6 truths about “forgiving” sexual abuse

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People who are sexually abused are very often, however subtly or overtly, pressured to forgive their assailants. (A subject which, as you might know, has lately come up here.) If you are in any way burdened by the notion that you are not, as comprehensively as you or others feel that you’re obliged to, forgiving the person who sexually abused you, please consider these six truths about forgiveness (which, being universal, hold as true for the Christian as they do anyone else).

1. You don’t have to forgive anybody. This idea that you must forgive the person who sexually abused you is the worst kind of vapid nonsense. You can forgive your abuser, if and when you want to. You’re also perfectly free to never forgive your abuser. The former is not necessarily better—it’s not necessarily any more moral—than the latter. What’s most moral is whatever works best for you. You’re the one who got hurt. You get to decide what your attitude is toward the person who hurt you, and no one but you (and especially not anyone whose opinion about it you haven’t asked) should have jack to say about it. If you ever feel like forgiving your abuser (whatever “forgiving” in this context actually means—and the people who use that infernally vague word in this context invariably have little if any idea what the heck they actually mean by it: usually they just like the Oprahesque way it sounds), you’ll know you feel that way. Until/if you do feel that way, everyone else can just wait on the party to which no one’s invited them anyway.

Remember: anyone—be they family, friend, sibling, pastor, therapist … anyone—who in even the slightest way pressures you to forgive your abuser before you’re good and ready to do that, is at best tragically ignorant, and at worst harboring their own terrible reason for desiring that your pain vaporize away into a warmly glowing mist of sunshine, unicorns and rainbows. They want that to happen for their sake. For your sake, ignore them. You’ve got reality to deal with. And reality actually dealt with beats fantasy every time.

2. Forgiveness isn’t one-size-fits-all. We can only forgive for something done against us; forgiveness has no meaning outside the context of a specific offense. And offenses very definitely come in degrees. Cutting you off in traffic is one kind of offense; raping you is an entirely different order of transgression. Never allow yourself to be cajoled into feeling guilty or spiritually inadequate by the treacle that healing and forgiving are inseparable. Saying that you can’t be healed unless you’ve forgiven your abuser is like saying that a cut can’t be healed as long as visible scar tissue remains. And insisting that an abused person “forgive” their abuser before they are fully healed from that abuse is like insisting that a person skip rope before their broken leg is fully mended. It can only make things worse.

Healing-wise, what the abuse victim can do is reach a point where they fully understand what happened to them; a point, that is, where their negative feelings about their abuser are neutralized by their comprehension and appreciation of how and why their abuser was rendered so dysfunctional that ultimately they were compelled to commit the crime they did. And for the victim that understanding renders essentially superfluous the whole idea of them forgiving their abuser; then “forgiving” has no applicable or relevant context. For them, then, what happened simply happened. It’s over.

3. Abusers of children depend upon the complicity-induced guilt of their victims. Sex abusers of children are evil. And if there’s one thing evil understands, it’s what its most effective weapons are. And when it comes to keeping his victims emotionally weak and suitably complicit, the child abuser knows that his chief weapon is the guilt that his sexual actions generate in his victims.

Children yearn to please (for the sake of this conversation) their fathers. They want their fathers to love them. They innately trust their fathers. A sexually abused child doesn’t at first know that they’re being sexually abused; all they know is that their father is paying special and even loving attention to them. And as confused in the moment as the child is about what their father is doing to them, part of what breaks through to the child’s consciousness is that, on a strictly physical level, some of it feels pretty good. And the moment avidly awaited by any child abuser is the moment in which the child he is molesting feels any physical pleasure at all. Because he knows that the second the child so much as responsively squirms, or in any way moves to encourage his touch, he has created in that child the victim that he is after. He knows that from that moment on the child can never, and especially not to herself, claim that she didn’t like it. That she didn’t want it. That she didn’t encourage it. Now, inevitably, and in very short order, she will come to think of herself exactly as he wants her to: as a worthless slut good for nothing but providing him sexual pleasure. And, just like that, he’s got her. Because now she won’t tell anyone what’s happening between the two of them, because now she’s certain to be too ashamed to. Because now, in her heart of hearts, she believes that it’s her fault.

