Joshua Meribole–Staff Writer
On, September 28-29, the Dordt College hosted Healing the Wounded heart Conference.
It wasn’t packed and not many Dordt students attended the conference, but there were many people from the community.
Organized by Dordt College, Sioux Center Christian School and Bethesda Counseling, the event has good timing
The #Metoo movement is worldwide and the debate on Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s allege sexual misconducted is being battled out in the media. Just as the conference was going on a good friend of mine posted on Facebook about his own experience with sexual abuse, which made what was being said even more personal to me.
Going to the Healing the Wounded heart Conference brought new light and understand to me regarding sexual assault and abuse, especially why it may take years for victim to come out about their experiences.
The speakers—Dr. Dan Allender and Wendell Moss—explained the consequences of sexual assault and abuse and how it affects its victims. Dr. Allender has been doing work on trauma and abuse for 30 years. The topic, though very difficult to listen to, was very informative. The speakers dove deep into sexual assault and how its victims are impacted many years after the abuse.
The discussion contained heartbreaking stories and definitions of various psychological and biological terms that were at times difficult to understand. Despite that, the talk was easy to follow.
The best thing about the talk for me was that it gave a glimpse into the experiences of people who have been sexually abuse or assaulted. They didn’t mince words or circle the wagons. They were direct. There were several moments when I felt uneasy and uncomfortable, like when they dove into the complex and conflicting emotions that someone who has been violated experience. They also showed a glimpse of how people can begin to help their friends and family members who have been abused.
During the talk both speakers discussed how sexual abuse affects the victims in relation to faith, hope, and love. The impact on faith has to do with the loss of trust and one’s inability to rest, hope becomes a sense of powerlessness or “loss of purpose and capacity to perverse,” and love turns to people feeling ashamed and a “loss of Intimacy and capacity for joy.”
The truth is the that conference brought me face to face with my own ignorance on the topic. Sure, I know the statistics of sexual abuse, but to learn about what people experience was a whole different side. For example, they mentioned how a victim’s memory fragments. This means that a victim may not be able to remember fully what happened due to memory gaps.
They gave insight into what happens if our friends have been sexually abused and how we can understand. As Christians, we often react to trauma and negative life experiences by saying that’s “all in God’s plan.” Instead, we should do our best to understand and show empathy.