Warning: Serious post about a serious topic – Sexual Assault
Day 28 Twenty-eight Dominoes
June 28, 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo along with his wife, Duchess Sophie. This assassinated started a domino effect resulting in World War I.
There are 28 dominoes in a full set of dominoes. Do you like to play dominoes? Do you like to play games? Why or Why not? What are your favorite games? Tell us about a time you played a game with friends or family.
I love playing card games and board games. I’m always up for a good game of charades, but I recently heard of a game that got my blood boiling!
A young man recently told me about a game they played at a camp where he worked last summer. At a Christian camp for children, the counselors had a night off and one of them suggested the game.
It was early in the summer and no children we at the camp that weekend. There was a great deal of pressure put upon all the staff to participate in all the games as it was a “team building fun game night”.
The young person telling me the story, said they tried to tell those in leadership that night that this particular game was not a good idea, but they thought he was being stupid and uncooperative. The next day, he spoke with the person in charge of the camp and received not only an apology, but assurance that the game would NOT be played again. I am proud of this young person for knowing what is appropriate and for speaking up to those in authority.
I am not sure what the game is called, but the gist of it was:
- Choose one person to be “it”.
- Turn off all the lights in the building.
- Participants walk around in the dark.
- The person who is “it” tries to sneak up behind the others, grab them, and pretend to slit their throats with their finger. If you are “killed”, you are out until the next round.
- Last one killed wins and is “it” for the next round.
Why would anyone think this is a fun game!
First, a game where you grab people in the dark and pretend to kill them by slitting their throats! And these are college-aged adults who are taking care of children! At a Christian Camp! Pretending to kill each other by slitting throats is not my idea of a fun “team building” game!
Second, I know many young ladies who have experienced sexual assaults. They suffer from fear of having someone sneak up on them! They are not trusting of strangers. Being pressured into playing a “game” like this could cause serious mental and emotional distress to a victim of sexual assault. And, yes, at least one young woman was very upset in the middle of the “game”. It brought back painful memories of an assault.
Yes, you read that correctly – ONE IN FOUR!
This type of “game” where you play in the dark and touch each other is how sexual abuse often starts with young children. Imagine the flashbacks this “game” could cause. Imagine the panic and anxiety this “game” might trigger in one of these young women. Or young men who have been assaulted for that matter.
I cannot imagine playing a game like this…ever!
I am one of the One in Four.
While in college, I came home one night to find a strange man in the house I shared with two friends. He put a knife to my throat and proceeded to tie me up, rape me, and sodomize me over the next few hours. He was never caught.
The police said I was lucky: they think (based on physical evidence) he was the same man who had attacked a number of other women over the previous few years. They were each cut badly all over their bodies before he left, I was not. I had no physical wounds or scars from the attack.
I won’t go into detail, but I know that some of the things I said to him in response to things he said and did may have saved my life. I seem to have been his last victim or he moved to another area as there were no other cases reported to police in that area after me.
I don’t believe I was lucky, I believe God protected me and gave me wisdom regarding what to say to the monster in my bedroom.
This was one of the first times I had called out to God for help and I know He answered me. I felt a complete peace through the whole terrible ordeal, not terror as my attacker intended. I knew that God was with me and He was broken-hearted at the evil in my bedroom and in the world.
I do not believe God caused the attack — evil is in this world and people do evil things. I believe God was with me and He cared for me as I healed from the trauma in the weeks and months after the attack. God used the event to cause me to turn to Him for peace, healing, and comfort. I know that the peace I felt had come from God. I know He helped me heal.
My point in telling you this is that playing any game where you sneak up someone and grab them, pretend to put a knife to their throat, and pretend to kill them, is just plain wrong!
Most of my friends have no idea that I have experienced violent rape. They cannot tell by looking at me. I do not talk about it, and I do not suffer long-term trauma from it. But many women do!
Those who have been through sexual assault do not usually want to talk about it. They don’t tell everyone they meet, “Hey, I was violently raped when I was in college” or “I was sexually abused as a child by a family member”. They certainly do not want to have to explain why they choose to not participate in a game that mimics their assault or a any activity with which they are uncomfortable.
Please, parents, teach your children and teens what kinds of “games” are appropriate!
And if you are in any kind of youth or young adult ministry or leadership, learn some sensitivity regarding sexual assault and the aftermath it has on the victims! No one should ever be encouraged or allowed to play such a potentially harmful “game”.
No one should ever be pressured into playing such “games”.
No one should be pressured into playing any game or participating in any activity which they have said they are not comfortable with!
If a young person or adult says they prefer to not participate in an activity or game, accept their “no” as “no”. Don’t require them to justify themselves. You do not know what things they have been forced to do in the past. You never know what such pressure can do to a person who has been pressured or forced to do things against their will in the past. Just accept that the person knows what they are comfortable with and leave it at that.
End of rant.