The vast majority of child abuse victims believe their abuse was their fault–if only they’d been stronger, if they would have behaved or not lied, if they would have said no, and the list goes on. Maybe your abuser even told you it was your fault. My father told me I was bad and would accuse me of lying and doing things I didn’t do. He would say, “I have to punish you—you’ve made me. I can’t allow you to do things that are wrong or lie and do nothing about it. But, I will keep it our secret; and don’t you tell it.” He would threaten me with killing my pony, or my mother if I told anyone about our secrets.
And, he being my father I believed him. Surprisingly, I was an honor student (the over-achiever in me); but that wasn’t good enough. He wanted straight A’s in every subject. Nothing any of us did was ever good enough.
If you are being sexually abused by someone; your age doesn’t matter–it is still sexual abuse and the only one to blame is the pedophile or abuser. A child cannot protect themselves from a predator; they do not possess the necessary skills to do so.
Darcie came home one time with D’s and F’s on her report card. It was Friday night, and payday—so Dad was out carousing as he normally did. When he got home at 3 a.m., and saw her report card; he screamed to the top of his lungs for her. He, as usual, woke the entire household. She was standing half asleep on the stairs when he starting screaming and busted the stand sitting beside him with his fists. We were petrified and figured Darcie would be the next one he’d break in half. She always pushed the button and would stand and argue with him. Crystal and I thought for sure he’d kill her. She retorted back at him, “I don’t like school and I just try and have fun!” He was absolutely livid with her.
He seemed to be tougher on Darcie than he was on Crystal and I. It wasn’t her fault she got D’s and F’s; just as it was not her fault she was abused. Abusers normally tell the child “it is your fault.” And therefore, children feel responsible for their own abuse. They are ashamed, humiliated, fearful, made to feel guilty, and full of pain. And if the child is neglected as well, he/she will also feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for, and feel like they are in the way. All very difficult feelings for a child to attempt to handle, or live with. A child must find its’ own way to survive in a very dysfunctional home. It is no big surprise they are addicts later in their lives—something has to stop all that pain.
Some abusers are sick and demented and some are just plain evil. The damage they do to a child is devastating, and so difficult to overcome. The abused child may spend their lifetime feeling all of those ugly feelings, believing it was their own fault and easily find comfort in booze or drugs. And pedophiles, if prosecuted, typically spend eleven years in jail for destroying a life. I often ponder which is better off—the murdered child, or the child that survives. Jesus cries over child sexual abuse survivors.