Trust is a universal struggle. All of us wrestle to some extent with trusting others because of painful experiences with betrayal. When the source of that betrayal is someone close to us, it can be especially devastating ( Psalm 55:12-14 ). Nowhere is this more true than when a child or teenager is sexually abused by a family member, close family friend, or some other trusted authority figure. Seduction and sexual exploitation by trusted individuals creates an environment for a lifetime battle with distrust.
Perpetrators of sexual abuse often prey on their victim’s longing for connection and love. They lure susceptible individuals into their snare by showering them with personal affection and kindness. Having won their victim’s confidence, abusers look for the chance to take advantage of their trust by sexually abusing them and eventually casting them aside like a worthless object.
Since a victim’s longing for love and connection is what set the stage for the abusive situation, they grow suspicious of anyone who arouses their deep longings for intimacy. In their mind, it may be another setup. The more those deep longings are aroused (no matter how well-meaning the other person might be), the more fearful the victim is that the trapdoor of abuse will spring open again. Consequently, a victim of abuse struggles deeply to trust anyone, especially those who express kindness and care.