Victims of crime have their power taken away. Not only do the victims feel violated, they also feel ashamed. Why? Harold Kushner describes it this way, “The shame they felt was the shame of powerlessness, the inability to protect the integrity of their own bodies.” (Living a Life that Matters). As part of the healing process they need people to “acknowledge that what happened to them was wrong.” Only then is the burden of shame lifted from the victim and placed squarely on the perpetrator.
Being a victim of chronic illness is very much like being a victim of a crime. Our power is taken away, at least for a while. We feel violated and we also feel ashamed. The integrity of our bodies has been compromised. We have little control. But people are not as likely to listen to how we have been wronged by disease. In fact, many will secretly and not so secretly blame us! In cases of diseases where the cause is not understood, the blame increases. We need to be heard and acknowledged. Only then can we put the burden of shame down and begin the process of healing.