A Pastoral Theological
Forty-five years of psychosocial research has provided a wealth of information on acquaintance rape.1 This research has generated many crucial psychosocial and sociohistorical theories about survivors' experiences. These theories, however, do not attend to the psychospiritual implications of acquaintance rape. My goal in this work is to provide a pastoral theological framework to understand acquaintance rape and pastoral guidelines for working with acquaintance rape survivors.
In chapter 3, we listened to four distinct accounts of acquaintance rape. Viewed together, these stories produce several common pastoral theological themes. Some of these themes take on traditional theological forms and language. More often, these profound psychospiritual matters appear in everyday, even mundane, relational language. What defines these themes as theological is not their overt connection to God, Jesus, or the church, but their fundamental connection to a survivor's ability to live, thrive, and make meaning in her world.
Several pastoral theological themes emerge from the experiences of these four survivors. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it applicable to every survivor's struggle. Rather, tfiese themes begin to present a pastoral theological framework for understanding an acquaintance rape survivor's experience of trauma and healing.