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
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
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
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
It's my fault because my abuser said it was
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
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
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
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
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
It's my fault because I thought I wanted it or said I wanted
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 5:34 He said to her,
"Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your
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.