*** Warning – This post contains some graphic descriptions which may be offensive. My purpose in including the descriptions is not to offend, but to inform, so that the reader may know how to pray for and help “Jane Doe” and others like her. I place this warning at the beginning of the post, so that you have the option of closing this post before being offended. May the Lord bless each of you readers with His divine wisdom and understanding so that you can help those who have been broken by the evil acts of others. ***
Since hearing about the cruel and senseless rape of sixteen year old, “Jane Doe,” in Steubenville, Ohio, my heart has burned with anguish for the victim, who suffered this inexcusable rape. As if the pain of the rape wasn’t enough for this sixteen year old girl to bear, she has been shamed and blamed by her rapists, by the community of Steubenville, Ohio, and even by the news journalists as they mourned over the “two promising young men” whose lives were ruined by their guilty verdict. Since watching ABC’s 20/20 episode entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over, my heart burned with the following questions, which I’ve addressed in individual posts for each of the first six:
- What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
- What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
- Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
- Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
- When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined?
- How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
- How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
Tonight, I’d like to address the final question…
How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
One of the reasons the Steubenville Horror has aroused such anguish from me is not merely a matter of sympathy, but empathy instead. You see, it’s easy for me to imagine how this girl must feel, because I know how I felt when I was a little girl between eleven and thirteen and my stepfather, the man I called Daddy, did the same to me as those boys did to “Jane Doe.” I remember the fear and the horror, followed by the shame and embarrassment that followed, when I awoke from a nap to find my daddy sitting on the edge of my bed, with his fingers penetrating me beneath my robe. At first, I tried to pretend that I was asleep, hoping and praying that he would stop, but he continued his unwanted and uninvited probing, and as he leaned forward kissing my mouth, I opened my eyes and said, “No Daddy. Please stop.”
I praise God that He stopped my dad that day, before it went any farther, as he got up without a word, and walked out of my bedroom. I heard the garage door slam shut a few minutes later, and ran to peek out the window in time to see his little red Ford Falcon drive off. With my heart thumping wildly, I ran from the living room into Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, quickly grabbing their blue princess phone from the nightstand on the right of their bed, and listening carefully to make sure I didn’t hear him coming back, my shaking fingers dialed my mother’s number at work. My sister and I weren’t supposed to call Mommy at work unless it was an emergency, but I figured this was an emergency. What if he came back and killed me or something?
What happened to me was in a different time and place, but with some similar results. The blame for what happened was placed on my shoulders… If I had worn clothing under my robe, this wouldn’t have happened… If I told anyone, I would destroy the family… If I talked about it to my sister, it would hurt her, and I wouldn’t want to do that, would I?
There were all sorts of lies and cover-ups to protect the perpetrator, while I was left unprotected so that he could attack me again and again. Not only that, but all of the shame and the blame was placed squarely on my shoulders, much like “Jane Doe’s” perpetrators and the citizens of Steubenville have tried to do to her. I share this with you not to gain your pity, because praise God, I’ve overcome the shame and the pain of my past. I merely shared a piece of my past with you so that you will understand that when I answer the question, How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?, I am speaking from my own personal experience, and I know what works and what doesn’t work.
One of the ways for “Jane Doe” to pick up the pieces is to know the truth.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32 NLT ~
There have been a lot of rumors and lies circulating about “Jane Doe” since the night of her attack. She’s heard lies from her rapists, lies from other teens who attended the parties and lies from adults who have placed the blame for the attack on her shoulders. She’s heard people speculating that if she hadn’t done this, then her attackers wouldn’t have done that. She’s heard others speculate that if she had only done this, then her attackers would have done something else. And here’s the sad fact about most victims of crimes like this:
Victims tend to blame themselves for the crimes committed against them.
When you combine this natural tendency to blame yourself for an attack against your person, along with the accusations from her attackers, friends and adults, the weight of that blame becomes a heavy burden for anyone to bear — let alone a sixteen year old girl. That’s why it’s so important for this girl to know the truth, so that she won’t begin to self-destruct, as so many victims do. She needs to know the truth not only about what happened that night, but she also needs to know the truth about who she really is.
You’ve heard the lies and the names people have labeled her with. She already feels terrible about what happened, and like I said before, she’s probably blaming herself for what happened to her. This is why it is vital for her to know the truth about who she really is.
I’ve been to Christian counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists, and my recommendation for “Jane Doe” would be to receive counseling from a Christian counselor, who can assist her in knowing who she is in Christ. You see, in Christ, people like “Jane Doe” and me are no longer victims, and we’re not merely survivors just hanging on. In Christ, we are victorious. In Christ, we are overcomers. In Christ, we are blameless. In Christ, we are no longer rejected, we are chosen. These are important truths that “Jane Doe” needs to know in order to pick up the pieces and move on with her life.
Another reason for “Jane Doe” to receive Christian counseling is so that she can talk about what happened to her. Too often, people try to hide what happened by ignoring it. This will lead to nothing but anxiety and emotional pain for “Jane Doe,” and she’s already suffered enough. Her perpetrators tried to silence “Jane Doe” to hide their own sin, and it only caused her more pain. She needs to talk about what happened. She needs to talk about her role in what happened, and the roles of everyone else involved. It is only when she is able to speak the truth openly, out loud, that she will begin to overcome the lies and the pain.
“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears, shout from the housetops for all to hear! Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.”
~ Matthew 10:26-31 NLT ~
By speaking the truth about what was done to her out loud, she will overcome her tormentors, who tried to destroy her.
Lord, I cry out to You for “Jane Doe.” Father, continue to minister to her, and draw her close into Your loving arms. Father, please set her free from the sin and the pain that have come together to destroy her. Lord, Your word says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, and I pray, in Jesus’ name, that You would give “Jane Doe” life more abundantly. Save her, Lord and heal her in Jesus’ name, amen.
Cheryl A. Showers
- Steubenville Horror – Heartless? (burningfireshutinmybones.wordpress.com)
- Steubenville Horror – Warning! (burningfireshutinmybones.wordpress.com)
- Steubenville Horror – My Brother’s and My Sister’s Keeper (burningfireshutinmybones.wordpress.com)
- Steubenville Horror – Where Are The Parents? (burningfireshutinmybones.wordpress.com)
- Steubenville Horror – Does Anybody Really Care? (burningfireshutinmybones.wordpress.com)
- Steubenville Horror – Who’s fault is it anyway? (burningfireshutinmybones.wordpress.com)