The negative emotional consequences for young women who plan on saving themselves for marriage, and have that taken from them – in my case and others mentioned (or) that very beautiful gift – paraded about all but on a sign – stealing part of her own being away from her, can be devastating.
I was raised to be a young lady. I wore dresses straight through most of middle school, was taught that men would open doors, pull out chairs, and drop me off by the door – especially in inclement weather. Because I was a girl. I wasn’t allowed to go to the barns or race track (dad was an owner/trainer/driver of harness horses) because young ladies did not belong there. If we went out to dinner I liked to pay the bill for daddy, if the cash register was out of sight or in the bar – dad was literally right behind me. When I was old enough for “the talk” about “men-stu-a-tion” (does anyone else remember those film strips? Aging myself I know), there was a little talk at home about this being part of the bodies process to make a girl ready to have a baby, but that was for marriage. That was for someone special. No real details from mom. At some point I learned she had her first son when she was fifteen and her wish for me to remain a virgin and pure until I met the love of my life and married. Virginity was a gift from God, God wanted me to wait until I got married and that gift was for my husband. Where I went, who I was with was mostly monitored closely.
I had no intention of having sex before I was married. I wanted to wait to share that mystery with my future husband. I was taught to dress modestly, act like a young lady and respect my body. I shared in my essay on Abortion Perspective of a Pro-Life Mom, that at the age of seventeen (just be high school graduation!) I was raped by the older cousin of my then boyfriend. I also shared that I did not share this with any adults.
My best friend and I were also in a car accident shortly after this happened, bruises that were seen were attributed to that. Because this was so close to graduation I have a photo or two that shows a black eye, it does not show the bruised inner thighs (no shorts for weeks) from my rape. I prized my virginity and – I think that was a good thing “but” after being raped . . . I was devastated. My virginity was such a large part of my identity that I was shattered and broken. I felt shattered and broken. I spiraled down – terribly. Eventually – marrying a man who would abuse me emotionally, spiritually and physically over twenty years.
Talking to one of my best friends, who incidentally is also the gal who also had a mother who told her she wished she had aborted her, also lost her virginity to rape. A co-worker who drove her home after a company party. She too said no, No, NO.
Statistics show varying numbers. Having conversations with woman and young women my sons have dated, sexual violence and rape is happening to a larger number of the population than we will ever know.
Why? Like domestic violence, we are ashamed. Somehow, we think it is our fault. We were not “good enough”.
I remember reading an article last year, when I was still on Facebook I even shared it. It was the story of a young woman who had partaken in a vow of purity with her father. Promising to remain a virgin until marriage.
Setting her up for failure? Stats on sexual abuse and rape mixed with might have set her up to crash. Be sure to use the right words and teach the correct lessons. Don‘t expect a child to take a purity vow to their father. Raise healthy kids.
She shared how this defined her. She was used as a role model. Everyone knew she was a virgin. Her wedding night, after making love with her husband for the first time, losing her virginity – included her spending the following two hours curled in a ball crying inconsolably in the bathroom – instead of snuggled closely to the love of her life. She felt shame. She felt like everyone knew she was a virgin, now she no longer was.
In her mind everyone was going to stare at her when they next saw her because she was no longer a virgin. The truth was, people would now simply look at her as a married woman. What was inside her mind was something else. She suffered terribly for two years before opening up to her husband, who then went into therapy with her.
At the end of the article we learned she was doing well, her marriage that was close to being torn apart over her secret fears and imaginary inadequacies, was closer than they imagine possible and they were enjoying a very healthy physical and emotional relationship.
I have spoken to numerous other women over the years. There have been a number who suffered date rape, molestation, by male family members (one impregnated by her father), adult family friends. I also have knowledge of someone who’s parent prostituted her for a Heroin fix.
Considering the devastation loosing ones’ virginity or having your body violated by a man is, something really has to be considered in these days when we are to have compassion, understanding and love for everyone. We don’t all stand up and wave a flag and say “help me, I was raped, I am broken inside”. Many, many do not.
In my own experience – well, it took decades for me to realize the damage that was done not only to my body -but to my heart, my soul, my spirit that night. The fallout was severe. It is for so many of us. Beware of making judgements on the behavior of young ladies, or young men (as they are raped too).
True love waits. I believe it does. However, that love may or may not be a virgin. Remember to honor and respect each other. Value Purity of Heart. Jesus did.