The abuser got the physical response that he knew perfectly well he would; and that inevitable response automatically becomes the perfect, self-obliterating weapon that his victim will never have any choice but to continuously turn upon herself. And, just like that, he’s secured for himself a quiet, pliant toy that he is free to abuse at will.

The real crime of sexual abuse isn’t physical; it’s psychological, emotional, spiritual. You make someone despise who they are sexually—which is at the very core of the identity of all of us—and you’ve created damage that easily lasts for generations.

If you yourself have been the unhappy recipient of such a tragic legacy, the last thing on earth you need to worry about is forgiving your abuser. For now, you have no obligation but to keep on telling yourself God’s greatest truth, which is that you are absolutely not the wickedly depraved person whom your abuser methodically and carefully tricked you into believing you are. Your innocence was unnaturally destroyed, and you were left to build your identity and life upon the dreary remains of that destruction. That’s bad luck for you, for sure. But what happened to you is not your fault. It’s his, and his alone. And you do not have to spend the rest of your life dwelling like a criminal in the dark, dank hovel to which your abuser condemned you, and within which he depended upon you remaining. No. The light outside is calling you. And you are free to step out into it, the same as anyone else.

4. Asking for forgiveness doesn’t mean deserving it. The fact that a person asks you to forgive them in no way obliges you to extend to them your forgiveness. If your abuser tells you that he feels bad about what he did to you, then: A) Whoopee for him; and B) That’s not your problem. It’s not your job to make better the life of the person who made your life hell. If your abuser feels bad about abusing you, then let him go off somewhere by himself and feel as bad about that as, God knows, he should. If by some miracle he has come to feel remorse equal to his offense, then let him do his level best to prove that to you in whatever ways he thinks might. One of the first ways he can do that is by immediately making clear to you two things: that he doesn’t expect you to forgive him, and that he will absolutely honor your desire, should you express it, to completely remove himself from your life.

Never forget that abusers are typically superb at expressing sincere remorse for their actions and great affection for their victims. The reason they are so adept at this is because they’ve been practicing it for most of their lives.

5. Forgiving your abuser does not necessitate letting them back into your life. Forgiving your abuser does not, in any way whatsoever, oblige you to have, or continue having, a relationship with them. Period. Forgiving a snake for biting me doesn’t mean I have to again pick up that snake.

6. Forgiveness isn’t a constant state. Being sexually abused means being wounded at every level of your being. That means that sometimes you will in fact feel healed—which is likely to then bring washing over you great waves of forgiveness and even compassion for your abuser. But later—could be a day, week, or years later—you may find a wave of an altogether different sort pulling you back out to sea, where you will again find yourself cold, lost, and feeling as if you’re sinking. That whole back-and-forth dynamic is just part of the healing process. Victims of abuse commonly enough get trapped into believing that because they felt healed and benevolent on Tuesday, there’s something wrong with them if on Friday they’re back to feeling wounded and bitter. But there’s nothing at all wrong or strange about that phenomenon. Again, it’s just part of the process. Understanding, accepting, and even anticipating that kind of fluctuation in your feelings can leave you, even on your worst days, so close to the shore that you can actually relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy the swim back in.


If you were sexually abused, I cannot urge you strongly enough to buy, along with its workbook, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. It will change your life.


I am the author of:

Seven Reasons Women Stay in Abusive Relationships, and How to Defeat Each One of Them.

Kindle | Paperback | NookBook | Softcover, autographed and inscribed by author

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Andy

    Point #1 was actually the first thought that entered my mind when I read yesterday’s post. You articulated it very well, and I hope it resonates with people reading this post looking for answers. If someone else demands that you forgive someone and you aren’t ready to, it seems dishonest to tell them — or anyone else — that you’ve forgiven them. I think an insincere declaration of forgiveness is worse than none at all.

