Dear Madame Lestrange, 

Before I start, I want to set some context: I’m a religious person and faith is part of everything I do.

I’ve always felt like I’m going to go to hell because I had premarital sex. But it wasn’t something I actually wanted to do. My ex pressured me until I was convinced enough to have sex with him. How do I get rid of this guilt that’s eating me up every day? 

 

Signed,

Worried & Ashamed

________________________

Dear Worried & Ashamed, 

 

The first thing I would say is that I am so sorry for what happened to you. You did not want it to happen and I am sorry that he did not respect that you did not want to have sex with him. 

That’s completely messed up on his part.

Please recognize that you have nothing to feel guilty about – regardless of how religious you are. Yes, you had premarital sex but frankly, that was not your choice. Your ex talked you into it and that is more on him than it is on you. Having something taken from you can be traumatic and it is natural to blame yourself.

But let me repeat: This was not your fault. 

No matter what, “good” and “bad,” “heaven” or “hell” is not as black and white as we sometimes assume. The most important thing is context and intention. You did not want this to happen so why punish yourself for something that you couldn’t stop?

But let me repeat: This was not your fault. 

If you still don’t believe me, let’s walk through this: if you were robbed, would you punish yourself what happened? Of course not! You wouldn’t, so you shouldn’t punish yourself for something that you couldn’t stop. I wish that I could give you a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of the guilt but the only person who can do that is you. Recognize that this is not your fault and you could not stop it. 

Ultimately, I’ll end with this: if it’s at all possible, please – go to therapy. I understand that this is not always feasible, however, I think that this will really help with the guilt you are feeling and give you the support you need to heal.

And if you need it, I’m also adding in some resources for you to use should you need it – what happened to you is not normal, and you deserve to feel safe and unashamed – period.

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network: www.rainn.org

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE

National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY), or visit thehotline.org

You’re welcome, 

Madame Lestrange 

 

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Madame Lestrange

By Madame Lestrange

Advice Columnist, Love & Sex