Driving home Friday night, I was scanning through the radio dials, as I’m wont to do during a 3600 miles drive over 8 days, and found a talk show where the host was talking about girls who had been raped and whether or not they were to be considered “damaged goods” by prospective boyfriends or not. The discussion moved into kids who were molested, and whether they were “damaged goods” or not.
It seems to me, as many said on the air, that using the term is pretty insensitive. Yes, rape and molestation victims have issues, and yes being in a relationship with them while they deal with those issues can be difficult and probably isn’t for everyone. But to say that they are “damaged” really betrays the belief that these people aren’t worth the trouble of dealing with those issues. On that front, people who use this term are dead wrong. People who have overcome being molested or raped are some of the strongest, most amazing people I have ever met. They are sensitive, caring, loving, and loyal to those who have helped them overcome it. Yes, we have issues, but so does everyone else! They just have different issues, a different set of baggage. Men who refuse to be in a relationship with a woman who’s been raped are simply not man enough to love that woman the way she needs. She might be damaged, but his inability to see past the rape into the beautiful person she can be is just as damaged.
On the other hand, and on a personal level, it’s incumbant on victims to overcome and not remain victims for the rest of their lives. It’s one thing to have some struggles and some hard times. It’s quite another to just accept them. I really want to be a whole person again, as much as I can be. I want to be able to give my wife the whole, healthy me, whatever that is. It may take me my whole life, but I don’t want my abuse to be an excuse for anything in our marriage to be anything less than the absolute best!