Recently I came across a blog by an author who started blogging before anyone else even knew it existed. You might be a subscriber yourself to Penelope Trunk. She used to write for her blog Brazen Careerist. Her voice is very cool, even when she is dispensing words of wisdom about your career (that’s what she’s all about). She blogged that it was time for her to become honest and admit to her readers that she was a victim of incest. Her father sexually abused her for years. His last attempt seemed to be when she was 21. He took her camping under the pretence that it would enhance their father-daughter bond. Ick. She managed to rebuff him and slept outside the tent on the ground. watch what can we do to get out of feelings of loss
It wasn’t until recently that she managed to stop hiding from the shame from the spectre of incest. It cannot be easy to tell the world you were an incest victim but she did it. Guts, that girl. I don’t know if she confronted her parents(whom I believe are still living). I always want victims to confront their abusers. Why?
- stop hiding the abuser’s secret for him/her/them.
- stop guilt-tripping
- feel good about reclaiming their identity.
- feel empowered.
- air out the dirty laundry in the family and make the abuser admit it out loud.
- nothing good ever comes from secrets. Nothing.
- the whole family might go into therapy.
- the victim will finally (I hope) be protected.
- criminal charges may be brought against the abuser. Success.
- the victim might be saving another family member from the same abuse. watch
There are probably 100 more reasons to confront an abuser but those are the top 10 on my list. Of course getting the abuser to admit it may not ever happen and the rest of the family may choose not to believe that person, in which case the victim becomes a pariah. That would suck.
I wonder why every incest victim doesn’t confront her or his abuser once they are financially and physically independent of their families. I’ve been thinking that one over and I might know a few answers. Might.
- terror – no matter how old a victim gets that abuser will always be THIS BIG.
- fear of losing the rest of the family…read the sentence about being a pariah.
- fear of being called a liar.
- fear of being physically abused by another family member (eg. getting hit in the face for “lying”).
- “normalcy” – since the family functions in such an unhealthy manner, the victim may not comprehend that their abuse is absolutely unacceptable.
- assisting a family member – telling may prevent another family member from being victimized by the abuser
- coming out of hiding – it must be similar to feeling as though the victim has been caught doing something wrong…since s/he has kept the horrid secret for so long.
- emotional upheaval – imagine how the family will react.
- illusion of family is gone forever. Some victims feel even a bad family is better than none. watch witness says robin bain had incestuous relationship with daughter
Now that I read over my list, I guess it makes as much sense not to confront the abuser as it does to do so. I can picture a victim in late adulthood still not being able to confront those demons (yes, the family members too). Besides, once you accuse the abuser, there has to be other accusations within that family. Where there is an abuser there is usually an enabler. The victim has been protecting the idea that mother didn’t know what father has been doing for 10 years. Once that bubble is burst, there really isn’t a mother anymore. No mother. No father. The victim is virtually orphaned.
Sibling incest truly baffles me. I have heard the word consensual where siblings and parent-child incest is concerned but you know what? I think that’s a load of shit. There cannot be mutual consent where incest is concerned. 2:21 There just can’t. There is always a more dominant “partner” and that means there is always a victim. A girl can be the dominant one in the so-called incestuous relationship. It isn’t always the boy. Here is a disturbing paragraph in a letter a woman submitted to adoption.com:
April was ready to hang her brother out to dry. I had to threaten her in front of the cop before she settled down and told the real truth. I knew there is no way that she could be smiling in those pictures like that if her brother was forcing himself on her. Nor could she pose for him in those ways.
My understanding was that this woman adopted both April and her brother Joe then later discovered they were having sex. The biological mother played a significant role in this development before they were adopted by their new parents. She was promiscuous and had sex with many different men in front of her kids: the adoptive mother believes this was how the siblings’ abhorrent behaviour developed. Maybe. I used to think it happened because one of the siblings was being abused by one of the parents.
One of James Bulger’s murderers, Robert Thompson, was a victim of sibling and parental incest. Bulger was the British toddler who was walked out of a shopping mall by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, then taken to a railroad where he was tortured and murdered. Thompson’s older brothers not only beat him severely (as did his mother), but at least one brother forced him to have sexual relations too. With a background like that, you can almost understand how Venables committed the crime. Almost.
Worse, think about girls who are incest victims, then became pregnant by either their brothers or fathers. Imagine having to make the decision to have it or not? Then to keep it or not? There are families where a girl gets pregnant through incest then the family insists she keep the child. This compounds her emotional angst and she has the added burden of deciding whether or not to tell her child the truth when it is older. Sheesh.
Profile of an Incestuous Family
- family is closed off from society – isolating the victim makes disclosure more difficult. Walls of isolation surround incestuous families.
- Incestuous families are characterized by limited intrafamily communication, such as keeping secrets
- Sexual abuse research has consistently reported an intergenerational component associated with child sexual abuse…the incestuous parent may be a victim of childhood incest
- Some mothers may be initially supportive and later withdraw support from the child. This in turn may cause the child to recant his or her report.