  • BarbaraR

    I think it’s much worse. The person who said it (the insincere forgiveness) knows they lied, and with all the other garbage they’re going through, now are living with that – and that they can’t rescind it.

  • Susan

    Hmm. On the previous thread, I nearly jumped in with the common view that forgiveness is about letting go of anger, that it’s for *you* rather than whoever sinned against you.

    Which is strange because I have 4 years of emotional and sexual abuse in my past from a sociopath, and I haven’t forgiven *him*. I stand by the assertion that forgive does not mean forget. It doesn’t mean you ever have to have the person in your life again. But it’s also not at all required for releasing your anger.

    I’m not angry about that past anymore, and I no longer feel guilty or weak for my inability to break the cycle of abuse myself. I am grateful for the events that ended it for me. I like to imagine that I could have done it on my own eventually.

    What I don’t do is feel anything positive at all toward my abuser. He’s still out there. I think he is still hurting people. If he showed any sign of repentance or change, I might be able to forgive him, though I’d still never want to see or speak to him. Without those things, I can’t see myself feeling anything positive toward him.

    I didn’t need to forgive *him*. I needed to forgive *myself*.

  • Sarah Spencer

    Points taken. I will consider your words, but for now…ultimate forgiveness in all manner of hurtful past is still the truth I hold onto.

  • BarbaraR

    You can believe whatever you choose. No one is going to try to take that from you.

    Someone is trying to heal from grievous abuse in multiple forms from those who should be loving and protecting her, She comes to this forum as a safe place to express what’s going on in her life without judgement. Then someone jumps in with their version of what God requires and demands of her – that’s extremely unhelpful at the least. At worst, it’s telling a victim that their soul is unclean and they need to repent. It’s piling salt and lemon on the wounds. And it’s pulling out the old, “I didn’t say it, God said it! Don’t blame me, it’s in the Bible!” card – usually with the ending, “But I say this with love.” People who have been through hell don’t need that kind of love.

  • Michelle Par

    So much deep material here. I think a lot of this also can easily apply to emotional abuse, too.

  • Susan

    Seems like part of his point is that sexual abuse IS emotional abuse. A subcategory, of course. There are many other ways to be emotionally abused.

    A lot of these general ideas apply to all kinds of forgiveness.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    These are the lessons I had to learn about forgiveness.

    Forgiveness is a choice, one we make, only us, no one else. We can only do it properlly if and when we are able, and not one moment sooner.

    To do it, to appease the emotions of someone else, is not going to help us. To do it, because the one who hurt us demands it, is not going to help us. To do it, because we are guilted into it, is not going to help us.

    To not be at that point of being able to forgive someone means, you are not ready. You’ve not reached the point in your personal healing where to do so is possible. Heal at the pace that is best for you, don’t rush it. You may or may not ever get to the point where forgiveness is the natural next step. Either way, it’s OK.

  • Snooterpoot

    For me, forgiveness is a process. I feel like forgiving the man who raped me removes any power he had over me. But I have also found that I have to forgive him over and over again. That doesn’t mean the forgiveness isn’t real, it just means it’s my way of dealing with the anger and pain.

  • paganheart

    It’s definitely a process, one that I am not sure ever fully ends. It’s like John said in #6 – some days good, other days bad. Eventually the good days outnumber the bad.

    I was bullied by a group of “mean girls” for pretty much my entire 8th grade year, and I still have dreams about it 30-plus years later. Some days, I can have compassion and empathy for my tormentors and feel forgiveness (or something like it) for them. Other days, I might as well be 13 years old and crying in the girls’ restroom again.

    I have friends and family members who have been victims of sexual abuse; one close friend of mine, who was abused by two different male relatives growing up, calls it “a wound that never fully heals.” She had an experience similar to what John describes in #1; a therapist who was so insistent that she *must* forgive her abusers, for their sake (!) and hers, that she finally stopped seeing him. A few years later, that particular therapist was stripped of his license after he was found to have had an “inappropriate relationship” with a client. (Surprise, surprise…)

  • Jenine Smith

    Wow. I’m currently going to a counselor right now. While she feels that at the moment I shouldn’t have to reconcile with my dysfunctional family, she’s focusing on all the positives about me and what little support I DO get from my father. About that therapist being stripped of his license after having a relationship with his client…..pathetic.

