I am a sexual assault victim's advocate in Texas. The one constant that I see on a regular basis is the undying need to believe that a god has protected the victim from death, or somehow povided a cell phone to call for help. Of course when I'm at he hospital with the victim and their family, I keep quiet and remember that this is not the time or place for a theological discussion or debate. I do not participate in their prayers, but I do not act negatively to them either. Some call this backwashing, I call it keeping the victim priority #1, to me this is a very tender and emotionally charged event that needs the support of love, kindness, and a non threatening enviroment.

However, when I give speeches on the topic of sexual violence (rape, incest, molestation, etc), I am often hit with the questionable statements of "Thank God you survived that"; "Thank God your father went to prison"; "Thank God you turned out alright"; or my favorite "You have been truly blessed with all God has given you". I often here other survivors of sexual assault who go on about how they couldn't have got through it without 'God' being there for them. Do you think it's possible that some human minds are so indocdrinated that it is virtually impossible to allow room for giving oneself some credit for recovering? Can you imagine how great things could be if people did allow their mind to say "Hey, that was horrible, but what am "I" going to do to help myself?" I find it odd that any rational human can give thanks to something without acknowledging that this entity was there and watched for a little while before allowing an escape or allowed the perpetrator to stop the crime (if he/she didn't kill you first). This must lead you to question the little babies we see raped and murdered on Tv. What horrid plan does on need to have that would include the torture and murder of our most innocent?

I would like to start adding atheism to my speeches, not in a combative way, but in a way to let people know they are strong enough to recover without the need for a sadistic entity. I have been told I'm angry at 'god' for allowing my crime to happen, and that is the furtherest thing from the truth! It's hard to hate what I truly believe doesn't exist. I was an opportunity that came along, I do not believe I was turned away by any god. But, to believe there is a god means you have to believe that it feels some people should suffer great trauma and death; regardless of the victim's innocense. This tells me that even if there were a god, it would not be worthy of the praise it get's.

Does anyone have any thoughts on my speeches? How do you think it could impact the population to give their self credit for healing?

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Comment by mrs kelligurl on August 24, 2009 at 8:01pm
Oh thank you guys! Everyone has very good input, and excellent points to bring up. I am also a soldier and Dr. Meaden brought up something we hear very often. "Thank God you made it back alive!" Which leaves me wandering 'did your god say to hell with the other almost 5, 000 soldiers who have been killed?' And yes, I'm sadly convinced that some will never have an open ear or mind to reason. My minister Uncle (1 of them) asked me if my daughter was gravely ill and had cancer, if I wouldn't pray? My answer was absolutely not, that's time wasted I could be getting the information for the best onocologist available, and any transfusion type plans ready (i.e. bone marrow, blood, organs, etc and who is or isn't a compatable donor). I have been in life or death situations, and I can honestly say I didn't pray 1 single time; I relied on my training, skills, and determination to go home and raise my daughter! Nobody's god had anything to do with that!

Corey said something I feel, though I can't really say so with my speeches; but yes, if the god of the Bible were real I feel it would be worthy of a public execution for crimes against humanity, just to start off with! **high fives** back to ya!

Sarah, I'm very sorry for your loss. I don't know how long it's been, but it sounds like you've grown a lot from it. You're right it does ultimately depend on us for our own growth and development. To me some people are professional victims, and some people are life changers.

Smiling Eyes, I love your take on this! Your calm reason to ignore the 'god' aspect is wonderful. I had been doing some of it without realizing it, but not like you laid out. When I'm not in a setting that requires a level of emotional control needed to perform correctly, I'm not as sensitive. But maybe because I'm in the military and every function it seems we have a prayer, chapel function, or even better 'EO sensitivity classes' on the oppression of Christians in the military! I get angry, I just have to control it because I don't want to loose focus on the topic and sexual assault since it is an emotionally charged subject. Your redirect sounds awesome. Maybe if I can plant a seed of doubt that have people walking away asking themselves questions on the ride home---would be great and possibly enough to give them another view point!

Thanks again everyone! :0)
Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on August 24, 2009 at 3:55pm
Very often the sole survivor of a multi pile-up car crash goes around thanking the imaginary god for saving him or her, while overlooking that if 'goddidit' the same god chose to kill the others.
As for saving lives in the operating theatre, its the surgeons that did it, not some invisible god. But the believers will never listen to reason.
Comment by Corey Garrison on August 24, 2009 at 3:42pm
"if there were a god, it would not be worthy of the praise it get's." yes, 100%. if the being(s) know as "god" was real and was capable of everything in the religious teachings then there is no possible way i would look to he,she,it or they as something higher than myself. i would instead hate and plot against them for the horrible things they have done. good thing we all know gods are fake, eh? :P *high-five*
Comment by Sarah Doli on August 24, 2009 at 11:58am
I think that you are going to have an uphill battle on this, because of the "I am Second" campaign. To turn someone from thoughts of "Thank God for" this or that or my sports team, or "God has a plan for" so-and-so is very difficult. I spent many years being mad at God after my dad died when I was seven, until it dawned on me that God and the universe could not care less that I was mad. Which led to the epiphany that there is no god and the universe is not all knowing.

Trying to empower someone to recognize their own strengths and achievements is damned fine work. And one thing that keeps coming to mind for me, after reading your post, is that saying that, "God helps those that help themselves." I, of course think it's crap, however, there is a way to remind the people that you help that they are making the effort and are ultimately responsible for their own survival and growth.



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