4 April 2022  |

Dear Aunty Sevvy,

My 10-year-old (at the time) daughter was raped on her way from school by unknown men. We were born-again Christians and had been members of the Adventist church for over 18 years. I had specifically prayed and trusted God for my children’s protection every day. 

Since then, whenever I hear a preacher condemning loss of virginity or even encouraging young girls to remain “pure,” I wish I could go up to them and ask: in a country with such high rates of sexual violence as ours, how is it that you can assume that the only means of losing virginity is through consensual sex? 


Dear Triggered,

Aunty’s heart absolutely breaks for your daughter. I am so sad that that happened to her. 

But you are absolutely right: it is a terrible message to say that anyone who isn’t a virgin for any reason other than heterosexual marriage has lost something infinitely valuable and is therefore permanently besmirched. 

Your daughter did not choose this: her innocence was stolen from her in the most violent way. As she works toward healing from this trauma, she should not have to be dealing with unfair judgment and blame from her own church. God’s church should embrace victims of violence in a warm glow of love and support.

Your daughter has not lost any of her value because of what was done to her. She can stand as a princess, holy and proud before God. I hope that you will tell her of her worth every single day and fight anyone—even the church—who tries to make her feel inferior. Teach her to say, “I am a human being, a child of God and I deserve respect and kindness even when bad things happen to me.” 

Keep doing the good work of being an awesome, supportive parent and standing up for your daughter. May all parents see your shining example and strive to do the same. 

And to pastors who may be reading this: can you please quit making this the main plank in your platform when speaking to young people? It is doing far more harm than good. 

Aunt Sevvy

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