- premature exposure and expression of inappropriate sexual ideas and behaviors.
- the victim may develop gender issues
The Transgender Victim of Incest
A girl named Teena Brandon who began living her life as a boy after being victimized by a family member, was a major catalyst into gender issues in her life. Hillary Swank starred as Teena (who went by the name Brandon in the movie, although this has been disputed by people he knew) in the film Boys Don’t Cry.1:52. Incest victims who develop gender issues often do so for protection. They erroneously believe that had they been the opposite sex the abuse would not have happened. This is another form of victim guilt.
There are other reasons why incest victims develop gender issues:
- Gender identity becomes a pathology, rather than a choice.
- Informing the family about the real reason behind transgender is fraught with the same emotional trauma as victims without transgenderism.
- Fear of the abuser, especially if that person remains a threat to the victim.
- It enables the victim to act out in a manner s/he would not have within their original identity. For example, this may include criminal behaviour.
- The victim attempts to become the abuser as this gives the victim the power role, rather than that of victim.
- Incest represents the most extreme form of the sexual objectification of the female child in patriarchal culture.
- The child idealizes the abusive parent and displaces all her rage onto the non-offending parent (the enabler).
- Most father-daughter incest victims regard all women, including themselves, with contempt.
- Child victims often recreate themselves, developing alter egos who offer a positive live alternative to their own.
- In extreme cases a child may experience dissociative identity disorder and transgenderism is a consequence of this mental development.
In the SCUM Manifesto, written in 1967 by Valerie Solanas. It argues that men have ruined the world and that women should overthrow society and eliminate the male sex. One gender therapist stated that the Manifesto exhibited “bald female rage“, while another stated the Manifesto is “shocking” and breathtaking 4:01. One aspect of Solanas’ life however has been overlooked by most critics: she was her father’s incest victim. Understandably, her sexual orientation was that of lesbianism, and she carried rage toward the male sex all of her life. Although Solanas didn’t openly state that she was an incest victim, her loathing towards male sexuality provides a significant clue:
Eaten up with guilt, shame, fears and insecurities and obtaining, if he’s lucky, a barely perceptible physical feeling, the male is, nonetheless, obsessed with screwing; he’ll swim through a river of snot, wade nostril-deep through a mile of vomit, if he thinks there’ll be a friendly pussy awaiting him…Power and control. Unmasterful in his personal relations with women, the male attains to masterfulness by the manipulation of money and everything controlled by money, in other words, of everything and everybody.
The manifesto however also reveals an intense contempt for women, presumably due to rage directed at her mother, the enabler:
The effect of fatherhood on females is to make them male — dependent, passive, domestic, animalistic, insecure, approval and security seekers, cowardly, humble, `respectful’ of authorities and men, closed, not fully responsive, half-dead, trivial, dull, conventional, flattened-out and thoroughly contemptible. Daddy’s Girl, always tense and fearful, uncool, unanalytical, lacking objectivity, appraises Daddy, and thereafter, other men, against a background of fear and is not only unable to see the empty shell behind the facade, but accepts the male definition of himself as superior, as a female, and of herself, as inferior, as a male, which, thanks to Daddy, she really is.
Solanas didn’t live openly as a transgender male but she impersonated men in her appearance: her manner of dress, hairstyle, aggression, sexual attraction toward females, and her attempt at establishing power over her female partners. Solanas also became notorious for her attempt at killing Andy Warhol, by shooting him point-bland in the torso. Solanas believed Warhol had stolen a movie script she presented to him to be made into a film. The script was extremely pornographic and Warhol rejected it. When Solanas demanded the script be returned, Warhol responded he had misplaced it. Most likely he had since Warhol was famous for his bad memory. Solanas, however, believed he had stolen it from her and in a delusional rage, made an unsuccessful attempt on Warhol’s life. Personally I’m surprised she didn’t shoot Warhol in the groin. watch I Shot Andy Warhol
Solanas was a complex person, however. She was a paranoid schizophrenic and it doesn`t sound like she had access to medication. I suspect her over-reaction to the situation stemmed from her illness, rather than her philosophy about men. She may have been hallucinating, 1:20, voices may have told her to shoot Warhol. When Solanas was fifteen, she finally moved out of her incestuous household. Her mother placed her in her grandparent`s home and her grandfather beat her severely almost every day. It is quite likely he also sexually abused Solanas. She ran away from her grandparent`s home and became homeless for a number of years, yet in spite of her situation, Solanas went to university and obtained a degree in psychology.
To disclose the family`s horrid secrets places a family in a very tenuous position: the walls that have been built around family members are slowly broken down and the incest is exposed. One person coming forward is all it takes for the shaky house of cards to come crashing down, since the family was never a strong unit. It simply wasn`t based on trust, strength or respect. If there is anyone who has proven survival is possible even when the victim is rejected by her or his family, it is Solanas. Her mental health was unstable and her behaviour abhorrent, but against overwhelming odds, she made a success of herself by gaining the independence she needed in order to leave her family, and its secrets, behind.