Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault: An Interview with Justin Holcomb |  POD 011

Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault: An Interview with Justin Holcomb | POD 011






Justin Holcomb – Guest

Liz Nelson – Guest

Paul Brandes – C0-Host

Bill Gorman – C0-Host

Show Notes

Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault: An Interview with Justin Holcomb

Trauma from sexual assault and abuse can disrupt our ability to have healthy relationships with God, family, and the world. It often causes us to perceive danger where it doesn’t exist, can narrow our world, and limit daily peace. In this episode, Justin Holcomb discusses the sensitive issue of sexual violence, emphasizing empathy, vulnerability, and the power of storytelling for healing. Drawing from the biblical story in 2 Samuel 13, Holcomb explores themes of disgrace and hope, and the transformative role of the gospel. He addresses misconceptions and definitions of sexual assault and abuse, highlighting their prevalence in society, even within religious contexts. Practical advice is offered for engaging in empathetic conversations and creating safe spaces for survivors to share their experiences. Tune in to gain a deeper understanding of how to support survivors of sexual violence and how survivors can find help.



Join us in this conversation about the importance of …

  1. Empathy and Listening: When engaging with survivors of sexual assault, it is crucial to show empathy and be fully present. Listening without trying to fix or offer advice can help survivors feel understood and not alone.
  2. Healing and Trust: Building trust is essential in the healing process, and it requires time, transparency, and authenticity. Small steps and patient engagement can help survivors build trust and feel safe within a community of faith.
  3. The Gospel and Identity: The effects of sexual assault include distorted identity and shame. The work of Christ and the power of the Gospel are relevant in addressing these effects. By focusing on what the Creator and Redeemer says about their identity, survivors can counter distorted self-perceptions and find hope in the healing process.

#EmpathyMatters #BreakTheSilence #HealingThroughStorytelling #NatureAsHealing #GraceAndHope #PreventRecognizeRespond #ResurrectionHope #IdentityInChrist #SupportSurvivors #TraumaAwareness



Dr. Justin Holcomb has taught theology and apologetics at numerous seminaries since 2000 and has written or edited more than 20 books on abuse, theology, and biblical studies. Prior to serving in the Diocese of Central Florida, he was a professor at the University of Virginia, served as a priest at a parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, was an executive director of an interdenominational ministry, served as the Director of Graduate Ministries at the Center for Christian Study (Charlottesville, VA), and held various other ministry positions.
Holcomb earned his Ph.D. in theological studies from Emory University and has both a Master of Arts in theological studies and a Master of Arts in Christian thought from Reformed Theological Seminary as well as a B.A. in biblical studies from Southeastern University. He also studied at the University of Oxford during the summer of 1996.
In addition to these ecclesial and academic roles, Bishop Holcomb serves on the boards of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments), HeartSupport, Leaders Collective, and The Living Church Foundation. He, along with his wife, Lindsey, helped co-found REST in 2009.
Bishop Holcomb is married to Lindsey Holcomb, with whom he has co-authored seven books, and together they have two daughters, Sophia and Zoe.

Liz Nelson earned her MA in Counseling from MidAmerica Nazarene University. She is a Clinically Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Kansas. Her areas of focus are adult counseling for individuals and couples. Elizabeth works from a psychodynamic theory and the attachment perspective that honors the client’s experiences of personal and relational struggles that interfere with well-being. Together with the client, Liz explores the symptoms and causes of distress. She works with a wide variety of needs and in diverse populations. Elizabeth also has over two decades of experience serving the non-profit community in Kansas City, and is deeply committed to coming alongside these leaders, caregivers, and volunteers.




“Our definition of sexual assault is any type of sexual behavior or contact where consent is not freely given or obtained and is accomplished through force, intimidation, violence, coercion, manipulation, threat, deception or abuse of authority.”
— Justin Holcomb


“The survivor of the victim feels embarrassed and shameful because they feel like they somehow they were involved and that they chose that they used their agency to do this when they actually were being forced and threatened. And that’s how the manipulation works.”
— Justin Holcomb


“The listen to and believe language comes from all of the research. They’ve actually asked survivors of abuse what was the most helpful thing in your healing. And the number one, far and away, beyond all other possible things was being listened to and believed by other people.”
— Justin Holcomb


“For someone who feels like filthy, damaged goods, hearing over and over again the words that the Bible uses for those who are adopted and in Christ, pure, perfect, righteous, and holy, without spot, blemish or wrinkle, that’s way better than you can ever make up.”
— Justin Holcomb


Rid Of My Disgrace: Hope And Healing For Victims Of Sexual Assault – Justin Holcomb

What Is A Girl Worth? – Rachael Denhollander

Trust & Brokenness PDF – Liz Nelson


[00:05:04] “Tamar’s assault and the intersection of disgrace, shame, and hope.”
[00:11:58] “Collaboration, consent, and understanding the breadth of sexual assault.”
[00:21:04] “Churches need to support survivors and create safe spaces for disclosure.”
[00:29:13] “The Gospel’s role in healing and finding true identity after assault.”
[00:38:18] “The prevalence of sexual abuse and the importance of church intervention.”
[00:45:14] “If not this career, what would you choose to do?”
[00:50:26] “The impact of trauma on perception and relationships.”
[00:59:15]” Processing trauma and the instinctual bodily responses.”
[01:03:05] “Rebuilding trust in the aftermath of trauma.”
[01:10:00] “Our role in supporting and advocating for victims.”
[01:13:41] “Trust, vulnerability, and the importance of authentic sharing.”
[01:17:47] “Kurt Thompson’s insights on trust, vulnerability, and healing.”
[01:25:28] “Tips for showing empathy and self-care for healing.”
[01:29:29] “Mary’s encounter with Jesus and the complexity of trauma.”
[01:17:47] “Kurt Thompson on trust, empathy, and understanding.”
[01:25:28] “Showing empathy: embracing vulnerable stories, honest prayer, journaling, connecting with nature.”
[01:29:29] “Ending”