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Advice for Pastors in Caring for Victims of Sexual Assault

  • Justin Holcomb
  • Jun 8, 2011
  • Categories: Counseling

Justin Holcomb and his wife, Lindsey, wrote Rid of My Disgrace, a book for victims of sexual assault. Church planters should assume that 1 in 5 of their congregants is suffering or has suffered as a victim of sexual assault – and be prepared to counsel and care for those hurting with the hope of the gospel.

Here's the stats Justin quoted for you think about as you look out over your people:

  • 10-14% of marriages are dealing with sexual assault
  • 1 in 4 women are victims of sexual assault
  • 1 in 6 men are victims of sexual assault 
  • 10% of children have experienced incest (not just sexual assault)
  • 16-19 year old girls are 4 times more likely than the general population to be assaulted
  • 80% of sexual assault victims are under 30 years old
  • 15-20% of victims are under the age of 12

In this interview with Desiring God, Justin gives a good overview of his book, and specifically addresses questions geared to help pastors in caring for victims. The whole piece is 75 minutes long, and we have outlined main questions and topics so you can find specific information below.

Rid of My Disgrace Interview Outline – WATCH IT HERE

The Book:

  • Author & Book Background: 2:10
  • The Big Idea of the Book: 4:15
  • Defining Sexual Assault: 5:25

The Victim:

  • Over and Under Reporting: 9:15
  • Emotional/Psychological/Spiritual Effects of Sexual Assault: 11:10
  • Prevalence of Sexual Assault (statistics): 14:45
  • Why We Don’t Talk About It: 17:20
  • The Importance of Acknowledging Sexual Assault: 19:45
  • The Book’s Message to the Victim: 23:00
  • Key Findings and Frustrations in Non-Christian Research on Sexual Assault: 24:40
  •   Findings: Self-Blame & Care Techniques: 25:10
  •   Frustrations: Bad Advice to Victims: 26:10
  •   Frustrations: Self Help Approaches are Actually Cruel: 29:00
  • Advice for Victims Who've Never Shared Their Story: 31:20 

The Pastors, Friends and Family:

  • Pastoral Care for Victims of Sexual Assault: 39:15
  • Applying the Gospel to a Victim’s Story: 42:00
  • What You Should Not Say to Victims: 47:10
  • What You Should Say to Victims: 50:10
  • The Signs of Sexual Assault: 51:53
  • Questions to Ask: 53:35
  • Specific Ways Pastors, Friends and Family Can Help: 55:20
  • Helping When the Victim is a Child: 59:40

The Perpetrator:

  • What Does the Gospel Say to Perpetrators?: 1:01:20
  • Consequences & Reconciliation for Perpetrators: 1:03:13
  • The Pharisee’s Prayer – Beware Self Righteousness: 1:04:30

In Closing:

  • What Forgiveness and Reconciliation Look Like: 1:05:30
  • Gospel Application Paradigm for Victims of Other Sins: 1:10:30

If you'd like to hear more on this topic from Justin, he also taught a workshop at the Seattle 2010 Boot Camp – you can listen here.