For First Time Visitors

If you are a first time visitor to this blog, I invite you to start from the beginning, especially if you are unfamiliar with the potential emotional impact of long-term child abuse.

Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!

Understanding the Incomprehensible

Children of incest or long-term sexual abuse grow up to be wounded adults with complicated emotional issues. Unfortunately, some symptoms are misinterpreted or often dismissed as "crazy", only serving to maintain a tormented victim status. We, as a society, have the power to change this dynamic. Each of us can make a difference.

Aug 17, 2008

The basics

I want to present this difficult topic in short concepts. What most of us already know may need to be adjusted to accommodate for modifying some assumptions or allowing for new thinking.

Father-daughter and stepfather-daughter incest is most commonly reported, with most of the remaining reports consisting of mother/stepmother-daughter/son incest. Prevalence of parental child sexual abuse is difficult to assess due to secrecy and privacy; some estimates show 20 million Americans have been victimized by parent incest as children. (Jeffrey Turner, 1996). As cited at the website for The National Center for Victims of Crime.

Educating young children about good touches and bad touches, how to stay away from strangers, how to get help from an adult, how to say "NO!" is definitely important. Unfortunately, in cases of incest, the child is not being hurt by strangers and must obey parents and other primary caregivers. Saying "No!" is usually not an option and often results in punishment to the child. A child of incest is not allowed to say no. Typically, any child being abused will be threatened with harm--or harm to a loving caregiver, sibling, or pet. Most have had their lives threatened to the point there is no doubt that grave harm will come to them and/or another loved one if they dare to tell. Children of incest are conditioned to feel unempowered, helpless, and damaged. (No one will love you if you tell.)

The most damning for children of incest is their reliance on the very person/persons who are abusing them for their survival. It sets the child up for total confusion about authority: "I love you", "I hate you". "If I don't love you, I will die." They are dependent on their parent or other primary care giver (who may be another family member) for food, shelter, warmth...all security needs...while at the same time being terrified, horrified, and repulsed by what is happening to them.