“Why do we not hear the truth? Because we do not speak it.”
There are numerous complicated and uncomfortable dynamics involved in child sexual abuse. One of the most difficult facts for adults to comprehend, is that the child is not always against the attention the abuse brings or the physical pleasure it can create; and when the sexual acts have already been introduced by the perpetrator under the guise love, the child often asks for more.
Sexually abused children often respond positively to the attention that goes along with being molested because children require love and affection. The grooming is often in such a way that the child has no idea they are a victim until they have become one. They might continually go back to their abuser because they don’t understand it’s abuse. All the child knows is they are receiving affection and that it feels good.
Another uncomfortable fact is that, occasionally, victims will only disclose the abuse to an authority figure out of jealousy when the abuser turns to a younger sibling, or when the abuser finds a ‘better’ victim.
If the first victim catches the abuser with a sibling or another child, the jealousy can overwhelm them. The victim can become enraged over the feelings of betrayal because they thought they were the only one receiving “special love” from the perpetrator. The child might experience deep confusion and can feel as though their abuser is cheating on them. The primary victim might reveal the molestation to an authority figure, out of anger, not to protect themselves or the other child. Former FBI agent and expert in the field of child sex crimes, Ken Lanning, says “They disclose because the abuse has ended, not to end the abuse.”
One survivor told me that she did not reveal the incest until she realized that her father had been visiting her baby sister’s room as well. She distinctly remembers that it was only out of jealousy that she told an adult. She still struggles with self-hatred and cannot forgive herself. This kind of experience can leave an abuse victim with decades of repressed guilt and shame.
Children commonly engage in the sexual abuse in order to obtain gifts, money, or affection. Studies also show that children, who are being traumatized, may grow attached to the very person who is terrorizing them. They do so out of a natural need for protection and comfort when there is no other source for these vital human needs. Victims can form strong emotional ties with their tormentor, even to the point of marrying their captors, having sex with their kidnapper, or paying their perpetrator’s bail.