There is a story in the Bible that I imagine many people would prefer not to be in there. It is vile, violent and disappointing. It is a story I have never heard preached from the pulpit, most likely because it is just too uncomfortable to talk about. It is a story that has brought me both comfort and great angst, a story I am thankful GOD chose not to hide nor water down, but made sure it was included in the annals of Scripture.
There are so many complexities to this story, but at the forefront is SEXUAL ASSAULT, and the devastating affects it has on a life who has experienced it. Tamar was one such person. Not only was she raped, but it was done by someone she should have been able to trust, her own half-brother, Amnon. Can you hear her begging him to stop? Can you see the tears rolling down her cheeks and feel the rapid heartbeats as this trauma unfolds. Sadly, too many of you know that exact feeling and is the very reason you landed on this page.
The Rape was ugly, but it continued to get uglier as she is thrown out of her brothers room. You would have hoped someone would have come to her rescue, but instead this is what we read, “Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly. And Absalom her brother said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this thing to heart.” So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house” (2 Samuel 13:19-20 NKJV, emphasis added).
“Hold your peace”. “Do not take this thing to heart”. “So Tamar remained desolate”. These are tragic words, and too unfortunate is the fact that they are still being spoken and experienced today.
Also too unfortunate is the reality that many of us who have experienced the trauma of Sexual Assault live out our days like Tamar did, feeling desolate, isolated, and ashamed. A sad story indeed. A story that needs to change. A story that comes with a happy ending instead of a desolate one.
As I began to share my vision of Hope for those who have experienced Sexual Trauma, other women have come forth bringing support, encouragement, and a desire to co labor alongside me. Perhaps, had Tamar had a community of women like these to walk with her, to cry with her, to listen to her, to encourage her and to love her, yes perhaps then she could have been restored to her former glory, the glory that reminded her……SHE WAS STILL THE DAUGHTER OF THE KING.
Cary Tolbert (Founder, Restoring Tamar)