In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 2 – Guilt and Shame

Crying child, Author Asad Amjad ChangEzi (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

‘If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in Me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea’ ” (Matt. 18: 6).

It is easier for children to believe they “deserve” the evil done to them, than to take in the fact an adult who should care for them actually has little or no regard for their well-being.

The Statute of Limitations and other obstacles can make it difficult to hold child abusers and molesters accountable legally.  Even with a conviction, however, the feeling of “sinfulness” may rebound from an abuser to his victims.

This in no way implies that they were at fault.  Victims, however, relive the trauma of having been treated as worthless. They are often left with a vague sense of unworthiness that can permeate their lives, and undermine subsequent relationships.

Though this feeling of their own “sinfulness” can be overwhelming to abuse victims, the conclusions they draw from it are not accurate.  Victims did not warrant or invite the abuse.  They remain deserving of love.

The feeling of “sinfulness” is just one of the scars left in the wake of abuse.  Other symptoms can include anxiety, depression, alcohol or drug addiction, eating disorders, and sexual dysfunction.  These behaviors either stem from the pain or are attempts to numb it.  All of them “punish” the victim, who was never at fault in the first place!

The symptoms of abuse may, themselves, become a cause of shame to victims.  Self-destructive behaviors shift the focus away from the abuse, while silently declaring it to the world.  Imperfect as coping mechanisms, these behaviors can have dire consequences but are, in effect, a cry for help.

Originally posted 7/7/13

Of NoteA Vatican tribunal has found Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Guam guilty of abusing minors and removed him from office.  Apuron was suspended in June 2016 following accusations that he sexually abused altar boys as a parish priest during the 1970s.

Thus far, the Archdiocese of Guam has been named in 159 sex abuse lawsuits involving Apuron and others.



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

10 responses to “In the Aftermath of Abuse, Part 2 – Guilt and Shame

  1. bethanyk

    I hope this man in Guam sits in jail the reminder of his days.
    Can you imagine what Jesus must think after the words he spoke of the little children. I was thinking of this just yesterday

  2. Compounded/compounding trauma…God help those impacted…prayers for healing and release…thank you for your continued advocacy and compassion, my friend.

  3. One of the great misfortunes of having an “open society” like that which exists in America today, is that there is little if anything left uncovered or exploited. The news accounts of the vile clergy sexual predation that continues to fester relatively unchecked bring to light things that no person, especially innocent children should ever have to contend with.

    There seems to be, however, no end to this type of abuse. The government enacted laws cannot stop it, entire units of police and FBI cannot stop it, and not only can the Church not stop it, she is a primary contributor to the problem!

    One is prone to ask how in the world has this madness come upon us? These little ones which are so innocent, so precious in His sight, are like lambs before the shearer, helpless to withstand what is about to happen to them.

    Praise be to God however, there is coming a day when every tear will be wiped away and the former things will be remembered no more. In that day the nightmares will cease. Until then all we can do is be diligent, keep our eyes open for signs of abuse, and report it. Saving even one child from a lifetime of recurring torment is worth any efforts on our part.

    • I wholeheartedly agree. We must put whatever safeguards we can in place to protect our children, and must deal severely with infractions of this kind. Tragically, we will never eliminate evil.

  4. This hits very close to home.

    I pray that you are well, Anna.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.