There are a myriad of reasons why children don’t tell, but almost always, an abuser must mentally and emotionally brainwash a child in order to perpetrate. It can be heartbreaking to learn what abusers say and make children think during the abuse.
- The child may not be old enough to understand that they are being abused. It may seem normal or loving.
- The abuse often may “feel good” to their body and they feel ashamed by this. Too many victims do not understand that they cannot control physical response to sexual stimulation. They feel responsible for allowing it to feel good and this misconception leads them to feel guilty for “participating” in the act.
- They feel they allowed the abuse, they feel ashamed and blame themselves for lacking the courage to say no.
- They fear not being believed.
- They fear disappointing their parents that they have somehow “allowed” the abuse to occur, that they are to blame. (Abusers may even tell them this.)
- If it is a family member, they are often afraid of disrupting the family. They feel obligated to keep it a secret to keep the family together.
- The abuser may make the victim feel responsible for satisfying their sexual needs – that the child is the only one that can do this for them, that it is necessary for the abuser to relieve stress to make them feel better and to help them through the day.
Sections on this page have been adapted from TheMamaBearEffect.