  • Eric Wheeler

    Well said.

  • Jenine Smith

    Amen to that. As I wrote in my main comment on this site, I realized that I may never get to that point of forgiving my sister. Not because I want to hold a grudge, but because I don’t think she deserves it for several reasons. She feels as though she did nothing wrong to me and is trying to fight dirty throughout this whole thing. To make matters worse, my grandmother just sided with this abuser. It’s horrible. However, I do realize that I need to heal from what happened and that’s what I’m trying to do in terms of getting counseling. Besides, the main reason why my family wants us to reconcile is for her benefit not mine. She was always the favorite on my mom’s side and my paternal grandmother warms up to her for whatever strange reason she has. This article has helped me realized not to get guilt-tripped into doing something I don’t want to do.

  • Pavitrasarala

    This is an area I’ve wrestled with, studied, and only recently started to come to terms with over many years. My beliefs boil down to this, based on my understanding of Scripture and a few other things I’ve experienced/learned along the way… y’all are welcome to take or leave them as you wish:

    Scripture says we are to forgive as God forgives. It also states that God does not forgive the unrepentant. He is a patient God, a merciful God, slow to anger and rich in kindness, as the Psalms say… but He ultimately will not forgive if someone refuses to repent.

    That said, I don’t believe God would expect us to do more than He would. Rhetorically speaking, how can God, let anyone else on this earth, forgive, when someone insists they have done no wrong? One could argue that in a way, the unrepentant offender creates their own obstacle to receiving forgiveness by lying (and in bearing false witness, adding another sin to their tally).

    Being repentant is about MUCH more than saying “I’m sorry” – anyone can say those words. It’s if they mean it. They show that through repentance – a change of the heart – and a willingness to make amends. I say willingness because sometimes it’s not possible to make direct amends, e.g., if you’ve lost touch through time, distance, or severed contact, or if the victim has died or is otherwise incapacitated. It is, of course, ideal to make amends where humanly possible.

    The definition of forgiveness that makes the most sense to me is to not act on a desire for revenge. Acting on a desire for justice, on the other hand, is more than acceptable, and I tire of hearing people say that to seek charges or out an abuser for what they are is somehow “vengeful” or “unforgiving.” You absolutely CAN forgive AND still want to see your offender pay their debt to you and to society for being a menace.

    Scripture uses the word aphesis frequently for the word forgiveness in original translations. Aphesis means to let go, dismiss, or send away.

    When God forgives within the context of aphesis, my understanding is that it means He dismisses you from your sin and lets you go free. I also have a personal take in that it can mean to dismiss someone from your mind and your heart.

    Note, too, that aphesis – to dismiss or send away – is NOT the same as reconciliation, which means to bring back together. Too many people try to argue that forgiveness means making nice, continuing a relationship with the abuser, and pretending everything is fine. No, no, and no. Forgiveness and reconciliation are nowhere near the same things – you can forgive and have nothing to do with the abuser again. In fact, many times, it’s necessary for the victim’s safety to cut off contact.

    I agree forgiveness may not be possible without healing first. Some people are able to forgive on the way to healing, but I know for me that just wasn’t possible. A therapist who treated me for PTSD summed it up perfectly when she said, “Don’t force yourself. You can’t forgive if it’s simply not there.”

    On that note, I also believe that forced forgiveness is not true forgiveness. That includes trying to force yourself to forgive because you feel guilty for betraying what you believe in the moment.

    An overwhelming number of studies have come out in recent years establishing that premature forgiveness has the potential to be very damaging. So we really do need to leave victims/survivors be in this department and let it be their choice.

