Thursday, November 15, 2012

No Blame No Shame

Just needing to share.....

No Blame, No Shame

As survivors of childhood sexual abuse, we often grow up blaming ourselves for the abuse that happened. As children, we are bought up to know that "adults know best" - and so when someone tells you often enough that it's your fault, eventually you believe it. I was to blame.

 I believed that the reason I was hurt so badly by people I cared about was simply because that’s what I deserved. I deserved it because of who I was as a person. I was bad. It wasn't so much what I did that made me "bad" - but more just something that I was....something that was in me in spite of how well I tried to behave or how good I tried to be. Nothing I did to be "better" made anything better or made people treat me better - and so, understandably, I concluded that I was treated badly simply because of who and what I was. If you have felt this, please know that it was an affect of the abuse you experienced, not a statement of truth.

As I grew into an adult, I kept believing that the abuse was my fault. I did something to deserve it. Accepting that we do not have control over everything in our lives and everything that happens to us is a necessary part of healing.

I tried to seek many ways in which I could blame myself..

It was my fault because if I'd been a better maybe “so and so" would have loved me more and not hurt me.

A parent(s) should love and care for you regardless of how you behave or what you do. Their love for you should be unconditional. No matter what you did wrong, or what you think you did wrong, you did not deserve to be abused.
Abuse from a parent does not happen because of some failure or inadequacy on the child's part. It happens because of some failing within the parent.

It's my fault because I didn't tell anyone.

All children who do not tell about their abuse have very good reasons for keeping silent. For example:
Your abuser may have threatened you.
You may have been scared that no one would believe you.
You didn't know how to tell or what words to use.
You were frightened that you may be punished.
You were very confused about what was happening.
You didn't know what was happening was abuse.
……and many many more reasons.

Looking back as an adult at the reasons you had for not telling, you may think these reasons as not good enough. Adult survivors of child sexual abuse may say to themselves, "I was so stupid to believe that threat". But try to understand that the way you see things now is going to be completely different to how you saw things as a frightened abused child. The fears you had about telling would have been very very real back then, and you shouldn't dismiss what a powerful silencer fear and uncertainty can be.

It’s my fault because I let the abuse go on for so long.

You didn't "let" the abuser keep abusing. You were overwhelmed and powerless to stop the abuser.

It's my fault because I liked it happening because it felt good.

Regardless of how it felt to you, what happened was still abuse.

When children are touched sexually, conditioned responses are automatic and natural to the body and they happen whether you want them to or not.

It's my fault because I wanted that special time.
It may have been that this was the only time that you felt wanted, needed or special. Abusers can be very good at making children feel like the abuse happens because they love you so much.
Regardless, the abuse was still 100% wrong. The abuser abused his knowledge of your emotional needs and wants, and used that to get what he wanted.

It's my fault because my abuser said it was my fault.

Most abusers are very fearful of what will happen they are made public. They may fear what their families and friends will say to them; they may fear prison,of losing their jobs. And so, they are going to try to make sure that the child doesn't say anything to anyone. ONE way of doing this is to tell the child that it's their fault that the abuse is happening. Telling the child it is their fault, is a way for the abuser to control the situation by making the child afraid that they will be blamed and get into trouble if they report it to anybody.

It's my fault because I didn't fight hard enough.

Children do not have the physical strength or theability to think  adults. Often there will be threats hanging over the child's head if they don't do as they are told - and so they may feel totally unable to fight on any level.

Children do what they can to survive an attack and submission is not desire, it is survival.

It's my fault because I didn't say NO!

Many child survivors feel that they are partly to blame for the abuse because they didn't say "NO!” There are many reasons why you might not have said no:

You were confused.
You didn't know you were allowed to say no.
You didn't want to say no.
You were too frightened to say no.

Children cannot consent to a sexual relationship because they are below the age of consent. It is not the responsibility of a child to say "no" to sex.

It's my fault because I thought I wanted it or said I wanted it.

All children, especially as they reach their teenage years, start thinking about their sexuality and become interested in exploring sex. This is perfectly normal, and even necessary for healthy sexual and social development. Children and teens who are reaching this age may become attracted to people who are older than them, and may even desire or seek to engage in intimate relationship with them.

A responsible adult understands that children who are under the age of legal consent are not mentally, psychologically or physically ready for  sexua linteraction, and therefore they should not engage with a teen in this way. Therefore, even if you initiated, wanted or "consented" to sexual contact with an older person it was still abuse and it was not your fault.

  It must be my fault because I was abused by different people.

  Some children are abused by more than one person in different times of abuse. If you have been the victim of multiple abuses you may feel that you must be to blame because you keep getting chosen to be abused – and in fact some survivors talk about feeling they have a label on their head saying "hurt me".

Child abusers may target children who are more vulnerable. Child survivors may find it difficult to tell the difference between good touch and bad touches.

