Childhood Child on child sexual abuse - is blame necessary?

beaneeboo

Confident
So about 33 years ago, when I was 9 / 10 I had a close friendship with a boy around the same age (no more than a year older)... we spent alot of time together... including many sleep overs...he told me he had something really amazing to show and do with me ...I don't remember if he told me it was sexual in nature... or where he'd seen it himself...I knew enough to know I wasn't sure and I didn't think I should... but he continued to try to convince me to go along with it... so eventually I let him... it went on for quite a time...I would guess minimum months... maximum over a year, on a regular basis...

I learnt how to orgasm... how to be stimulated in a manner of different ways... although I don't think he could have penetrated me in any adult way with his own private parts, he certainly got me to do a number of sexual acts and penetration was involved...(without knowing I know he must have been acting abuse or things he'd seen himself)

He told me I was so beautiful and I remember feeling like I was being looked after...I felt wanted and I felt loved and, ironically, protected by him...

But I was at that age where I was becoming increasingly aware of the secrecy and a feeling of shame guilt and fear that we'd be found out... I started telling him I thought we should stop but he didn't think so... I remember him coming across as desperate to continue... it was almost like what we were doing was a drug for him...a need... that i should be forfilling... feeding...and I increasingly felt objectified... not that I knew that at the time- it just felt wrong...

I was petrified of becoming pregnant. I didn't really know how everything worked but I made a pact with God - if God made sure I don't get pregnant I'd forfeit ever being able to have any children later on....

I then realised I had to make it stop. And when I did I was met with anger. Frustration. That I was doing wrong by taking this relationship away from him - the sexual contact away from him. He threatened to tell my brother and in fact he did (by tricking me allowing my brother to hear our convo on the phone when I didn't know he was listening).

It's taken alot of therapy. Alot of incredibly dark moments in my life. Alot of self harm. A split sense of self and a life time of hidden shame has ruined alot of what my life could have been.

I spent most of my life denying my experience as abuse because he was a child too and the same age as me. That it wasn't violent. That there was no physical coercion. But all these facts just added to the difficulty in accepting my experience as being not just traumatic but life changing.... damaging...

For anyone wondering whether their experience is child on child sa... please know that age, whether there was coercion or not whether there was violence or not doesn't change how damaging or serious your experience was... think of it like this. We all have boundaries - physical / spiritual/ emotional / sexual / psychological boundaries... if they are violated in any way, it's irrelevant who has violated them (in terms of deciding whether it's trauma or not)... when boundaries are crossed they are crossed... I don't think there was intent to hurt. But I still got very damaged from this experience.

What I want to know is, is there any forum for child on child sa survivors out there? I would love to discuss where people think healing can go when the person who abused you maybe didn't understand themselves the damage they were doing...or didn't intend to hurt... and have diminished responsibility because they were a child. How can I be angry at this person - I think they were just sharing the load of what was most likely happening to them and trying to understand it themselves... I have no one to blame or be angry at. Is blame necessary for healing?
 
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OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
Is blame necessary for healing?
I know it would be nice to get a black and white answer—seems so simple—someone tells you yes or no and then you can move on.

My answer is that it’s both. Sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it’s not. It depends on where you’re at in your recovery. I think the beauty of the therapeutic relationship is that you can explore all angles of your question, try different answers and see how your body-mind reacts through the week holding onto a certain position.

Even adult criminal offenders have a whole life of conditioning and illnesses and environmental effects that contribute to their decisions. Blame is rarely a closed case—there are always circumstances affecting a situation. It is a helpful concept sometimes, especially from a grief perspective. Little kids say, “You made me sad!” Then as adults we learn a different perspective. Children still make decisions and still hurt people.

It might be helpful for you to put blame on your abuser or it might not. It might be helpful to put blame on them for a while then that might shift. There is no hard answers as there are too many variables.
 

Roland

MyPTSD Pro
You aren’t in alone in how you feel, I’ve heard many people sharing similar experiences. I don’t know if there’s a forum specific for child on child, but there’s been many posts here about it. I don’t think blame is necessary to heal at all. The child who hurt you, definitely hurt you, but he was also hurt. It wasn’t his fault, when he didn’t know what he was doing. I don’t know but I think even if kids so young “consent” it would still likely be traumatizing, because it’s too young to be having sex.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
I think this question is ultimately a semantic one. Are children capable of having mens rea to the standard of an adult, and should they be treated as adults when they commit "adult" felonies? For this question I can look to my own behavior as a child, and even as a teenager, and identify that my mens rea ("guilty mind," or intention to commit a crime) was not the same as it now is. Nevertheless, I had enough cognizance to make intentional decisions to harm others, with that goal in mind. To say that my victims had mens rea for my actions would be silly - they did not participate in this decision in any way, and were damaged by it.

