If the adults around the child sexually abused turn toward her at the time of the attack(s), allowing expression, offering love, protection and sympathy, the child can move forward without the strictures of self-blame.
In most cases, or the majority of them, because it is a family member who has attacked the child, the shame of the family silences the child. In their silence, and shaming her to remain silent, she takes it in. Shame becomes part of her. Her personality is formed around that black boulder embedded deeply in her psyche… and there to stay.
As an adult I can go to therapy and hear the words, “you are not bad.” So intellectually that fact is known, but not felt. In my core I learned otherwise. Shame is the bedrock of my being.
“I am bad, it is my fault, because of me this thing happened…” always my first response in every situation even those that have nothing to do with me. I will find a way back to what I could have done that would have prevented a negative outcome.
Raymond, a previous therapist, called it ‘personalization.’ I call it a life-long albatross to lift up daily and throw out.. A child can survive the attacks. It is what comes after that kills. No intervention comes.
A child can heal and move forward if helps comes. Everyone in the family can.
The attacks in childhood leave me with a lifetime of work challenging that very damaging concept.