In today’s podcast, Dr. Margaret talks about a certain type of shame that’s rarely revealed after sexual abuse. What is that shame? It’s the result of your body responding with arousal during the actual abuse itself. What’s vital to understand is that arousal doesn’t reflect consent — not in any way. Dr. Margaret describes conditions that can be triggered by sexual abuse, and three actual case histories of people having been sexually abused, who were also aroused.

Note: If you’ve been sexually abused, this podcast may trigger a response — memories, anxiety, nightmares. Please listen with care. The National Sexual Abuse Hotline is 800.656.HOPE (4673),

Her listener email this week comes from a woman who has jumped from relationship to relationship, and is painfully realizing that she is the common thread.

Important links for the podcast:

A Psychology Today article on the many levels of shame from sexual abuse.

An article on what science says about arousal during rape, and why it doesn’t occur all the time.

RAINN’s article on the  conditions that develop as a response to sexual violence.


If you’ve been sexually abused, please seek help. You can get immediate help online at the RAINN hotline. Other hotlines and resources can be found by clicking here.

Two books that are excellent resources: “Healing The Shame That Binds You” by John Bradshaw, and ‘The Courage To Heal”, by Laura Davis.

Click here for “Marriage Is Not For Chickens,” the new gift book by Dr. Margaret! It’s perfect for engagements, anniversaries, weddings, or for the person you love!

You can hear more about relationships and many other topics by listening to Dr. Margaret’s new podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to this website and receive her weekly posts as well as her podcasts, plus Dr. Margaret’s eBook, “Seven Commandments of Good Therapy.”