Why Did This Happen?
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, most likely you have asked yourself this question over and over again. Chances are, the question has taken different forms and may have been phrased in some of these ways:
Why did he (she) do this to me? (this may be followed up with: I thought he [she] loved me?)
Why did he (she) hurt me? (may be followed up with: I thought he [she] cared about me?)
Why didn’t they protect me?
How can an all-loving God have permitted this terrible thing?
The most important thing to understand is that it is not your fault. There is absolutely nothing you did to deserve this. If you were a child, there is nothing you could have done to prevent this.
Rape is about power, control and sometimes rage. It is not about how you look, what you were wearing or what you said or did. Manipulation is often a byproduct of control. So your abuser may have told you any or all of these things:
You look so pretty.
You wanted it.
You asked for it.
You’re so beautiful, I couldn’t help myself.
You led me on with the way you dressed.
These comments may be made to a four-year-old girl in a long-sleeved nightgown. How could she have wanted it? She didn’t even know what “it” was. When we look at the situation from this perspective, we see how ludicrous the comments become. But to that four-year-old girl in the beautiful, innocent pink nightie who may feel “Princess beautiful” and believes the people around her who are supposed to love and protect her, the truth is not obvious. She believes because her young mind can’t understand why this happened to her, can’t make sense of it and so her mind listens to what the adult or older abuser is telling her – that she must be the cause.
I cannot say this often enough – because I know how hard it is to erase the tapes you’ve played over and over again in your head – it is not your fault. You did not cause this.