Search

To Sexual Abuse Victims: God Does Not Fault You, and Neither Should You

It is simply by God’s grace that I can say that I have never been sexually abused or have suffered any kind of trauma caused by another person mistreating me sexually. There is nothing that I have done to make me worthy of being spared of such experiences. All that to say, I understand that it is very common for those who have been sexually abused to struggle with feelings of guilt. They might struggle with the though that it was somehow their fault or they could have done more to prevent it, or fought harder against their abuser, or scream louder to call for help. In any case, it is not uncommon for those who have been sexually abused to feel that it was somehow their fault. In many cases, those who have been sexually abused as children will feel guilty as adults over the fact that they experienced some level of physical pleasure from the abuse (before realizing what was happening to them was abusive).


The message in this article is specifically for those who have been abused and struggle with guilt and shame, and for those who knows and cares for someone who does. Bottom line is: IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. This isn’t just me saying this as my opinion, rather it is the Word of God that makes it very clear that those who have been abused are not guilty of any sin in those circumstances.


One thing to realize about sexual abuse is that is grossly misuses the four purposes for sex that God designed. It is a misuse of the Pleasure purpose, in that abuse and rape are not consensual and there is not a mutuality of pleasure (physical and/or emotional) between the two parties. It is an obvious misuse of the Love purpose by not properly reflecting the selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love of God. It misuses the Unity purpose of sex in that there is no desire for the abuser/rapist to want to be eternally committed to the victim in a way that reflects the relationship between Christ and His Church. Lastly, it is a misuse of the multiplying purpose of sex because the abuser/rapist has no desire or commitment to potentially raise the child with their victim in a committed way and that is pleasing to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 22:25-27

25 “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die.

26 But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case.

27 “When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her.[1]

The context of this passage comes in a section of God giving the Law of Moses to the Israelites. This specific section is where God makes it very clear as to which circumstances of adultery are punishable by death a wife who lies about her virginity to her husband and a man who has sex with a married woman.

It Was Not Consensual

25 “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die.

God makes it clear that the man in this scenario is completely at fault in the situation as he is the one who takes the engaged woman by force. He goes on to make it clear that the crime is punishable by death (stoning). If you continue to read verses 28-29 it gives instruction as to what should happen if the girl in the situation is not engaged to marry yet. In this case, the man shall live only because it would be his responsibility to financially provide for the woman as his wife for the rest of his days and he cannot divorce her. Most people today would think this is some kind of sick and twisted punishment for the woman, in that she is forced to live with her abuser. Rather, this was actually God’s way of protecting women in this situation because in Ancient Near East culture those women would be considered tainted and undesirable to marry. So by forcing the abuser/rapist to care for her as his wife for the rest of his life, God is 1) protecting the woman’s livelihood and reputation, and 2) making it clear to all the men of Israel the cost of committing such a crime.

Notice at the end of verse 25 it says “only the man who lies with her shall die”. I think this is rather significant of God to specify considering He just went over two scenarios where both parties are to be put to death for their crime. If the Israelites had to guess what to do in this situation, they would probably assume that both people should die, however, God makes it clear that the abused/raped woman who is engaged to marry another man shall live.

God Does Not Find You Guilty

26 But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case.

God reiterates “But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death”. God then refers back to the law in regards to what happens when one man murders another man in the field where there are no witnesses in that it is impossible to solve a murder when there were no eye witnesses to testify about it, so they would then render a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of the entire people of Israel (since they didn’t know who did it). In a similar way, God applies the same principle to the situation where an engaged woman is raped in a field where there are no witnesses.

When You Cried Out For Help

27 “When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her.[2]

God now addresses the fact that the engaged girl cried out (for help) and there was no one to save her. I believe that everyone who is abused cried for help in some form. Some cried out verbally by screaming for help or resisting their attacker, but this is not the case for everyone due to how people react differently when in a shocked or panicked state. However, I believe everyone cried out internally, even if not externally, by hoping and praying that the attack would stop. Some people even recall being in an out-of-body experience where their mind was doing its best to protect them by literally trying to remove them from the situation so as to try to emotionally block out the pain.


One of the aspects of this passage that should bring great comfort to those who have been abused or raped; is the fact that God knows you are innocent. In this passage, God is speaking about a situation that only an omniscient God would be able to have knowledge about. There are no human witnesses in this situation to confirm or deny the fact that the woman was raped. However, God makes it clear that she is innocent, and it is because He knows that she was taken by force. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He referred to His Father in heaven as the “one who is in secret, and He sees what is done in secret…” (Matthew 6:6). Even though Jesus was referring to prayer in this particular passage, the truth remains that God is the only One who knows what is done in secret. This is why the Psalmist prays for God to search his heart to see if there is any wickedness in him (Psalm 139). God also makes it clear that not only does He know what is done in secret, but He will also bring justice to all things done whether in plain sight or in secret (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) and He will make sure that each person will pay only for the sins they have committed (Ezekiel 18:20). This means that God will enact perfect justice on every person and there will be no mistakes.

Thankfully, God’s perfect justice also includes mercy and forgiveness for all those who place their trust in Jesus Christ as the atonement for their sins, who took the righteous punishment for the sins they committed upon Himself so that they could be forgiven and inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven instead of justly suffering eternally in Hell like they deserve. God will declare righteous all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this too is a part of His perfect justice.

God Does Not Fault You, and Neither Should You

I am always surprised to find that there are many Christian counselors, therapists, and pastors who do not use Deuteronomy 22:25-27 as a resource in helping those who have been abused or raped. The fact is, if you have been abused or raped, God does not find you guilty of any sin in that circumstance, so neither should you. I realize that this is much easier said than done, however, it is important for Christians to understand the truth that is in God’s Word and to allow His truth and wisdom to be the guide for our emotions; not the other way around.


It is also important to understand that although God does not find the victim guilty in the case of abuse or rape, He is still the righteous Judge and He will hold you accountable for the sins you have committed in your life. This is why it is so important to understand that even though you have been the victim of something horrific and criminal, you are still technically a criminal yourself in that you have sinned against God and have fallen short of His holy standard. Your eternal salvation and forgiveness of sins cannot rely upon the fact that you have a “victim card” (for lack of a better term, and I realize that it may sound rather harsh), but it needs to be solely rested upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, in that He took the punishment that you deserved for your sins so that you can be forgiven and be justified before a holy God. If you have not done so already, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation and God promises that He is rich in mercy and that He will cleanse you of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). If you have been abused or raped, you need to know that God knows your heart. He knows that there was/is nothing in you that desired to have what happened to you. God knows that it was not consensual or mutual, and He does not place any blame on you.

I hope this is helpful to someone today.

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Dt 22:25–27). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation. [2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Dt 22:25–27). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

38 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

How God Changed Who I Was Attracted To 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers