Shame & Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse victims feel the shame that the perpetrator should, but does not.

Sexual abuse is the only crime that has this effect.


Perps approach victims in two ways: power or persuasion.

The powerful perps are real but rare.

The persuasive ones are ubiquitous and operate remarkably undetected.

Persuasive perps abuse on the basis of relationship. Most often the perp is well known, loved, and trusted by the victim/bystanders alike. It is human to be vulnerable. It is also human to trust. It is inhumane to use vulnerability/trust to sexually abuse.

Victims may have the capacity to self protect to some degree but the trouble is that they don’t even know they need to. Very often victims will feel shame for trusting/loving the perp and not ‘stopping’ the abuse.

Sexual abuse is an avalanche of shame.

Human attachment needs are bona fide needs — they are not luxuries. Perps prey along these needs. Victims end up loathing their own humanity — even their own biology. Great is the gulf between what should have been to what was.

Shame and double shame.

Perps coerce victims to commit acts which betray their own deeply held moral code. This is called a moral injury. Ergo, not only is the victims trust betrayed, her attachment need abused, her body is breeched — her own moral code is used to condemn her.

Merciless shame.

There are no easy answers to this suffocation of shame from sexual abuse. By all accounts, it is a slow road home. I hope the load is made a little lighter by words to frame the fractures. Let’s keep tearing back the roof.

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