Is Revenge Ever Justified?

I seriously doubt if any sexual abuse survivor hasn’t fantasied about what she would do to her monster if she could get away with it. Is revenge against our abusers ever justified?  I struggled with this question while I was writing Thriver Sisterhood.

The first draft of the revenge centered on revenge without justice when the sisterhood arranged a kidnapping after Biff the stepfather had tried to rape Mia’s daughter.  The sisterhood tattooed “rapist” on his forehead and Biff the Bad woke up on a beach in Mexico with no ID or money.  Can you imagine how long he would have lasted?

I got a tremendous rush while creating this scene but also realized that what would be more powerful would for Mia and her daughter to become the heroines.

The revised scenario played out as justified revenge then justice. In this version, Mia knocked Biff cold by using a karate chop when she found him attempting to rape Mia’s daughter.  Mother and daughter dragged Biff into a closet, lock the door and call the police. This version found Biff sentenced for his crime.

Would you support this second scenario?

6 Responses to “Is Revenge Ever Justified?”

  1. Nancy Harkrider says:

    This is a complex subject but it is essential to our redemptive paths

  2. Lora Schachtili says:

    I am wondering if there is sometimes a confusion between revenge and justice. I think most may think seeking revenge will give them justice. Wanting to get back at someone by whom you feel wronged starts in childhood, usually form verbal slights, bullying, taking a favorite toy you’re playing with. Revenge can consist tattling to physical responses but I don’t think young children really don’t understand the concepts of revenge and justice.
    Some people may believe revenge is justice as they grow older. Tit for tat. Revenge fantasies may have their place but acting on them may bring more harm the relief.
    There is also the fact that seeking real justice versus revenge may take longer than some may be comfortable with. People want relief quickly, This is where therapy can be critical.
    What are your thoughts on revenge and justice?

    • thriver-admin says:

      Lora, you got to the heart of the issue about the confusion between revenge and justice. I was struck with your references to children who feel wronged. I can confirm that when we add child abuse to the mix, the anger is so intense that we bury it in order to survive. It leads to destructive behave and a heavy load of shame and sorry And you are absolutely right that therapy is essential in order to vent in a safe environment. What strategies have worked for you?

  3. thriver-admin says:

    Our friend Terri asked us to post her comments.
    I believe I would support the second scenario. I would take satisfaction in seeing my abusers handcuffed and thrown in jail. It would validate that what they did was wrong and punishable by law. I have thought so many times about what I would like to do to them. I was just at my mom’s the other day and she was telling me how sick (he) my abuser is and I feel no mercy or sadness for him. Is it karma? I don’t know. Then I feel bad for not feeling bad. it’s so complicated. 

  4. thriver-admin says:

    Terri, your honesty is powerful. Women everywhere, whether they have been abused, or not, have conflicting emotions about difficult subjects—in your case, feeling bad for not feeling bad. The holistic brains of women have us bouncing from being the nurturer to being the warrior. And yes, it is complicated. Since women can hold conflicting personas, I am wondering if it doesn’t make sense to honor both of those parts of ourselves. Does that make sense to you?

  5. Debra Samuel says:

    New to the thriversisterhood, I’m on a lifelong journey of learning to trust and use my own voice as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. My experiences with carrying thoughts and feelings of anger and revenge toward my abusers has been that the negative power of those emotions has harmed me mentally and physically in ways that have extended the trauma inflicted by the abuse. I’ve come to realize that, even though my abusers are no longer present in my life, the burdens of the trauma I’ve continued to carry have contributed to perpetuating patterns of self-punishment and abuse. Once I was able to extend compassion to myself and to inhabit a place of forgiving- but not forgetting – my healing journey began. From a place of compassion – for both myself and my abusers – I am able to move beyond trauma into a place where I am truly mentally, physically and spiritually free of suffering. Each day I struggle to reinhabit that place of compassion and healing – it’s the greatest gift I’ve received on my journey.

Leave a Comment on the Blog