Archive for January 11th, 2008

Plant (c) Lynda Bernhardt

In my last post, Working Through Shame After Child Abuse, I talked about how some forms of abuse are particularly degrading. Because of this, survivors of those forms of abuse might find it more challenging to overcome the shame involved from having been a victim of those forms of abuse.

Gang rape is one form of degrading abuse that is difficult for a person to work through. While a child might try to rationalize being raped by one person as that person being evil or insane, having a pack of people rape your body has no possible explanation. A group of people has decided together that you are nothing more than a sex toy to be exploited for their nefarious purposes, and you have no hope of escape. It is as if the people justify their actions as being okay because “everyone else is doing it.”

When a child is gang raped, there is no hope of escape. How can one little boy or girl possibly fend off several adults who could easily overpower the child one-on-one? And yet the child often walks away feeling as if she is responsible because there must be something wrong with her. She is the common denominator in this equation. There must be something so fundamentally wrong with her to incite a group of people to attack her in such a painful and degrading way.

Unfortunately, this thought process carries into adulthood. The child abuse survivor must find a way to come to terms with having been gang raped. This is not an easy thing to do.

If you have survived a gang rape, you are not alone. Unfortunately, gang rapes of children happen much more frequently than anyone wants to admit. You can heal from this pain. The gang rape was not your fault. There is nothing that a child could ever do to be responsible for falling victim to a gang rape. Your abusers are responsible for their own actions.

If you are not in therapy, I strongly recommend finding a qualified therapist with experience in counseling people who have been gang raped. Hearing a professional tell you that the rapes were not your fault is very powerful in helping to overcome the shame. The shame is not yours to bear.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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