It's my fault that I didn't protect my siblings.
Some children feel guilty that they weren't able to protect their brothers / sisters from the abuse – and believe they are partly to blame for this abuse. You cannot be held responsible for anything your abuser did to you or to anyone else. Your abuser is the only one that can take responsibility for what they've done.

It is important to learn that the abuser had control and is to blame...not you. You were a child and should have been treated and respected as one.
I am praying for education before this healing needs to occur.
 Please Lord, let the abused child in each of us, keep the knowledge that we are innocent. Thank You Heavenly Father, for never letting us be alone. I praise you for the healing and for seeing us through your eyes.
Mark 5:34He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." (NIV)

Are you a victim of child abuse? Is your past haunting you with blame? Give it to God.Ask Him to let you see what He sees in you. I am praying that you too can begin to see the real you.


  1. I am so proud of you for the way you are stepping out of your comfort zone to help others in their healing process. Your own healing will accelerate now that you are able to speak more freely about your experience. Praying blessings on you and your journey.

  2. I agree with Cathy. I am proud of you and I know that you will now receive the total healing that you have longed for. I know that others will benefit from your wisdom and healing as well. Don't let anything stop you now!

  3. Mary, thank you for sharing your words of wisdom so hopefully others can have the freedom you now have.

  4. What an awesome post Mary! I, too, am proud of you. I know how hard it is to be transparent and risk rejection, but your honesty has honored God. He will use your pain and healing for His glory as He heals others through you. Bless you!

  5. Oh Mary,
    I know we don't know each other, but I know your sister-in-law, Debbie.
    My mom and her have been best friends since high school and since than, Debbie has been family and an aunt to me. She showed me your page just earlier this evening as we were talking about this certain subject.
    I, too, am a sexual abuse survivor? However, even at 24yrs old, I'm still having difficulties with it.
    I thought I was over the hate, the blame, the saddness of it all. I thought I even forgave the person who did this, but how could I if the same 'ld feelings come to play?

    You didn't need to know or read all of that, so mainly I wanted to tell you thanks.
    Thank-you for writing what you write. I am a mess just trying to write this after reading so many of your posts.

  6. Anna, thank you for stopping by. I am praying for you. I understand the rebound feelings. Something I learned, or should I say, am learning, is that the more we pray for the abuser, the more the pain can go away. It's hard to "hate" someone you are praying for.Keep reminding yourself that hurting people hurt people. Somewhere..that abuser.. gained an unhealthy need. Bring that person and your feelings to the Lord. You may feel like your prayers are unanswered. But they are not. God hears. He was there. I recently learned of a site that maybe you would be interested in going to. Wonderful video on it. Go to Darkness to Light. It helped me this weekend.Childhood Sexual Abuse doesn't just go away, does it? But with time, and educating yourself, even through counselling, there are ways to ease the discomforts and find your value and worth again. Praying for you sweetie. Please continue to read..and we can grow together in this. God Bless You.

    1. Is there a way for us to communicate outside of this screen? I requested you as a friend on Facebook and hope you accept it.

      I cannnot pray for the abuser as he has passed away a couple years ago. I was so relieved! I was able to be free in the sense that I tore up my protective restraining order against him. I wept with excitement. Prior to that, even, I thought I was done with the same 'ld feelings because I forgave him! But now, how can I say "I forgave him" if the feelings of hate, torture, shame are all back up on the surface? Of course, I knew that since the abuse, it was going to affect me in more ways than one. It had affected me having a male teacher in high school. It has affected my sexuality - to the point of giving it away out of "wanting it to be done and over with." I just never thought at 24yrs old, it would still affect me - bringing me back.

      As for God, of whom I do believe and trust in, when I write my same old feelings are back, that means the blame as well. God allowed this to happen. Why? Why me? Why didn't he stop it?
      I know upon knowing it happened for a reason. Even if I never get to share my story, like you, with strangers or even someone close, I know I am stronger because of it all. I am more aware of my surroundings. I am more protective of not only myself, but my family. I just wish it never happened. Sometimes it feels like a nightmare because it was so many years ago.

      Counseling. Counseling, I've never really done.
      I tried it once, but because of the medical I was covered with, I received interns. After my third one and having to start all over, I quit. I've never gone back and only once have I considered going back. I cried myself to sleep last night thinking about it, though. Counseling. Thinking even of the song by Amy Grant called "Ask Me"
      It fit perfectly for where I am. If you've never heard it, I suggest it.

    2. Anna, I did not get a friend request notice. Please try again.

      Mine are not alive either. A friend reminded me recently, VENGENCE IS MINE SAYETH THE LORD.

      I should be posting my next blog tomorrow. Will be writing on that exact subject.

  7. Mary, I hope you will share your blog with the Twitter group on sex abuse. Many abused, in whatever stage they're in, will be helped by your openness and honesty.