This perhaps is one of the most common questions we face and ask when we begin dealing with sexual abuse. How did he/she select me? Did I convey a vulnerability to him/her? Did I appear to want/need his/her attention? Was I unknowingly seductive?
Before we explore this further let me make one statement and fact- Nobody, absolutely nobody has the right to sexually abuse a child. It doesn’t matter how your actions were “perceived” by the adult. Nobody has the right to sexually abuse or molest a child, even if the perpetrator was able to manipulate you into consenting. It is wrong and criminal for an adult to do so.
But the question remains….how and why did the perpetrator select you? Most abuse does not happen at the hands of a stranger but most often the abuse is done by someone whom the child already knows and probably trusts.
It is most likely that the abuser gave a great deal of thought to his actions and probably set up the circumstances before touching or approaching you. Here are some possible reasons why he selected you.
–Some perpetrators will use anyone/anything:
Quoting John P. Splinter: Some men are willing to use any person for their own sexual gratification-even children. This person has serious personality dysfunctions and compulsions that drive him to acts that are immoral, damaging, and criminal. If you were a sexual abuse victim, your rights were denied in a manner that was against the law. You were violated by a male driven by compulsive, deviant behavior. Do you believe this? Or are you still defending your abuser as someone who couldn’t help themselves?
–You were a child: Perpetrators do not generally look for or seek out adult women of power and status, rather they usually look for women or children who have less power than they do.
– The abuser was able to isolate you: The perpetrator was able to coerce (force, persuade, manipulate, threaten, intimidate etc) you into remaining silent and not telling on him. Or maybe he knew that nobody would come to your rescue because you were unprotected.
–You were unprotected by informed adults: Perpetrators are able to spot children who are vulnerable, defenseless, unprotected and deprived or needy. When he tunes into this he becomes alert like a predator. If your parents are in some way absent he knows he can separate you from their support. Its very common that the lack of connection or support that you didn’t have as a child set you up. And he most likely saw your susceptibility and vulnerability as you being available to him so that he could abuse you. But you must understand that even though you may have been a child that was in need of emotional connection you did not seduce him. You did not ask for the abuse and you are not responsible for the abuse.
Like a young lamb, you were separated out of the herd by an accomplished predator, you were isolated from help and then abused. As John P. Splinter says: “ The fact that perpetrators, because of their own needs and desires, were able to “read” and isolate victims does not mean that their victims were sexually open to them. Victims are children and most perpetrators are adults.”
– Children are taught to be compliant: Quoting John P. Splinter: “ little girls are usually taught to be compliant and to obey adults. Little girls are not supposed to stand up and fight. Instead, they are supposed to be protected. In fact, within this culture little girls are frequently given less latitude for overt disobedience of adults than are little boys.”
I chose to share some of these things in hope that you will be able to see why you are not responsible for the abuse. You must realize that in no way did you seduce the abuser. I hope this gives you a better glimpse into the kind of child who is often selected by adult sex offenders. He was a criminal. Even if he was your father, at that moment when he chose to abuse you, violate and molest you, he was a criminal. Whoever he may have been that abused you – he took advantage of a weaker person…..he used you for his twisted purposes.
Remember that it doesn’t really matter how he chose you, the selection process is not your issue. Its his.
As a victim you are not responsible for the adult/perpetrator who robs and steals your innocence & self-esteem.
I will stop for now and later continue on with the next why question …..why did God let this happen and where was He?