When you ask the question, “Why me?” in essence, you are implying that you had, in some way, something to do with what happened. This very unhealthy brain conversation has to stop. The “Why me?”, implies that IF you had done something differently then he wouldn’t have chosen you. The “Why me?” is really asking yourself, “What did I do to make him do this to me?” Or “Why did it happen again?” or “Am I doing something wrong that makes these men do this to me?”
The answer is NO. You did nothing! HE did something. THEY did something.
By asking, “Why me?” you are suggesting that you have a label on your head that somehow signals bad men to come your way. This is wrong on every level. There is nothing about you that made this happen. There is nothing “different” about me that made men violate me. There is nothing different about you. It is not your fault. The fault lies solely on those men. It was their actions. It was their crime. They hold the accountability. They hold the blame.
I asked myself this question for years. I asked my husband why he thought men had done this to me. I thought it was because I was this quiet and meek girl. I thought that maybe my quietness attracted them. I thought that if I had had a stronger personality then it would have changed what happened. My husband helped me to understand that I could not change who I was. The sweet person that I am is the reason that he loves me. . He loves my personality. So, this same personality does not “attract” violence.. He helped me to understand that it had nothing to do with me.
I kept thinking, “Well, living on a lake, waterskiing almost every day, I was often in a bathing suit, since early on until I was 21 years old. I became a professional water skier which put me in a bathing suit for the entire day.” Did the bathing suit “signal” men to come and molest me? Did that invite men to attack me? Was it not my personality but just my environment?
The answer is clearly no. Our clothing cannot be an excuse for a man to commit a crime. There are no excuses for crimes against women. The way you walk, the way you dress, the way you dress at work… none of these things gives a man an excuse to violate you.
Here are my husband’s thoughts on this topic:
“Imagine driving your car down the road. You approach an intersection that has had a steady green light for 20 seconds. You’re obeying the speed limit. As you drive through the intersection, a truck runs the red light from the intersecting road. It slams into the right side of your car. It spins you 360 degrees, causing multiple injuries. The crash totals your car. The driver of the truck is drunk. Afterwards, do you go home and ask yourself, “Why me?” “What could I have done differently?” “Was I driving in such a manner that I attracted this drunk driver to smash into my car?” “Perhaps, I should have been in the center lane and not the curb lane.” “Was my red car to blame?” “Perhaps, I should have bought a white car, instead.” No. That would be silly. The crash had nothing to do with you, your actions, your looks or even your presence. The drunk driver is solely to blame. The crash had nothing to do with you. Had he left the bar a minute sooner, he would have simply smashed into someone else. And so, it wouldn’t have anything to do with that poor “other” innocent driver either. To even contemplate “why” you were targeted by the molester is absurd. You were simply there. Had you not been, it would have been someone else. And, unfortunately, since we’re all very well educated on the behavior of child molesters and rapists, we know that we are not their only victims. They repeatedly commit this crime. With whoever is there. Whenever they see an opportunity. They pick their victims. Their victims do not pick them.”
The question “Why?” shouldn’t be asked at all when you are violated. As an adult, after I was violated by my best friend’s husband, she asked me, “Why didn’t you just fight?” She said, “You are strong. He is weak.” I was an adult so she assumed that I would fight. Does that mean if a woman has a black belt in Karate, that if she didn’t fight, then she is somehow to blame? That she is somehow weak? I was a woman who lifted weights and had plenty of strength. But I didn’t fight. But she still asked, “Why?” So not only did I ask myself why, but now my best friend asked me why.
Nobody gets to ask that question any more than we should be asking it of ourselves. There are hundreds of reasons why. I was afraid of what would happen if I fought. I was afraid he would hurt me. I was afraid he would kill me with the shotgun he kept handling. I smelled the alcohol on his breath and I had been there before. I knew he was drunk. I was afraid. Too afraid to do anything at all. I sat there and let it all happen because my survival instincts kicked in and told me that to get away I should probably NOT fight.
As a child I was asked why I went back to the abuser’s house. Why? Why does anyone think it is OK to ever ask a child or an adult that question? I actually tried to explain why and half way through I thought….Wait…Why are they asking me questions??
Here’s a great question to ask: “How on earth does the victim have to explain what she did in the middle of a nightmare turned real?” These events are so horrific that we all suffer from PTSD. They are so horrific that most people in society don’t even want to hear about them, much less talk about them.
Well she doesn’t have to. You don’t owe anyone any answers and they shouldn’t be asking you in the first place. If they’re asking these questions, surely they do not have your best intentions at heart.
We are not just victims of abuse. We are survivors of abuse.
The word WHY cannot be assigned to a victim. The word WHY cannot be asked to the victim. Because we are innocent. We are innocent of everything that was done to us.
So I stopped asking myself, “Why me?” If I was upset about the event or events I just rephrased it to “I wish that it didn’t happen to me!” It is a very simple change with a very profound affect.