David Crane, the prosecutor for the Taylor trials, put the cut off for mens rea (the people that he chose to prosecute) at around fifteen years of age - children who committed atrocities but were under the age of 15 were not pursued and instead were engaged in DDR programs. When I was 14-17, I also participated in one of these programs in my own province, and even at the age of 17, while actively participating in therapy that was directly intended to convey the full and total linear understanding of cause and effect - my mens rea was not the same as it is at age 31.

I simply had no capacity to truly and fully grasp the consequences of my actions as they were. If I had been prosecuted and thrown into an adult prison, I would have been subjected to an environment that was simply not proportional to my actions - due to my developmental (emotional and psychological) delays. Instead of unlearning harmful and damaging behavior and becoming prosocial, my violent impulses would have continued to benefit me for the duration of my incarceration, and that would have transformed me into a brutal adult.

My therapist, a forensic clinician, agrees with me - blaming me the same way one would blame the adults who forced me to participate and who rewarded me for brutality, would not confer any benefit to anyone. Blaming my abusers, on the other hand, I also feel is simply not that relevant? They ultimately were a product of their neurobiology and their environment. It interferes with my peace process to continue to express malice toward them, when they are not a factor of my life any longer.

It is more important to me to contextualize their behavior and put it in its proper place, and then move forward with my existence, than it is to continue to pick at and ruminate on rage. Though, I suppose in some ways, anger is necessary at least partly to that process - you are angry because you recognize that you were mistreated, and that you should not have endured those experiences. Someone else was using you as a tool to work out their "stuff" and in so doing, has affected the remainder of your life (with PTSD). Experiencing anger at that is fundamental to identifying yourself as a victim, or survivor, who holds zero blame in these events.

None of that is small potatoes. But you ask if it is necessary to blame - this depends on how you define "blame." Is it necessary for you to hate and suffer rage toward this individual? Is it necessary to assign the responsibility of their actions solely to them, rather than yourself? Is it necessary to assign only the amount of responsibility that they could have feasibly held as a child under the age of 15, and consider them as a flawed human being as opposed to a sadistic monster? This is a question that is individual to each victim.

All I can say is that I encourage every person to pursue the process of internal peace, so that they are not bound to endless cycles of torment.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
One of the people who abused me was a child. We were 11/12. I also think he was acting out abuse. He suddenly disappeared from school. I don't know if he was taken into care or what happened to him. I heard, as an adult, he was in prison. I also heard he did it to someone else.

I have no idea if he knew what he was doing was wrong. I don't know if he was capable of caring either way.
I don't blame him. But then, I had trouble blaming anyone for anything, other than myself.


However, I still toy with the idea of going to the police , so maybe not blame but responsibility? Accountability?
He still did what he did.
It still hurt me immensely.
And it set me up, amongst other things that set me up, for more abuse.

I feel sad for him.
But it doesn't excuse or negate the consequences of what he did to me.

So is blame necessary for healing? I think being angry is. Letting that anger out. I see blame as part of anger. And then moving on to acceptance, which is then letting go of blame and moving to accountability. If that makes any sense?
 
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Friday

Moderator
I have no one to blame or be angry at. Is blame necessary for healing?
There are countless causes of PTSD that don’t have someone to blame / no one is responsible for. People recover from those traumas without needing to find someone/something to be angry at or blame.

In those cases the only blame needing sorting would be the misplaced kind.
 

beaneeboo

Confident
I know it would be nice to get a black and white answer—seems so simple—someone tells you yes or no and then you can move on.

My answer is that it’s both. Sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it’s not. It depends on where you’re at in your recovery. I think the beauty of the therapeutic relationship is that you can explore all angles of your question, try different answers and see how your body-mind reacts through the week holding onto a certain position.

Even adult criminal offenders have a whole life of conditioning and illnesses and environmental effects that contribute to their decisions. Blame is rarely a closed case—there are always circumstances affecting a situation. It is a helpful concept sometimes, especially from a grief perspective. Little kids say, “You made me sad!” Then as adults we learn a different perspective. Children still make decisions and still hurt people.

It might be helpful for you to put blame on your abuser or it might not. It might be helpful to put blame on them for a while then that might shift. There is no hard answers as there are too many variables.
Thank you OliveJewel... being reminded that searching for black and white hard answers isn't helpful for healing - its good to remind myself of this...

I've held on for so long that because there was probably little intent to hurt that it wasn't abuse. That abuse requires intent to be abuse. But I'm slowly shifting my thinking on this. Sometimes language is important to match how we feel about our situations. I can relate to the word trauma.

You aren’t in alone in how you feel, I’ve heard many people sharing similar experiences. I don’t know if there’s a forum specific for child on child, but there’s been many posts here about it. I don’t think blame is necessary to heal at all. The child who hurt you, definitely hurt you, but he was also hurt. It wasn’t his fault, when he didn’t know what he was doing. I don’t know but I think even if kids so young “consent” it would still likely be traumatizing, because it’s too young to be having sex.
Thanks Roland. Ithink the whole blame thing came from me wanting to know whose fault it was ... but that's from a childish pov....Yes I think a 9 year old consenting to sex or anything of a sexual nature where the aim is to be stimulated for someone else's gratification isn't really consent like you say. They can't (i couldn't) understand what those experiences would do to me when I said yes. I also didn't know how to use my voice to stop when I didn't want to be involved... until the damage was done.