    Worse yet, their abusers are often the ones in the front of the line demanding the victim forgive. What an evil thing to do when the abuser has already done so many terrible things to the victim and taken away so much power. Now they have the gall to force the victim to forgive so they don’t have to feel it on their conscience?

    Then we wonder why so many survivors become enraged, depressed, anxious, etc., when someone else not even involved in the situation and clearly without a clue argues that forgiveness will make it all better. Ugh.

    I have recently forgiven my abusers within my birth family, but to borrow from a friend, it wasn’t a “let’s all sing Kumbaya around the campfire” thing. It was releasing them to God when I was ready, after I had worked through my pain, after I had gotten to a point of healing that I was capable of it, after I reached a point of individuation from them that it was possible at all, and after MUCH thought, prayer, and discernment, because I wanted to make sure it was my choice, guided by the Holy Spirit, and that it would bring me peace, rather than anxiety.

    Again, I only came to this decision after years of wrestling with it and not being ready any sooner, and yes, I had some critics who tried to give me grief. Some were willing to back off after I explained what I believe and why, others… well, I pretty much had to tell them I wasn’t having that conversation with them anymore.

    Lastly, I have a friend who runs a ministry for adult daughters of abusive birth families. She strongly advocates that unforgiveness in the face of an unrepentant abuser is appropriate and Scripturally sound. You can look her up at luke173ministries.org if you’re interested. She was very helpful and supportive with my situation and that went a very long way.

  • http://www.whoaisnotme.net/anakinmcfly anakinmcfly

    I think the problem is that everyone is using a different working definition of ‘forgiveness’.

    “Healing-wise, what the abuse victim can do is reach a point where they fully understand what happened to them; a point, that is, where their negative feelings about their abuser are neutralized by their comprehension and appreciation of how and why their abuser was rendered so dysfunctional that ultimately they were compelled to commit the crime they did.”

    ^ That’s how I have always defined forgiveness. It’s about seeing the other person as human, not a monster; it’s about coming to that understanding where you’re no longer blinded with hate and fear. It’s not about deciding that what they did was okay, or agreeing to continue to have them in your life, or feeling obliged to make them feel better about themselves. Forgiveness should especially be willingly given out of one’s own volition, never done because it was demanded of you. It’s about understanding that they too were created and loved by God, and thus releasing them to God, finding that peace within yourself, and perhaps wishing that same for them.

    I realise that there have been different opinions in the comments, but for me at least, healing was impossible until I could let go of that bitterness and anger and desire for vengeance. Admittedly, I’ve never suffered sexual abuse, just emotional.

  • Libia Casas, LCSW

    Thank you. yes, we have several “versions” of forgiveness. I would not pressure anyone who doesn’t want to forgive to do so but the process of healing is the the process of letting go of the pain and anguish….. while working through this comes forgiveness and letting go of the pain and anguish. What I see as “forgiveness” is letting go and it’s for the “survivor” not for the abuser. It also does not mean that when the person forgives they are again connected or in a relationship with the abuser.

  • Dandhman

    I agree with anakinmcfly that this is a failure of the English language much like how we wrestle with Sinful versus just “Pride” or what we mean by “Love” when we use the same word for our spouses and our things.

    Back when Christ spoke about forgiving people seventy times seven times, law courts were truly a preserve of the rich.
    In Judaea an aggrieved person could petition the prefect or a centurion to
    intercede IN THEORY. Like in so many times and places people sought revenge.
    Feuds whether in tribal places today or back with the Hatfields and McCoys
    revenge begets revenge and the innocent die.

    It is truly a disfigurement of the soul when someone pursues revenge. the world empties of everything but the object of hate, and all the joy of life is ruined.

    I believe that Jesus meant us to eschew revenge when he asked us to forgive 70
    x 70 times. Otherwise he would be asking us to sile and do nothing to
    counteract the bad we encounter.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    i can forgive but/and it is very dangerous to trust someone who hasn’t changed. i got this from psychologist Robert grant’s book ‘spiritual wounds’

  • Andy

    I agree with this for sure.

