God and Sexual Assault

Anger at Bystanders

You are not alone.

You may not have this issue, but there is a tendency to be angry at bystanders. They could be anyone that knew (and maybe didn’t know) about your abuse or assault, but you have an anger and you don’t know what to do with it now.

I am many times angrier at the person that came in while it was happening a couple times and did nothing than my abusers. That seems absurd, but it’s true. See, it has taken me years to see it, but now after many discussions with my counselor, I seem to understand.

You come to believe that the abuser is just evil and so you aren’t that surprised with what they did. Even if you thought they were ok before the abuse you now know the truth about them. You categorize them in that place for wicked people.

However, the ones that silently let it happen, that maybe even helped, or that said and did nothing – those people were supposed to keep you safe. They were supposed to stop it, or they were supposed to be a safe place to land after it happened.

Granted, for me this person witnessed the abuse at least twice, and did nothing. This “bystander” was supposed to be a safe place and a protector.

However, for you the bystander may have been strangers that didn’t intervene, or even friends. Maybe they were there but not in the same room. There’s still an anger. It’s hard to understand why we feel this intense anger at them.

I have said many times to my counselor that I want to yell and scream at my bystander. I want this person to know what they did. I want them to feel pain. Yet, though I have anger at my abuser, I have more toward the one that allowed it.

I honestly can’t make sense out of this for you, but I wanted you to know that is a real struggle that many survivors deal with after trauma. It is ok, and it does not mean you are insensitive to that person. It means that you have significant trauma to work on and process.

As you begin to work through that journey of healing the trauma and all the brokenness you feel, the anger will begin to subside. I promise it will someday, but I can’t promise when that will be. I still have some anger, but I channel it much better than I used to and it’s not quite as strong because I know I can’t change the past.

However, with God’s guidance and grace I can move forward into the future.

Hang in there my friends and keep pursuing healing. Your timeline will be different from others, but it can happen. I urge you to pray to God for His direction and guidance and to help you.

He will be your ultimate strength if you let Him. You may not realize that today, or even next year, but I pray at one point you come to that conclusion. Blessings to you.

© 2021 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.

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