INCEST/CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE
Difficulty of talking about this issue--want to stress knowing about it as a step in the healing
process (persoanlly and socially)
difficulty of finding out the frequency; some of this has to do with reluctance
to admit it to a researcher, sourses of data, or definitions tat researchers use as tyo what
counts as incest.
Some stats will vary depending on the study--average is 25%, some as
high as 38%, some as low as 12%--still pervasive, and if it hapeens at all with any regulaity
it is too much.
I belive we are just uncovering the tip of the iceberg with the focus on it
incresing over the past 5-10 years or so.
Sometimes I will talk about childhood sexual assault, sometimes about incest (incest is with
Frequency: 1/4 women (incest):
[males lower frequency, but it still occurs]
Sex of child:
93% female, 7% male (for incest alone (95% f, 5% m)
Age of child:
2-18 yrs (can occur in infancy)
Relation to offender: 75% known, 25% stranger; incest: 82% father/stepfather/boyfriend,
18% uncles, other male fam. members.
Sex of Offender: 99% male, 1% female
Age of onset: 81% 12 and under, 19% over 12, most common 6-8
13% occur once, 20% 6 months; 67% last over one year
3-4 times the number od cases may go unreported.
70% of female prostitutes were sexually assaulted by family members as children
70% of drug dependant children .
One of the thre primary reasons children run away is incest
11% of mothers were incest victims
1/3 perpetrators wre molested or saw this as a model, the great majority were physically
This however does not account for why it occurs in families where the pattern was not
previously present, it may suggest that if it's not dealt with well it could continue
I will focus on the experiences of women, because it happens primarily to women, but also
because although many of the traumas are the same for both sexes, the significane of incest
takes on a whole new meaning in the light of a sexist soiciety where women are powerless.
This is not to say it's worse for boys or worse for girls, but different, in some profound ways.
I'll return to this later.
what counts as incest depends on whose perspective you take (police, social
workers, family, the person experiencing it etc.)
Feminists have advocated the position that
if it feels uncomfortable, bad, or wrong it is incest--even if it's "not as serious."