    Just for an example, most of us probably know some people that have been abused by their partners. If a man beats his wife 70 times, and after each one of them, he apologizes profusely and (maybe) swears he’ll stop, should his wife forgive him 70 times? Should she trust him? Should she leave him? Does anyone really believe there won’t be a 71st time?

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    yes what can break this abuser codepenant cycle of constant crisis? when is enuff enuff? the 70×70 is maybe a code for a process redemption & recovery. ‘from glory to glory’ may mean inspired revelations of truth following human history to the present. I think god is still speaking to us corporately & personally. I think it takes what it takes for me to drop my assumptions & move into new territory where I am not defined by an obsession, projection, resentment, prejudice or control fantasy.

  • Dandhman

    Yes, YES!!! 100 times Yes! That’s it precisely Andy! To forgive the husband in the fullest sense of the term is pretty much a sin of omission.

    note to the forum: “Sin of omission”= sinning by failing to do good or your duty rather than by doing something evil.

  • BarbaraR

    I use this example for sin of omission: if your spouse asks you if you are having an affair with X and you say no, failure to admit that you are having an affair with Z equals sin of omission (among many other sins, but that is another story).

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    Don’t enact revenge. That makes so much sense, as it is a natural desire when someone has hurt us

  • Psycho Gecko

    That said, a little justice wouldn’t hurt. The statute of limitations on child molestation only starts running once the victim turns 18, I believe.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    Oh absolutely.

  • Maura Hart

    i’ve been following your blog for awhile and i just read your book about your conversion. and now this post. i am an incest survivor and as well as a survivor of violence by nuns. forgiveness? god? words fail me.

  • Dandhman

    I dont know what to say except, I really am sorry for what has happened to you. I really hope that you find peace.

  • Maura Hart

    whew. lotta lotta pain in this world. God’s got a lotta ‘splaining to do

  • http://www.theunderstandingapp.com Kevin Osborne

    Forgiveness could be said to be twofold. It is the decision to forgive, which can be made for any number of reasons. It is also process of forgiving, which is looking things over and releasing attention through understanding, to the point where one is no longer required to be stuck in unpleasant areas. The decision to forgive puts one on that path, and like so many such decisions, might not have been made if how difficult arriving at the end were realized at the beginning.
    My experience is the tougher the trip, the greater the reward. But as the author points out forgiveness must become one’s own decision, or the reason to accomplish it, personal freedom, will not be reached.

  • Tami B.

    I just made a blog post on this subject. It’s one thing that annoys, frustrates, and angers me to no end: Survivors being pressured to forgive! Forgiveness is not the focus and not the point. Healing is the focus and the point. If you can forgive at some point, then do so. If you can’t, then don’t.

  • Rivka Edery

    By far, this is the most brilliantly written article – A MUST – READ for every survivor of childhood sexual abuse, their treatment providers, caregivers, and friends. To “forgive” the perpetrator? Read this first before answering. The only ammendment I would make is that the physical damage is equal to the damage on every level. I shared this, immediately after reading it, with my social networks. I will keep sharing it as appropriate, because the question often comes up; mostly from survivors intensely wounded and insulted by OTHERS insisting that the survivor “get past it”. Those words are POISON! This article is the antidote. THANK YOU!
    -Rivka Edery, L.C.S.W,
    Author of” Trauma And Transformation : A 12-Step Guide ”.

  • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

    Thank you, Riva. I really appreciate this.

  • Rivka Edery

    John, I thank you so much for writing this! Within a short time of sharing this article, people began commenting on the power of your words, and concepts, presented herein. From mental health providers, advocates, and survivors: the gratitude and relief is palpatable. I feel passionate that someone finally verbalized the answer and TRUTH to this issue. No more must we live in a society that bastardizes sexual abuse: protect, defend, lie for, and minimize the perpetrators actions, while chasing away, dehumanizing, and humiliating the survivor. Your article is a serious catalyst in that direction, and I”m committed to sharing your work. God bless and love you always, John Shore. I consider you my spiritual friend.

    Sincerely,
    Rivka Edery

  • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

    My goodness. How terribly sweet of you!

