TAC Blog

Compounding the Trauma of Rape

by: Anne Dryburgh, PhD

Suffering is always involved when people come for counseling. Over the years, I have met with women suffering from depression, childhood abuse, marital abuse, and addictions. Perhaps one of the toughest is when a woman tells me that she has been raped. Everything about it is horrifying. Many people who have been traumatized in this way turn to alcohol or drugs to lessen their wrenching pain.

Sometimes the people around the rape victim inadvertently cause her to suffer even more. None of us would want to be guilty of doing this. That is why I thought it would be helpful to briefly discuss two areas where the victim’s suffering is compounded. These are in relation to some of the myths surrounding rape and the experience of being raped twice.

Sadly, myths abound about what rape is and is not.It is not true that rape is only when a stranger accosts a helpless victim on a dark street. Most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Another myth is that the victim deserved to be raped. People say such things when the victim got into a car on her own with the perpetrator, was in a house on her own with him, was on her own in an isolated location, or was provocatively dressed. No matter how wise or unwise her behavior, no one ever deserves, or asks, to be raped. A third myth is that a weapon must have been used to threaten the victim. However, force can be used by a weapon, hands, threats, drugs, and/or the physical body. A fourth myth is that a person who has been known to be sexually promiscuous, or provocative in her behavior, was not raped. A woman’s sexual history has no bearing on whether or not the attack was rape.[1]

Twice Raped

The horror of rape is bad enough, yet many victims feel as if they have been raped twice. This can happen when others blame the victim for the rape.[2] It can happen when someone asks her what she did to provoke the attack, when she is not believed by the person she confides in, if she is asked why the attack still bothers her if it happened a long time ago, if her case is not prosecuted in court because of lack of evidence, or the perpetrator is found not guilty at trial.[3]

Many victims who have prosecuted perpetrators have felt as if they were raped for a second time during the trial. The lawyer for the perpetrator may leave the victim feeling humiliated, disregarded, and invaded.[4] However, this sense of being raped again may happen if the person the victim confides in does not believe her. If the confidant blames her or judges her, the victim will feel worse than before. Given the possible traumatic experiences she may have while pursuing justice, the victim must be fully informed of this risk.[5] She has to decide herself about whether or not she will go to trial, knowing the risks and the possible advantages of doing so.[6]

The experience of being raped twice may occur during the medical examination after the attack. She may experience this because during the examination, a stranger examines her which means that she again has no control over the invasion of her body.[7]


If we are helping someone struggling with an addiction, it is possible that the substance has been used to help alleviate crushing emotional pain. Victims of rape often reach out to drugs or drink in this way and become addicted to them. When we are helping them, it is important to lovingly seek to understand their background. If they have been the victims of rape, as we help them, we must not add to their suffering by being guilty of holding to a myth or by giving them a sense of going through the attack again. As we listen to them, we might hear that others have unwittingly done this to them and caused more suffering as a result. Listening, care, and sensitivity are essential.


[1] Paula Lundberg and Shelly Marmion, “Intimate” Violence Against Women: When Spouses, Partners, or Lovers Attack (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2006), 60.

[2] Audrey Savage, Twice Raped (Indianapolis: Book Weaver Publishing Co. 1990), 19.

[3] Aphrodite Matsakis, The Rape Recovery Handbook: Step-by-Step for Survivors of Sexual Assault (Oakland: New Harbinger Publication, 2003), 4.Sue Daniels, Working with the Trauma of Rape and Sexual Violence: A Guide for Professionals (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017), 17, 23, 32; Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror 3rd ed. (New York: Basic Books, 2015), 72;

[4] Judy Katz, No Fairy Godmothers, No Magic Wands: The Healing Process After Rape (Saratoga: R & E Publishers, 2008), 53.

[5] Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 165.

[6] Katz, No Fairy Godmothers, No Magic Wands, 57.

[7] Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 161.


Anne Dryburgh, Ph.D., is an IABC (International Association of Biblical Counselors). and an ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). certified counselor and a CABC (Commissioned Addictions Biblical Counselor), who has been working cross-culturally since the early 1990s. She is a council board member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition, a guest lecturer at Tilsley College in Scotland, an external reader for doctoral candidates for Masters International University of Divinity, and frequently contributes to numerous counseling blogs.

Dealing with Yourself

by Julie Ganschow

Therefore, we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:9 (NASB)

I know quite a few women who are very studious and diligent in studying the Word of God. They attend women’s study groups, and are diligent in their personal reading and meditation. When I am in the company of such women one thing I want to know is if they are making application of what they are learning. Some women are a little stunned by the thought of doing more than just assimilating facts.

