November 2011. The former Defensive Coordinator for the Penn State University football team, Jerry Sandusky, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting 8 young boys over a 15-year period. Much of the news has revolved around the subsequent firing of the legendary football coach Joe Paterno and a TV interview with Sandusky. But we believe that the focus should be on the victims of sexual abuse.

According to a 1998 Boston University School of Medicine report:

• One in four girls is sexually abused before the age of fourteen.
• One in six boys is sexually abused before the age of sixteen.

And so we pray this news . . .

For Peace after Sexual Assault

Loving God, I know that you hold me in the palm of your hand.
I know it is so.
But why, O Lord, why?
I rage at this sin against me, at this defilement of my body,
this assault on my peace of mind.

I mourn my lost serenity, security, confidence;
I mourn the loss of my ease and open nature.
I hate what this assault has done to me.
I feel that my body and soul may never be the same.
What has been forced upon me may not be forgotten.
But send your healing upon me like cool rain.
Soothe my spirit with the balm of your tender love.
Help me to feel secure again, as safe as ever within the shelter
of the Lord.

Let my anger not turn inward to self-loathing,
but outward for action and purpose: to help others like me,
to bring hope to those whose faith is not so strong.
Help me, with your grace,
to move beyond victim, to call myself survivor instead.

May you forgive this man's offense against me,
and grant me the peace and serenity
of a mind and body made whole again.

— Julia Park Rodrigues
from Women's Uncommon Prayers edited by Elizabeth Rankin Geitz, Marjorie A. Burke, Ann Smith

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