  • paul

    I really like this article, and the discussion. As a survivor of incest, I too struggled with this issue…. to forgive or not forgive. For me it has all come down to ‘releasing’ the perpetrator from having any control over my life. In my case, the perpetrator was my own father, and through many years I have been releasing the anger, rage, pain, etc. and through doing so ‘forgiving’. He is not, nor will he ever be, in the active circle of my life again. However, that does not prevent me from releasing him to God, and hence ‘forgiving’ him. When I think of him now I am not filled with rage, pain, anger, etc., and really I just pity him. To me it will be a lifelong process, as new things come up I will continue releasing. Forgiveness to me is about letting go of the impacts of abuse in my life, therefore it is about releasing for me. Never ever for the benefit of the perpetrator.

  • Tim Lennon

    Thank you. It is such a breath of fresh air in the midst of those of us who have been cruelly injured by child sex abuse and hear that we must ‘forgive’ our abuser, reconcile, etc. Thank you.

  • Eric Wheeler

    I have found that forgiveness doesn’t have anything to do with the abuser. After I came to that point in my healing and allowed that to be washed out of my experience, I haven’t been swept out to sea since-btw, I got to find out from a friend how one of my abusers died. I am blessed to understand the difference between forgiveness and forgiving the unforgivable. It came down to releasing the power of the sexually abusive experiences and taking that power back. So many stay in that trance whether through emotions, intellectualizing, abusive relationships, self-induced depression, and various addictions. I don’t believe in the lie that I’m broken, injured, damaged, or any other nonsense that is proffered by the psychiatric community. Choices, oh my!

  • Kat craig

    I thought I had forgiven my abuser and he apologized and he died 6 months ago. He said he had left me a lot of money, which I didn’t ask for… well no money came after is death. Now I fear his apology was a lie! Is there no end to trying to heal?

  • Jenine Smith

    I’m so glad I came across this article. Recently, I just came out about being sexually molested by one of my older half-siblings. I had no idea it was incest ’til I got older and confessed to my mother what my stepfather did. The only reason why I never told our mother was because I still cared for her. I never thought I’d be confessing to my father what she’s done, but I did. Right now, I’m sort of feeling the pressure to “forgive” or at least “reconcile” from family members. My dad only does it whenever his own mother expresses doubt about my story. To make matters worse, my grandmother sided with my abuser of a sister because she told her a “sob story” about seeing a psychiatrist (she only did so at the urgency of CPS because I told my counselor I feel she is still a threat to other children). My sister can’t stand my grandmother, but has a nerve to talk to her now because she knows she’s been outed for what she’s done.

    It makes me angry because I know her dirty tricks. She tried to make it look like I’m coming after her because she has “more than me” in terms of money and a career. But, what does me having a job and or going to college has to do with my confession? I’m sick of everyone looking past what I said at my life. If I was on the same level as her, would my story be more believable? It’s disgusting. Honestly, I don’t care what happens to her, but I am not going to bow into pressure and forgive her knowing she isn’t sorry. Besides, no one’s looking at this situation from my perspective. If they took a walk in my shoes, then maybe they’d see my sister for the nasty demonic snake she really is. I used to think she was sorry for what she’s done, but now I know better. Each time we met, she kept harping over what I’m not doing with my life in terms of work and school. Last time we spent time together, she gave me this negative reassurance that not only would she not be there for me if dad were to pass but neither would anyone else. That’s when I realized it’s best we go our separate ways. To me, my sister will always be an abusive, manipulative, vile piece of scum.

    Her problem is that she needs something to make herself feel important (in this case money and material possessions). She knows she’s nothing. And I pray she gets exposed for what she did. I don’t need her and she doesn’t need me contrary to what others wanted to believe. I just need to go. In my case, forgiveness is not the key to healing. I know that if I do that, I’d just be covering up what she did. Everyone’s only suggesting it for her benefit and not mine. Screw her. Let her live with the forever guilt of molesting her own sister for so many years.