We are to continually be in the process of self-examination; determining if our daily lives reflect Christ when held up to His Word (Psalm 26:2; 2 Corinthians 13:5). As we face what God is revealing to us in this process, we can determine to change the things we can change by God’s grace and with His help. The things we cannot change; we need His grace to accept.

We are to make it our aim or our ambition to please God. To be clear, I am not talking about earning salvation or His favor. I am not talking about works righteousness either. The Bible makes it so clear that our lives are to be lived in humble servitude to our King out of gratitude for what He has done for us in Christ. We have been bought with a price, the very least we can do is to honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20).

As always, I will remind you that changing your behavior is not the entire goal. The changes in behavior come from changes in the heart; it is an inside to outside process. These changes come through the power of the Holy Spirit by prayer and application of biblical truth. Yes, obedience is important, but the Lord is looking for an overhaul of the heart.

…in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:22-14 (NASB)

Begin by looking at your habits. Are there habits you have that need to be changed? Do you have little crutches that you lean on during times of stress, hardship, and trial? These things can easily become idols of the heart. You will know they are idols if you find yourself turning to them instead of to God. Bad habits are difficult to break, but they must be put off for you to live a life that is glorifying to God. The sin you choose to hang onto today will impact you tomorrow and potentially for months and years to come. If you have sinful habits you would be ashamed to have brought into the light, I would suggest you have some cleaning up to do.

What about relationships? Remember that what fills your heart directs your words and actions, and directly impacts your relationships. What you believe in your heart affects how you act, and those things matter! Are these areas of the heart that need addressing? Your interaction with others should speak well of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Do your relationships glorify God? Are they gossipy, nasty, spiteful relationships? Do you use people for your own ends? Are you harsh and critical? All of these sinful things will affect your ability to serve, grow, thrive, love, and honor God.

Are you generous with your time, gifts, and finances? If you were to sit and ponder the earthly treasure you have been given, can you say you have used it for His glory and to further the kingdom of God? I’m afraid many would have to conclude they have frittered away their time and talents, not even including their financial treasure. We must be careful not to give God the leftovers in our lives. This is another matter of the heart. Stewardship is important to the Lord! Not only the money and other material goods, but more importantly, the gifts He has given you personally to be used for His service. If you are unsure what you have to contribute talk to your pastor or women’s leader. They can help you discern where you can be used in the church.

The point is, make it your daily goal to love, serve, honor, and glorify God. He alone is worthy.

Click to Tweet: Changing your behavior is not the entire goal. The changes in behavior come from changes in the heart; it is an inside to outside process. -Julie Ganschow #biblicalchange #applyGod’sWord

NOTE: This blog first appeared on www.bc4women.org on February 22, 2016.

About Julie Ganschow

Julie Ganschow has been involved in Biblical Counseling and Discipleship for more than 20 years. She is passionate about the critical need for heart change in a person who desires change in their life.

She is the founder and Director of Reigning Grace Counseling Center (ACBC & IABC Certified Training Center) and Biblical Counseling for Women. She has been writing a daily blog on counseling issues women face since 2008.

Her extensive training has led to an M.A. in Biblical Counseling; as well as, certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and the International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC). She also serves on the Counsel Board for the Biblical Counseling Coalition

Julie is a gifted counselor and teacher, has authored numerous books and materials for biblical counseling, and co-authored a biblical counseling training course. She is also a featured contributor in GriefShare and a frequent retreat and conference speaker.

She makes her home in Kansas City, Missouri with her wonderful husband Larry. Together they have raised 3 sons who have married and begun to bless them with grandchildren.

Find out more about Julie: Biblical Counseling for Women


Four Keys to Growing Your Church’s Addiction Ministry (and any other ministry!)

by: Michael Fargarson

Sometimes growing a new ministry proves challenging, especially an avant garde ministry such as an addiction ministry. Here are four keys to growing a new ministry at your church or in your community.

The First and Foremost Key is Prayer. This one’s obvious but often either neglected or taken for granted. Drawing from James 4, Spurgeon once said concerning the lack of prayer, “Now, if there be no conversions, and no additions to such churches, what is the reason? Is it not found here, ‘Ye have not, because ye ask not’?”  Every ministry needs to be birthed in prayer and continued in prayer on every possible level (Luke 18:1, Eph. 6:18).

Of course, the ministry leaders and team members must gather regularly and earnestly pray together. This is merely the starting place. Prayer should be solicited from the entire local fellowship as well as other believers outside of the fellowship. Every truly successful ministry has a band of prayer warriors pleading for God to move and binding the enemy.

