When People Don’t Understand Sexual Abuse

Five Actions That Help Me:

I validate myself for every invalidation I get.

I remind myself of Dr. Brene Brown’s words “Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain”, meaning that the blame has every much to do with them being uncomfortable and not with my actions.

I cry to let out the pain.

I pray and read chapters in the Tehillim where Dovid Hamelech poignantly expresses the depth of his pain.

I spend quality time doing something that brings me joy.


Four Of The Comments They Have Said:

“Well, you could have told someone”

“You chose to stay silent”

“Most of my friends were sexually abused and aren’t hurt like you. You need to get over it.”

“You didn’t give me details yet so I don’t know if you were abused” (By a new therapist).


Three Absolutes I Remind Myself Of:

I am not to blame.

Hashem is by my side.

JCW is with me.


Two Profound Thoughts That Combat My Pain:

The less they know the more they think they know.

When people say such comments they are usually emotionally insensitive, ignorant, or emotionally unintelligent in life or about sexual abuse. The truthful weight of their words is none, and if they were educated and aware about sexual abuse they would feel ashamed of uttering such words.


One Resilient Promise I Made To Myself:

The more blame I get, the more I will appreciate my survival, story, and self.


By Devorah Goldstein

Posted in media, op-eds, survivors-letters.

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