up Podcast Episodes from Dr. Juli Slattery*:

#138- My Long Journey of Healing from Childhood Abuse

#154- Healing Doesn't Happen Overnight

#169- Your Wounded Heart


*Accessing these may require a membership to Authentic Intimacy.

Community tags

This content has 0 tags that match your profile.

Topics I'm Interested In


To leave a comment, login or sign up.

Related Content

Reader's Corner: "Understanding Sexual Abuse" by Tim Hein
My first response after reading this book was,“This guy doesn’t waste a word!” In 182 pages, Tim Hein addresses some of the most pressing and complex issues related to childhood sexual abuse, while also sharing from his own journey. Tim's official role is that of minister at Malvern Uniting Church and the director of discipleship at Uniting College in Australia. More importantly, both Tim and his wife, Priscilla, are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  The focus of this book is to help Christian leaders have a practical understanding of how to minister to sexual abuse survivors. The author doesn’t try to make you an expert but provides a thorough overview of what will equip you to be a compassionate source of healing and advocacy for this often overlooked population. I have read 300-page books that cover the topics of each one of his chapters. Tim does a phenomenal job of selecting and clearly communicating the most essential components of understanding brain trauma, becoming a safe place to disclose, the journey of healing, and the complexity of forgiveness and justice. Through his personal story of anguish and recovery, Tim guides the reader in navigating questions like, “Why would a good God have allowed this suffering?” and “Is it wrong to want revenge?”  What I love the most about this book is the author’s consistent approach toward integration. For a survivor of sexual abuse, integration is a powerful word because healing involves the integration of the abuse experience within a person’s sense of self and life story. It is significant that Tim Hein models different aspects of integration throughout this small, powerful resource.    The integration of theology and psychology. Most Christian books about sexual trauma have a clunky relationship between psychology and the Scriptures. The authors often seem to be working too hard to make one fit the other (or they allow one to dominate at the expense of the other.) Tim’s knowledge of trauma science is evident and seems to seamlessly flow with his intimate knowledge of God as his Healer and Redeemer. Without saying it, Tim models a beautiful integration of God’s power revealed in Scripture, creation, and healing personal relationships.    The integration of his story with teaching. Each chapter begins with a vignette from Tim or Priscilla’s healing journey, without sugar coating the pain and struggle of the personal road of recovery. Then at some point in each chapter, Tim “looks the reader in the eye” and gives wise counsel on how to learn from his experience. Many Christian leaders shy away from telling their stories, particularly their struggles to forgive, their anger, and their depression. They fear that telling the raw and messy truth of their journey may invalidate them as leaders. Others get so lost in their own pain that they miss the opportunity to teach others from what they’ve experienced. Tim strikes a beautiful balance of modeling Henri Nouwen’s “Wounded Healer.”    The integration of theory and practical application. There is a certain amount of science and theology a person must understand to know how to compassionately respond to childhood sexual abuse. For example, it’s critical to know why a person may recall a memory of abuse twenty years after it happened. And understanding a basic theology of suffering will keep you from panicking when asked a question about God’s goodness. But all of that information will not ultimately equip you to know how to respond when someone’s life is falling apart in the wake of sexual abuse. Tim gives you the basics you need to know from respected scientific and theological scholars, but he never gets lost in the weeds of theory. He quickly moves to practical applications like what to do when someone discloses abuse to you and the importance of avoiding simplistic sermons about complex topics like forgiveness.  Understanding Sexual Abuse* is one that I will keep on my bookshelf and gladly recommend to any Christian who wants to be equipped to minister to this vulnerable population.    What to Watch Next: Why Christian Leaders Must Understand Sexual Trauma, Ask Anything: Interview with Tim Hein   *This is an affiliate link. AI may earn referral fees from qualifying purchases.