Finding Healing after Rape
By Jan Martinez
I awoke with a knife at my neck and the palpable pounding of a rapist’s heart on my chest. In the aftermath, it became clear that the rapist had not only violated my body, but also my mind, my heart, my very life. Having had my life spared, the death of all I held dear soon began.
Before that night, I would have told you I was a 26-year-old, single, altruistic (non-Christian) woman, who was attempting to save the world through work with the Indian Health Service. I was applying to medical school and was soon going to marry a wonderful man.
After that night, I couldn’t have told you who I was. I was terrified to live. Pain swamped me while depression set in. Just surviving was agony. I couldn’t figure out how to live with the consuming pain inside of me. Nothing took it away. Suicide was terrifyingly attractive.
As a last ditch effort, I sought healing in the church. Considering that I had been rather hostile to Christianity in the past, it was nothing short of desperation for me to consider finding help in a church. When a dear friend of mine heard of this quest for spiritual help, she took me aside one day and asked. “Jan, why do you think God wanted you raped?” I froze. What?! God wanted me raped? I slammed the church door shut. I was too horrified to knock again.
But her question plagued me. Did God cause rape? How could anyone believe in such a God? Somehow God must be different than that! There must be some hope in this world. Too desperate to do otherwise, I begged God to prove to me that He was something other than my friend implied. Vowing never to talk with another Christian, I agreed to read through His Bible and search for His Truth. If I couldn’t find hope, I knew I wouldn’t live much longer. There was no way I could, no reason to.
And so I opened a Bible to Genesis 1 and began working my way through the Scriptures. Patiently He showed me His rape laws in Leviticus, His rod and staff in the valley of death, and His complete compassion for me as a victim as He bound up my broken heart. I found a merciful Lord who wept over sin and death, but allowed life’s consequences to draw His people to Him. With His tender guidance, I found biblical characters who endured slimy pits far worse than mine, and who were rescued from overwhelming enemies.
The Lord’s vengeance toward unrepentant offenders allowed my anger and fear to become less and less necessary. By the time I got to 1 Peter 2:24 “by My wounds you are healed,” I had fallen in love with the Lord. Now I could not live without Him. He was my lifeline. The “peace that surpasses understanding” was mine for the asking. I had found my answer, my Savior.
With His guidance and my determination to be obedient to Him at all costs, I became a psychotherapist in order to “comfort those in trouble with the same comfort I had received.” I saw patients for 18 years in private practice and at Christ Clinic, a volunteer medical clinic for the working poor in Spokane, Washington, He guided me to found a Christ-centered ministry for job training and discipleship to homeless women in Spokane called Christ Kitchen. I married that wonderful man who stood lovingly by me through the dark years and we’ve adopted two beautiful children from Korea, now 14 and 11 years old. Our family has served in short-term medical missions in Kenya, Nepal and Vietnam. My passion is to bring His Word of Life to a dark and hurting world.
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