I think this question is ultimately a semantic one. Are children capable of having mens rea to the standard of an adult, and should they be treated as adults when they commit "adult" felonies? For this question I can look to my own behavior as a child, and even as a teenager, and identify that my mens rea ("guilty mind," or intention to commit a crime) was not the same as it now is. Nevertheless, I had enough cognizance to make intentional decisions to harm others, with that goal in mind. To say that my victims had mens rea for my actions would be silly - they did not participate in this decision in any way, and were damaged by it.

David Crane, the prosecutor for the Taylor trials, put the cut off for mens rea (the people that he chose to prosecute) at around fifteen years of age - children who committed atrocities but were under the age of 15 were not pursued and instead were engaged in DDR programs. When I was 14-17, I also participated in one of these programs in my own province, and even at the age of 17, while actively participating in therapy that was directly intended to convey the full and total linear understanding of cause and effect - my mens rea was not the same as it is at age 31.

I simply had no capacity to truly and fully grasp the consequences of my actions as they were. If I had been prosecuted and thrown into an adult prison, I would have been subjected to an environment that was simply not proportional to my actions - due to my developmental (emotional and psychological) delays. Instead of unlearning harmful and damaging behavior and becoming prosocial, my violent impulses would have continued to benefit me for the duration of my incarceration, and that would have transformed me into a brutal adult.

My therapist, a forensic clinician, agrees with me - blaming me the same way one would blame the adults who forced me to participate and who rewarded me for brutality, would not confer any benefit to anyone. Blaming my abusers, on the other hand, I also feel is simply not that relevant? They ultimately were a product of their neurobiology and their environment. It interferes with my peace process to continue to express malice toward them, when they are not a factor of my life any longer.

It is more important to me to contextualize their behavior and put it in its proper place, and then move forward with my existence, than it is to continue to pick at and ruminate on rage. Though, I suppose in some ways, anger is necessary at least partly to that process - you are angry because you recognize that you were mistreated, and that you should not have endured those experiences. Someone else was using you as a tool to work out their "stuff" and in so doing, has affected the remainder of your life (with PTSD). Experiencing anger at that is fundamental to identifying yourself as a victim, or survivor, who holds zero blame in these events.

None of that is small potatoes. But you ask if it is necessary to blame - this depends on how you define "blame." Is it necessary for you to hate and suffer rage toward this individual? Is it necessary to assign the responsibility of their actions solely to them, rather than yourself? Is it necessary to assign only the amount of responsibility that they could have feasibly held as a child under the age of 15, and consider them as a flawed human being as opposed to a sadistic monster? This is a question that is individual to each victim.

All I can say is that I encourage every person to pursue the process of internal peace, so that they are not bound to endless cycles of torment.
Thank you Weemie... Wise words.. particularly to pursue the process of inner peace...

I don't view this person as a sadistic monster.... I do believe he was driven by something greater than he could control to process the urge he had to work their his own need for sexual gratification... regardless of his age...or the reason... but I can't blame him in the same way I would if he'd have been much older or an adult...

One of the people who abused me was a child. We were 11/12. I also think he was acting out abuse. He suddenly disappeared from school. I don't know if he was taken into care or what happened to him. I heard, as an adult, he was in prison. I also heard he did it to someone else.

I have no idea if he knew what he was doing was wrong. I don't know if he was capable of caring either way.
I don't blame him. But then, I had trouble blaming anyone for anything, other than myself.


However, I still toy with the idea of going to the police , so maybe not blame but responsibility? Accountability?
He still did what he did.
It still hurt me immensely.
And it set me up, amongst other things that set me up, for more abuse.

I feel sad for him.
But it doesn't excuse or negate the consequences of what he did to me.

So is blame necessary for healing? I think being angry is. Letting that anger out. I see blame as part of anger. And then moving on to acceptance, which is then letting go of blame and moving to accountability. If that makes any sense?
Thank you for sharing your experience MovingForward.... ican relate to some of what you say...esp feeling sad for him..what you said makes sense..

I think my stumbling block is that because I feel I can't blame him due to the age he was and his diminished responsibility...I therefore can't be angry with him... I think I could relate more to being angry to whatever or whoever caused him to action his abuse towards me... though if I think really deep down I can feel disgust and anger towards him... but it's not accessible.

There are countless causes of PTSD that don’t have someone to blame / no one is responsible for. People recover from those traumas without needing to find someone/something to be angry at or blame.

In those cases the only blame needing sorting would be the misplaced kind.
Thanks Friday. I hadn't really considered this openly. That's useful
 
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