Over the next few days I will post the transcript from a sermon pastor mark driscoll shared on sexual assault/ Here is part one and introduction on the subject. To listen to the entire talk/// click here
“You’re a Sexual Assault Victim”
Father God, I ask that I’d be able to teach well today. God, I hope that you would help Mars Hill to be a place where hurting people are served. And I pray, Lord God, for those who will hear this sermon, some helping them along a journey toward healing, and those who will start a journey of healing, but with the first steps being incredibly painful. God, I thank you for my wife’s bravery in writing the seventh chapter of the Real Marriage book, and I thank you that I have the great honor of teaching that content today, and I thank you, Lord, that she is a great gift that you’ve given to me. And so, God I pray that this time would be focused on helping others and that you would allow me to finish this sermon. Amen.
This is the one sermon I never wanted to preach. Grace and I were sitting on a couch. It was late one night, just hanging out, and we were just visiting, nothing particularly deep. I started asking her a few questions about some issues in her past and experiences that she’d had, and she just answered them matter-of-factly, just very casually, very unemotionally, and I just started bawling.
And she was taken aback. She couldn’t understand why I was emotional. I don’t get emotional very often. Almost always, if I do, it’s because women and children are in danger. And she said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I said, “No, don’t be sorry. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t say anything wrong, but you’re a sexual assault victim.” And she’s like, “What, me? What are you talking about?” I said, “Yeah, what you just explained was textbook sexual assault.”
All of a sudden, everything in our marriage and relationship made sense. We had been married, at that point, for, gosh, it was six years ago. This year, we’ll celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. So, we were married at that point, maybe thirteen or fourteen years. And we dated for four and a half years before we married, so we’d been together seventeen or eighteen years. I mean, I’d known Grace since high school, and we were good friends.
And now I knew her. I knew everything. And she hadn’t concealed anything, so she wasn’t ever dishonest with me. She just never saw it for what it was. And I think that’s pretty common with victims not only of sexual assault, but of other kinds of assault, as well, that sometimes you tend to have a clearer perspective seeing someone else’s life, but you interpret the data in your own life differently.
Sometimes there’ll be repressed memory, where you don’t remember certain things, and then something will trigger it, or disassociation, which is a clinical term, where somebody who’s being assaulted in some particular way, they’ll disassociate. They’ll sort of mentally check out, just as a coping mechanism. And sometimes people are just not emotionally ready to remember and deal with certain trauma or trouble. I believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can bear, and for those who come to understand some things that have been done to them, sometimes it is because they’re finally at a place in their maturity in Christ that they could handle it. And so, in some regards, I guess it’s an encouragement, meaning we’re finally ready to deal with this.
Well, it was one of those moments, where I knew what had happened to my wife, and . . . and it was devastating. Because for me, I’m like a lot of you men, I’m a defender, protector. The safety of my wife and kids is the highest priority, and to realize that I wasn’t there until seventeen—and some things happened to her before seventeen, before I’d met her—it really bothered me that I wasn’t there to protect her. It still does.
So we started reading, and talking, and praying, and trying to figure out, “What do we do now?” I had Grace start journaling out all of the related experiences in her life, because she’d never really thought about it. She’d have a thought here or a grief moment there, but the business of life would just sort of compel her to proceed forward. So, I said, “Honey, I really need you to take a couple of days.” I put her in a safe, quiet hotel and stayed in contact with her, but I took care of the kids and took care of the house and said, “Honey, I just need you to focus and journal this out, and think this out, and pray this out, so we get an idea of what exactly we’re dealing with.” Because she’d never really given herself time to process and to grieve.
Then we started studying and looking for ways to work out what had happened to her. And we met a couple of times with a biblical counselor. “Okay, what do we need to do and not do? What’s a good course of action for us, so I can love, and serve, and help my wife?” And in the grace of God, some years later—I mean, our friendship is great. Our marriage is really fantastic. It kind of was a revealing moment at Christmas, when, with the kids, we were all in a circle, and we were talking and praying, and I asked each of the kids, “What are you most thankful for?” And my oldest daughter, she smiled and she said, “I’m thankful that you and Mom are never going to get divorced, because you’re best friends.” And that’s where we’re at.
That being said, when it came time to write the Real Marriage book, Grace really wanted to help people, and she really loves people, and she’s very brave, and she wanted to basically say, “If I’m honest, then other people can be honest, and if this has happened to other people, I want to help them and encourage them to get help.” And so her motives are very good and very, very pure, and I really appreciate her courage. So, the subject matter for this sermon is going to be the content that she wrote.