In lesson one we explored the first two false beliefs that survivors of sexual abuse almost always struggle with. Today we are going to explore the other two.
Lie #3 - I wanted him/her to do this to me.
When some part of the sexual abuse feels good, it is easy to confuse that natural feeling with a desire to have this happen to us. For instance, part of the touching might have physically felt good. Or, you might have enjoyed the closeness of sitting on your abuser's lap or receiving the special attention he/she gave you. Enjoying touch is a natural physical response and the desire to be close to someone is embedded in our hearts. This does not mean you wanted him/her to sexually abuse you! As a matter of normal physiology, many victims of sexual abuse enjoyed a part of the stimulation - that is a normal and healthy reaction to an illegal act!!
As you think about the lie, "I wanted him/her to do this to me because it felt good", write down two truth statements to replace the false belief.
God created the human body for healthy sexual interaction. He created sex for our enjoyment in marriage. You are not a terrible person if your body responded to sexual stimulation. You may have written something like, "the human body naturally responds to stimulation", or "the person who abused me is responsible, I am not", or "a child cannot be responsible for the actions of an adult."
The false belief that you wanted the abuse because of the natural responses of the human body traps your mind and holds it captive. Begin to accept your body as it was created. Let go of the belief that you wanted the abuse.
Lie #4 - It didn't happen. I must have made it up.
We were gifted with the ability to suppress memories. Suppressing those memories enabled us to survive without dealing with what happened in our past. However, when those memories start to surface, the challenge we are faced with is determining what is truth and what is not. The memories may come back as flashes, fragments, snapshots... and they can be unclear. What we remember confuses us, so we have difficulty believing it ourselves. We have even more difficulty believing that others will believe us.
Most victims (about 90%) are violated by someone they know and trust. The victim may make an attempt to tell someone about the abuse, but it is so very difficult since it's someone we know and trust. Often children will assume that their parents know since they have this idea that parents are all-knowing. The child may ask, "Do you know what Daddy is doing to me?" or "Do I have to do everything the babysitter says?" Unfortunately, the adult may not recognize the child's attempt to disclose sexual abuse.
Have you ever thought you might be making it all up or that your situation was "no big deal"? If you have, your thoughts are normal. Take some time to think about this... Describe the things that have caused you to ask yourself, "Is this real? Was I abused? Was what happened to me really abuse?"
Rewrite the false belief, "It didn't happen. I must have made it up." into a truth statement that acknowledges your experience of sexual abuse.
False belief: "It didn't happen. I must have made it up."
Truth statement: _______________________
You may have written something like, "I can only remember parts of the abuse. That's normal and I can accept what I remember as real." or "It happened only once but I know it was real."
Your memories are evidence that something was wrong. Do not let go of what is true, even if others respond with angry feelings or non-supportive attitudes. For you to tell your story is appropriate, especially for you to tell your story to someone who can help. You need to find supportive people who will listen and believe you. You are invited to share your story in the comments here or privately in an email. Share your feelings, especially when it's difficult! Sharing details and identities is not always necessary - focus on your feelings.
John 8:32, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."