Unrealistic Guilt


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


Here’s another huge counseling issue.  Yesterday’s prompt, assumption, took me to marriage counseling.  Today, this word takes me to the ugly realm of abuse.

I understand why victims of abuse feel guilt.  At least, I think I do.

The woman whose husband beats her for no discernible reason accepts the burden of guilt for his abuse. “I just need to be more careful,” she’ll say.  “It’s my own fault.  I aggravate him, and I need to try harder.”

Wrong at every level, but it’s nearly impossible to convince her that she is NOT guilty. Only when she “gets it” that he doesn’t beat up anyone else will she begin to question his right to knock her around whenever he feels the need of a punching bag.  He can control himself at work or anywhere else but all his anger and aggression gets unleashed on her.

She is not the guilty one.

Image result for unreasonable guilt

Victims of sexual abuse often feel guilty. “I must have done something to make him/her think it was okay,” or “Well, I shouldn’t have been wearing shorts” (when I was three or four!) or “I was flirtatious” (when I was too young to know what that meant).

Unreasonable guilt. Sexual predators do what they do because they can. So, so many times I have told a suffering adult, molested as a child, “You are not defiled by what someone does to you against your will.  You are NOT impure. The offender is.  What he did is a felony!  You are not to blame. No matter what a demented society may say or think,  a predator ALWAYS has the choice NOT to sexually assault or abuse someone else.”

It makes me crazy when a woman who was raped becomes the guilty person in the eyes of so many people.  “How was she dressed?  Was her skirt too short, her pants too tight, her top too low?  Where was she?  Why was she alone?  She was probably asking for it.  She probably enjoyed it.”

Good grief.  Rape is a crime of power, not lust.  It is a violent assault, and it makes a woman into nothing but a piece of meat.  Rape has been perpetrated on NUNS,  who are totally modestly clothed and, I promise you, were not “asking for it” nor “enjoying it.”

It shocks me, every single time and even though I’ve lived long enough to know better, that when a woman is raped, she has to endure the torture of being put on the witness stand and being exposed in her most personal, private life if she dares to report the crime and bring the predator to justice.

And please don’t give the tired old argument that sometimes women lie and accuse innocent men. Yes, that does–rarely–happen, and it’s appalling. The topic here, though is not the innocent man who is accused;  it is the innocent girl or woman who is assaulted, and then assaulted again when she reports it; the one who lives with a burden of guilt that society gleefully allows her to carry.

I hate it.  Really hate it.





9 thoughts on “Unrealistic Guilt

  1. Very well written post, Linda! I myself am a sexual abuse survivor. From the time I was 14 until I ran away from home at almost 17, my step-father molested me. This was after years of physical abuse he put me through since I was 4, beating my bare butt with a belt. He beat me bloodied and black and blue when I tried to run away when I was 8. My mother disowned me when it came to light what happened, after I went to the police after I ran away. I carried that guilt for years, and laid it to rest with a bottle of tequila several years ago when he died. Thank you Linda, I was wondering what I was going to write about guilt for prompt today, and now I know.

    I hope you have a great day, happy writing to you! Jenn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jenna, that’s a heartbreaking story. Poor little girl, at the mercy of an evil man. I’m so sorry you had to endure it.

      One of the most important things you can do, for your own peace of mind, is to begin the process of forgiving him. Not that he deserves it, but that you need to release yourself from bitterness against him.

      thank you for sharing your story with me. I will pray for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. please read my word prompt post that I linked you today…you inspired to face it and bring it to light. He is dead now, to which I have zero remorse about feeling happy about! Thank you for inspiring me to be brave and to share my story for those who may feel like they are forced to be silent.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this post. As a survivor of abuse and assault, I hesitate to post encouraging messages for women, because we are made to feel the guilt and shame of acts perpetrated against us. I pray people reading your blog will stop and reflect on their beliefs and start being the change needed.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: The Thought Gallery

  4. Write it! I poured my heart out I a 1400 plus word blog today about it, and I feel a bit better, bringing those demons to light Be the courage that others wish they could be and you will inspire them to speak their voices! I’m sorry you went through abuse like that!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate it, too. And I was hopeful that things may be changing as evidenced by the Larry Nassar trial, until I read about the Show Dogs movie. Lord have mercy.

    But, this morning I read, thanks to moms speaking up, it is being pulled from theaters and the dangerous messages are being edited out. So good. But what kind of sick wrote them in in the first place. Millstones, we need a larger supply of millstones. Here’s the follow up article in case you’re interested.


    With regard to spousal abuse, I’m guessing that many of the women who take on their husband’s guilt learned to do so as a child at the hands of a parent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the link. I’ve heard a little about this movie, but have no intention of seeing it. Still, I’d like to know the scoop when parents in my office have questions.

      And you’re right about the abuse thing. It’s true that we often are attracted to what we already know. Sad.


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