A night of trauma changed Ruth Everhart's life forever. In her memoir Ruined, she shares the harrowing story of how she and her Christian college roommates were raped at gunpoint by armed, masked intruders late one Sunday night. Reeling from the pain and shock of what happened, Ruth questioned God, and struggled for many years to recover from this terrible act of violence. Remarkably, her story doesn't end with pain, but with tremendous healing and forgiveness.
It happened on a Sunday night, even though Id been a good girl and gone to church that morning.
One brisk November evening during her senior year at a small Midwestern Christian college, two armed intruders broke into the house Ruth Everhart shared with her roommates, held all five girls hostage, and took turns raping them at gunpoint. Reeling with fear, insecurity, and guilt, Ruth believed she was ruined, both physically and in the eyes of God.
In the days and weeks that followed, Ruth struggled to come to grips with not only what happened that night but why. The same questions raced through her mind in an unrelenting loopquestions that would continue to haunt her for years to come:
Why me? Where was God? Why did God allow this to happen? What am I being punished for?
Told with candor and unflinching honesty, Ruined is an extraordinary emotional and spiritual journey that begins with an unspeakable act of violence but ends with tremendous healing and profound spiritual insights about faith, forgiveness, and the will of God.
Starred review. In her second memoir, Presbyterian pastor Everhart (Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land) reflects on being sexually assaulted when she was a college student, the assaults emotional aftermath, and its theological implications. Raised in an insulated Dutch community and the Christian Reformed Church, Everharts worldview was forever changed when two men broke into her apartment and raped her. She asks where God was during the brutality, where she was being punished for her sexual experiences, and how a God who wills everything could will something so terrible to happen. In addition to her theological analysis, Everhart is at her best when dismantling the sexism that surrounds rape. She recounts how she sucked in her stomach when asked to strip because, thats how thoroughly [she] had internalized the fact that a woman should make herself attractive to the eyes of a man. She recalls her anger when the doctor who performed her rape kit referred to her rapist as a clown. She looks at why many people treat rape differently from other injuries and reminds readers that rape cannot make women less whole. Everhart also includes examples of how churches can provide support to rape survivors. This is a touching and empowering story of healing.
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