Steven Tracy affirms that The Unique Nature of Sexual Intimacy Makes its Abuse Uniquely Destructive
After writing the post The Unique Nature of Sexual Intimacy Makes Its Abuse Uniquely Destructive, I was reading Steven Tracy’s great book, Mending the Soul [*Affiliate link] and came across the following.
Sexual abuse is incredibly damaging because, as creatures made in God’s image, sex is the most powerful bonding activity in which we can engage. God’s intention is that in marriage a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Loving marital sex can powerfully bond, but through abuse it can just as powerfully wound.
I often hear church leaders express great impatience with sexual abuse survivors who continue to experience the damaging effects of their abuse. They make remarks such as, “For crying out loud, that happened years ago.” “Lots of girls get touched like that. Get over it!” “How long is this woman going to nurse this abuse?”
These kinds of ignorant and destructive comments completely ignore the biblical data. In 1 Corinthians 6:15–18, drawing on the bonding imagery of Genesis 1 and 2, Paul declares that the sex act is unlike any other act we commit. When we sin sexually (or, by implication, are sinned against sexually), it forms a unique bonding, which creates damage that goes beyond anything else we can do with our body. As Paul concludes in 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.”
Sexual relations are to be a beautiful divine gift that expresses unconditional love and should be a source of emotional and even physical life. Sexual abuse grotesquely distorts the relational aspect of the image of God and the divine plan for sexuality. With sexual abuse, sex no longer gives life but destroys life. With sexual abuse, sex does not express selfless love but destructive selfishness. As a result, sexual abuse survivors struggle to accept their own sexuality and their own bodies. They also struggle in marriage to enjoy sanctified sex. Women who have been abused often can’t admit to being enjoyed and desired by a godly man. Sexual abuse is a sad perversion of the “one flesh” relationship.
Tracy, Steven R. (2009-05-19). Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse (Kindle Locations 480-494). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.