We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Family Dynamics of Incest - Part 5

A young girl’s or boy’s need for nurturance and affection is natural. When their parents are incapable of being the loving and mature adults they deserve to help them grow up into a fully functioning adult, problems occur. When incest enters the equation, psychological devastation disrupts their development.[1]

Family Dynamics of Incest - Part 4

I am now going to talk about two types of mothers in incestuous households: the woman who is a nonparticipant and the other who engages in incest herself.[1] They both are guilty of profound neglect and abuse. To actually commit these acts of omission and commission involves a level of unbelievable denial and lack of any human regard for their children.

Family Dynamics of Incest - Part 3

Listed below is a description of four types of men who engage in incest. I have described how this may stimulate the son after witnessing his father’s incestuous behavior (read Sibling Incest) but the discussion below describes the father’s personality traits and behaviors.[1]

Family Dynamics of Incest- Part 2

This blog is a continuation of my discussion about the dynamics of family incest.[1] As we found out from what I wrote in Part 1, although the oldest daughter has borne the brunt of meeting her father’s cravings for intimacy, her younger brother and sister have also suffered. Even though the father has become skillful in practicing his molestation techniques out-of-sight, it is nearly impossible for accidental sightings of wrongdoing not to occur.

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I am relieved to have found this website and blog. I come from a family of 8 children, all of whom were sexually molested by famil... Read More
Sunday, 14 August 2016 17:31
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Family Dynamics of Incest- Part 1

I am going to begin a series of articles which will describe many of the dynamics of what happens in an incestuous home. Not all homes were incest occurs fit this description, but it is pretty accurate. I am summarizing information from an excellent overview written by Patricia Crigler, who at the time she wrote it was Commander, Medical Service Corps, U.S. Navy, and Director, Substance Abuse Department, Naval Hospital, San Diego, California. [1] Her characteristics of incest struck home with me because I was raised in a military family. This discussion does not go into military life per se, but is fairly accurate for a large percentage of incestuous families in America.

Addressing Child Abuse With Home Visitation

There has long been a need to work with families to deter child abuse. One avenue the government is endorsing is with home visitations. There is a shared belief that appropriate, early intervention is critical in preventing health, social, and economic problems before they become a family or societal crisis.[1]

When Will Men Stop Abusing Children?

One of the most pervasive forms of abuse at home is husbands and intimate partners beating up their wives and female partners. The vast majority of partner abuse is perpetrated by men. What makes it even worse is that these male bashers include in their repertoire controlling behaviors such as[1] :

Sexual Abuse and Adolescent Mothers

It has been substantiated over and over again in research that child abuse interrupts the normal health development of children. It is no surprise then that young girls searching for the love and affection they are not getting at home are reaching out in inappropriate ways. Since their world is so chaotic, their coping skills are minimal, and they feel powerless, too many young girls are becoming pregnant, thus adding another difficult dimension to their lives.

Preventing Child Abuse

Believe it or not, child abuse has not always been considered a crime. It was thought of as a “family issue.” During the last 50 years, pressure has been put on Congress to do something about the large numbers of children being maltreated and to provide funding for family support, however, it has become primarily a legal issue instead of focusing on the total problem. This means that a lot of money has been allocated in tracking, reporting, and investigating possible cases of child abuse and neglect, but the provision of family support systems has been neglected.

Focus Needs to be on Childhood Trauma

Even though the need to mobilize resources to confront and deal with the issue of child abuse is no secret to those in government and psychiatric communities, why isn’t this discussed on a national level? If traumatized children are identified early enough, it can greatly reduce the total cost to society in dealing with subsequent problems and costs.

Aftereffects for Men Abused as Children

Men, just like women, normally don’t disclose that they were abused as children. Men, however, have an additional burden placed on them because of the stereotypes placed on them by society that they must be “manly” and hide their feelings. All this does is to reinforce the old messages that they are to deny their reality of what happened to them.