Here are some practical ideas for making sure the ministry has prayer coverage:

  1. Ask for commitments to pray regularly for the ministry and have some type of commemoration and reminder.
  2. Print prayer cards with ongoing prayer requests for the ministry to be distributed to prayer warriors.
  3. Have an email distribution list for regular prayer updates.
  4. Add the ministry to the corporate prayer list during worship services and prayer meetings.
  5. Make sure that the prayer ministry is aware of your addiction ministry needs.
  6. Enlist the group participants and family members to pray.
  7. Encourage participants to have prayer partners or teams praying for them and the ministry.

The Second Key is Publicity. Make sure that the entire congregation knows about the ministry including the purpose and vision of it and the time and place it meets.  The addiction ministry should not be a deep, dark secret hidden in the musty basement. Instead, it must be a featured, valued ministry just like any other ministry in the church.

Practically everyone personally knows someone who is struggling with an addiction. If they are aware of the ministry and know lives are being changed there, they will tell people about it whenever they encounter those who need it.

Here are some practical suggestions for publicizing the addiction ministry:

  1. Preach sermons dealing with addictions and promote the ministry. What is prioritized in preaching prospers!
  2. Make sure to put the ministry on the church’s website. Have it featured on the home page if possible.
  3. Make a promotional video to be played before services, at info monitors, on the website, etc.
  4. Post on the church’s social media accounts and perhaps even create accounts specifically for the addiction ministry.
  5. Use live, recorded, and/or written testimonies of people whose lives have been changed by the ministry. There’s nothing more powerful than that!

The Third Key is Partnering. Partnering should come naturally to believers as we are all members of Christ’s body and a part of one family (Eph 4:4; Gal. 6:10). Sadly, though, there are often barriers even with in the same local fellowship that make cooperation difficult. However, it is well worth the effort to create vital partnerships to grow addiction ministries. Something powerful happens when we put down agendas and come together for the sake of the gospel.

Look for ways that you can involve other ministries in the addiction ministry. Depending on the size of your church and the number of ministries present, there are a variety of possible partnerships. Working with the prayer ministry has already been mentioned. Evangelism/visitation ministries may encounter prospects for the addiction ministry. The women’s ministry or hospitality ministry could provide meals or refreshments. The counseling ministry would be an obvious partner.

Many times looking outside of your church for partnerships can increase the fruitfulness of the addiction ministry. Consider partnering with other churches. It would be better to have a thriving multi-church addiction ministry than to have three or four that are dying. Of course, there must be agreement on the Gospel and on a biblical approach, but beyond that what really matters?

Also, look for partnering opportunities with para-church organizations such as missions, residential and non-residential programs, and social ministries. Denominational offices and pastoral associations may be of assistance. Government institutions such as courts, jails, probation offices and the like often welcome any groups willing to help with the substance epidemic.

Basically, any organization at which addicts may be present could be a potential partner. Brainstorm what organizations are in your community and reach out to them.

The Fourth and Final Key is Patience. Even though addicts are everywhere, growing a fruitful addictions ministry takes time. In fact according to John 15, we cannot make fruit appear. Only God can bring forth fruit. Our part is to abide in Him faithfully and obediently.  We can plant and water, He brings the increase (I Cor.3:6).

Also remember that those who are faithful with little will be faithful with much (Luke 16:10). Too often we want to run before we crawl. Don’t despise the small start. Embrace and enjoy it. If God brings just one, love and disciple that one. Do that well, and you’ll be ready for another one or two. Before you know it there may be ten. Maybe not.

Either way, rejoice and be glad that God has called you and enabled you to be a part of His work of redeeming those enslaved in addiction.

In summary, we’ve looked at four keys to growing an addictions ministry in your church. Here they are again: Bathe the ministry in prayer, Publicize the ministry to make sure as many people as possible know about it, Build partnerships in the church and the community to find prospects, and be patient while you faithfully work and trust God to bring the increase.

Click to Tweet: Rejoice and be glad that God has called you and enabled you to be a part of His work of redeeming those enslaved in addiction. -Michael Fargarson @mfargy #GrowAddictionMinistry #helpforaddicts



Meet Michael Fargarson

Michael serves on the TAC commissioning team for TAC and as a presenter at our training events. He first joined Mark in Truth in Love Ministries about a decade ago, serving as a board member and a counselor. Michael brings a unique mix of business, legal, and ministry experience to the TAC team. He holds an MDiv from Southwestern Seminary and a JD from Birmingham School of Law. He has been married to his lovely, gifted wife Paula for 27 years and have three young adult children. The Fargarsons presently reside in Indianapolis, IN.

Contact Info: michaelfargarson@histruthinlove.org