Join our Deputy Director of Publishing Kelli Baker, as she talks us through Sexual Health: Trauma, Shame, and Healing.

***trigger warning***

This article contains talk of sexual assault and trauma. If you or someone you love is experiencing adverse reactions to sexual assault, please consult a professional. Find more information below.

Sexual Health: Trauma, Shame, and Healing

by Kelli Baker

Sexual assault doesn’t just have immediate effects. It has been proven that those who have experienced sexual assault see lasting impacts in their romantic and platonic relationships. Even work relationships are affected due to a lack of trust and confidence in those around you. One’s sense of dignity and power to choose is stripped from them when they become victims of sexual assault. 

However, many suffer in silence. 

Only roughly 30% of sexual assaults that occur in the military are reported. This means most of the people assaulted do not receive the care needed to heal. Undealt with pain from assault can result in erratic behavior and poor decision-making. But there is hope. The Lord can bring healing when we step out in faith and bring light to the dark places of our pain. I am living proof of God’s faithfulness to survivors of sexual assault. 

Here’s my story. 


Shame tends to overshadow sexual assault, which is why I believe victims feel silenced. Victims of sexual trauma and abuse have been given the big scarlet letter “A” in our society. Rather than receiving the comfort and care necessary for healing, victims feel compelled to retreat into silence following the attack, further escalating the damage done. 

As a victim, I remained silent for many years. I hid behind the mask of alcohol. I put up the facade of confidence as I became very sexually active. When you are assaulted, all control is stolen from you. 

Your “no” no longer means no. 

So, I sought to take back control by diving into promiscuity. On the outside, I appeared to be a free-spirited, strong, and confident young woman who was sure of herself. 

Meanwhile, inside, a deep emptiness resonated in my soul. The more I pursued men, the deeper the hole grew. This pattern continued for many years. 

Processing Trauma

I never thought I needed to heal from the sexual assault until I learned of the “Me Too” movement in 2018. By then, I had married the love of my life, and we had two beautiful children. 

I must be doing alright. I thought.

But if history proves anything, the Lord cannot heal what we try to conceal. I held onto my secrets for many years for fear of judgment. The “Me Too” movement gave me hope and confidence to speak my truth. I no longer had to suffer in my sorrow alone. There were hundreds if not thousands, of other women who had experienced the soul-sucking pain of being taken advantage of – who had also been stripped of their dignity as their right to consent vanished. The movement caused me to realize I could shed my identity as a victim and walk freely as a survivor.

Unresolved Emotions

Undealt with pain from trauma manifests in our relationships. Falling to cope with the hurt you experienced results in unhealthy coping mechanisms, like excessive drinking, promiscuity, isolation, or overeating. These are only bandaids that will eventually lose their grip and leave your wounds wide open and vulnerable. You will be unable to hold healthy relationships. If you’re a mother, your children will learn from you. They see how you cope; whether they know the cause or not, they can still see the physical manifestation of unresolved pain. This is why counseling is so important and necessary for healing.

“Just as God uses doctors to heal our bodies, God uses trained and licensed therapists to heal the wounds of our minds and souls.” Kobe Campbell, Why Am I Like This?: How to Break Cycles, Heal from Trauma, and Restore Your Faith, pg 174

Growing up, we didn’t talk about counseling. You go to church and trust Jesus to heal you. We don’t talk about our problems at home. Instead, we put on a smile and pretend all is well. Yes, our God is Jehovah Rapha, the great physician. However, he gives individuals the gifts, wisdom, and knowledge to counsel. 

“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14 (NKJV)

So, when my husband suggested counseling, I second-guessed it. I knew I needed healing, though. My walk with God was great, or so I thought. I spent daily time in his presence, his word, and praying. My insides felt like lightning when someone made a simple gesture like gently rubbing my arm. Something wasn’t right. I needed to understand more, so I took my husband’s advice.

The Road to Healing

I began seeing a therapist specializing in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART). She began addressing the traumatic events in a safe space using eye movement therapy. As we walked through the circumstances, I would feel the sensations in my nervous system respond. We would stop, and she would help talk me through the feelings, reminding my nervous system that I was safe. This calmed my nervous system and relieved the response. After a few sessions, I found that my triggers no longer send the jolt of electricity through my body. The healing process takes time, though. 

My therapist continues to discuss practical ways for me to have meaningful, healthy relationships. I have learned it does not have to be an either/or when it comes to counseling. I can have a deep, intimate relationship with the ultimate Physician while also relying on trusted and trained individuals to guide me through the pain of my past and into a place of healing. 

In counseling, you will become self-aware. You will learn how to retrain your brain and healthy ways to handle triggers. In the process, you will learn new habits. An unexpected result of my healing journey is that I can parent my kids better. I can help them process nervous butterflies that may manifest as tears or a meltdown. I have learned how to help them process anger resulting from the grief of losing a friend at school. 

Trust the Process

While I am not completely healed, I am a work in progress. I trust the process and my God, who promises to sanctify me completely, keeping my whole spirit, soul, and body blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls me is faithful. He will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 paraphrased).

If you have experienced sexual assault, you are not alone. 

Not only am I with you in this, but even more importantly, your heavenly Father, Immanuel, Jehovah Rapha, is with you. He promises never to leave or forsake you. He came to bind the wounds of the brokenhearted and heal the hurting. 

Lean into him as you seek healing. 

Find a trusted professional to walk you through processing what has been done to you.

It is not your fault. The you of tomorrow deserve a healthy you. I promise it is worth doing the hard work. Your relationships depend on it. 

Closing Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving individuals gifts to help us heal. Lord, you are the great Physician, but we know you send us people to help us along the way. Give us the courage to lean in and trust the process. We love you, Lord. In your name, Amen. 


  1. Check out this post if you want a reminder of what our Faith Full Friday series is all about.
  2. National Sexual Assault Hotline: Confidential 24/7 Support – call 800-656-4673 or chat online at; National Sexual Assault Hotline: Confidential 24/7 Support | RAINN 
  3. DOD Safe Helpline – 877-995-5247. The phone number is the same in the U.S. and worldwide via DSN or chat online at; DoD Safe Helpline | SAPR