What is Sexually Abusive to Children

When a child is violated by a trusted adult or any other person who is older, more powerful, or is in a position of authority over him/her, it creates overwhelming feelings of fear, confusion and overstimulation for the child. The message sent to the child is that his/her body is not his/her own; and his/her sense of comfort, privacy, safety, and trust are severely damaged by such actions. Typically, the child believes that it is his/her own fault, he/she is dirty, he/she has somehow caused the other’s actions towards him/her or he/she deserved the abuse. Feelings of intense shame, guilt, and fear and then embedded into the child’s concept of who he/she is.

Child Abuse: America's Biggest Public Health Crisis - Part 3

The capacity for emotional regulation is one of the major causalities of significant early trauma. Traumatized individuals often suffer significant mood swings, anger, irritability, and profound depression. Numerous studies have established that a history of child abuse increases major depression approximately three-fold compared with non-abused individuals.

Child Abuse: America's Biggest Public Health Crisis - Part 2

While children experience many types of trauma, the most common forms typically occur at the hands of their parents and caregivers. Neglect, physical and sexual abuse are often combined with emotional abuse and exposure to domestic violence. Researchers seeking to understand the effects of trauma on child development often draw distinctions between acute or single incident trauma and chronic trauma, sometimes referred to as Type I and Type II trauma, respectively.

Child Abuse: America's Biggest Public Health Crisis

The consequences of childhood trauma constitute a major public health problem. For many children, unaddressed consequences of trauma will adversely affect their entire lives and the lives of those around them. The effects of trauma can be pervasive, impacting on school readiness and performance, diminishing cognitive abilities, and leading to substance abuse, crippling mental disorders and costly physical health problems. Rapid identification of traumatized children could lead to early interventions which can diminish the negative sequelae and save enormous sums of money relative to the cost to society of the consequences in adulthood.

Issues Involving Sibling Incest

Just as childhood incest is underreported, so is sibling incest. It occurs far more frequently than many want to believe although many of the same reasons for father-daughter incest (the most prominent) are the same. In fact, sibling incest is estimated to occur 3-5 times as often as father-daughter incest.[1] Once again, the root causes lie with faulty/uninformed parenting skills.

Children and Prostitution

Child prostitution is another difficult result of child abuse, but it needs to be discussed. General psychological and emotional problems, housing instability, substance abuse, educational and vocational failure, and major problems at home have all been cited as common precipitating factors in the lives of prostituted children. The homes children run away from are often marked by emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, and regular violence between the parents.

Women Who Offend

There is always a discussion about men who offend but very little about women offenders. Between the early 1970s and the year 2000, the number of women in prison doubled from about 3% of the prison population to about 6.3% of the total. Women in this study[1] accounted for about 14% of violent offenders, and more than ¼ of them were juveniles.

Most often, women offender’s pathways to crime are rooted in past trauma associated with family and intimate violence. This study found that nearly 60% of women in state prisons had been physically and sexually abused. Although men also experience traumas at early ages, the emotional dynamics and behavior present themselves differently in adulthood—men often become perpetrators and women remain victims or are in dependent roles with continued abuse. In a study conducted among violent women offenders at New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, nearly 60% were sexually molested as children.

Child Abuse Prevention Programs

During the 1970s and 1980s, child abuse prevention programs were developed for school systems. They were primarily aimed at teaching children how to possibly avoid abuse not realizing they were attempting to pit small children against powerful, manipulative child molestersHas any of this work over the last 40+ years? NO. The rate of child abuse has not dropped considerably. America has no real grasp of the number of children being abused because most children, and adult survivors of child abuse, never tell anyone. The only statistics available are for those children who are reported to Child Protective Services which is the tip of the iceberg.

Let the Sun In

A report was made public recently that addressed the response of Bob Jones University (“BJU”) to disclosures by its students of sexual abuse.  BJU is a Christian educational institution that currently enrolls about 3,000 students in various undergraduate and graduate programs.  In response to national media reports of BJU’s mishandling of sexual abuse complaints, the school hired GRACE (“Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment”), an organization whose mission is to empower the Christian community to address the sin of childhood sexual abuse, as an independent ombudsman to review and report on BJU’s practices and policies regarding sexual abuse disclosures. 

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