Spiritual Non-Fiction posted December 5, 2017 Chapters: -Prologue- 1... 

This work has reached the exceptional level

A chapter in the book Beauty for Ash and Stone


by MelB

The author has placed a warning on this post for sexual content.
If you've picked up this book, it's likely you know someone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault or you have been sexually abused. Please know you are not alone. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. On average, there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States.

The American Psychological Association defines sexual abuse as unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Most victims and perpetrators know each other. Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear or disbelief. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The abused person you know may think they are fine or you may believe you're handling it without any repercussions. Physical effects after assault may include: bruising, bleeding, soreness, difficulty walking, broken or dislocated bones, sexually transmitted diseases and infection, or pregnancy.

Mental effects may include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts; depression, including prolonged sadness, feelings of hopelessness, unexplained crying, weight loss or gain, loss of energy or interest in activities previously enjoyed; suicidal thoughts or attempts; dissociation, including not being able to focus on work or on schoolwork, as well as not feeling present in everyday situations. If you or someone you know is suicidal, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Emotional effects may include changes in trusting others, anger and blame, shock, numbness, loss of control, disorientation, helplessness, sense of vulnerability, fear, self-blame/guilt for "allowing" it to happen, or feeling that these reactions are a sign of weakness.

Other circumstances can develop after being sexually assaulted or raped. A survivor may develop a negative outlook and feel "damaged" or unworthy of a better life. Drug or alcohol abuse may also become an issue as a way to cope with the overwhelming feelings. Women may also have trouble with their menstrual cycle and fertility. In addition, survivors may also experience chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle tension, involuntary shaking, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, or sexual dysfunction.

The above list is not exhaustive, and you may be experiencing something other than listed above. Every survivor responds in their own way to the trauma they have experienced, whether it happened once or numerous times. The symptoms can be mild or severe, and short-term or long-term.

If you are keeping the abuse a secret, I urge you to seek help through a counselor and/or sexual abuse support group. The symptoms will continue and become worse, until the trauma has been acknowledged and worked through. The path of healing can be a long and difficult process, but if you are willing to do the work, it is possible. I know, because like you, I am a survivor -- and I've found healing.

This devotional book is not meant to be the primary source of your healing, but a single tool used in conjunction with other resources as you seek counseling and/or a sexual abuse support group. It is intended to be read from the first to the last page, but you may find that you want to go to the problem or emotion you are dealing with listed at the top of the page and found in the contents list.

As you work through this book, may you find answers, comfort, healing, peace, and most of all -- hope. You are not alone, my friend. I'll be here walking down the road with you. I'm thinking of you and praying for your ash and stone to be replaced with beauty.


Melissa Brown


I'm writing a Christian devotional book for survivors of sexual abuse to use while going through counseling/support group. Looking for thoughts, and help as I work through, particularly from anyone who is a survivor of sexual abuse. If there isn't enough interest, I will pull it. Thank you!
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