Margaret Schrader has written the attached article about the effect of Sexual Abuse on Women’s Naming and Experiencing of God, offering some resources for Spiritual Directors working with women who have been abused.
Margaret is also taking a workshop on this topic in Wellington
Lament – Listening – healing Seminar
13-14 September More on this here
Some snippets from Margaret’s Paper ….
Much is spoken of the effects of sexual abuse these days, particularly its effect on the body and mind of the victim. This paper will address the way it affects women’s spiritual life, their naming of God, and the ways they relate to God, and others, and to themselves. In this context, we will listen to women’s stories, explore some theological and spiritual writings, and look at ways we, as spiritual directors, can help a person come to a new place in God…
…Sexual abuse wounds not only the body and the mind but the very core of the person, the part of us that defines who each one is, the part that we call spirit, the part that longs for union with the One who is love and mercy. Many who have been abused find that they are afraid and unable to open themselves to God as partner in the healing because they are so damaged…
What then is the effect on sexually abused women whose healing is tied up in their acceptance of their womanhood and their sexuality and their power to take control of their own lives? What if they have been brought up with the primary image of God as male who, however loving, is often strong, judging, and demanding of our obedience?
As a woman I have to ask why it is that human beings honour a God whose most important attribute is power, whose prime need is to subjugate, whose greatest fear is equality … Why should we love and honour a God who does not transcend but only reaffirms the moral level of our male dominated culture? (p. 97).Dorothee Soelle writes in The Strength of the Weak: