TLC "My 600-lb Life" follows morbidly obese patients on their journey to weight loss. But the reality television show also explores the backstory on obesity. Social media fans have noted a common and heart-breaking theme among the show's bariatric surgery patients. Lurking inside most is a victim of rape, incest, pedophilia or some kind of sexual abuse.

Rape: the specter at the feast

Statistics on sexual abuse are inaccurate at best. Frequently, victims don't report the assault out of fear and shame. They may blame themselves for it, particularly in cases of incest. The show "13 Reasons Why" explores this behavioral phenomena in rape survivors.

"My 600-lb Life" stars present another face of abuse, that of obesity. A shocking number of overweight folks blame their weight gain and overeating on sexual assault. They claim to find non-judgmental comfort in food. This coping mechanism leads to a food addiction.

Which came first, obesity or sex abuse?

Facebook fans of the show "My 600-lb Life" have stated that of the reality TV patients' seem to use sex abuse as an excuse for obesity. Dr. Younan Nowzaradan's clients show symptoms of abused kids: distorted thinking, low self-esteem, vulnerability, despair, lack of self-control. Abused kids are easy prey, believing they are ugly, worthless or somehow deserving of sexual molestation. Children who are overweight are even easier targets. Predators rob them of self-worth, keep them in shame and prevent them from forming healthy relationships with family and friends.

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The only safety they find is in non-human sources. The only relief is usually some kind distraction like food, drugs or alcohol.

Victims become bullies and abusers

Viewers have suggested that many people have been victimized by rape or sexual molestation and don't eat themselves to death. They don't become bedridden burdens on their families. They don't balloon to 800 pounds, like Charity Pierce. They don't, like James K, rely on caregiver children to wipe their butts. They don't bully and abuse hospital staff like Steven Assanti. But that's the vicious cycle of abuse and addiction. Those seeking gastric bypass surgery on "My 600-lb Life" come with 450-600 pounds of extra weight and twice that much emotional baggage. Many have had their boundaries so trampled upon, they don't know any other way but to trample or continue to be trampled on. They despair and turn to food, alcohol, drugs, even sex. Is it an excuse? No, but it is a reason.