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Incest Warning Signs: Q&A With Incest Researcher and Social Worker LeslieBeth Wish

LeslieBethDr. LeslieBeth Wish, Ed.D, MSS is a social worker based in Sarasota, FL. She has been a speaker for non-profit, corporate and university organizations. Dr. Wish offers sound, research-based relationship advice that makes sense — specializing in issues such as smart dating, women’s relationship advice, career coaching, healthy families, sexual dysfunction, and leadership training.

Dr. Wish is the author of Incest, Work and Women: Understanding the Consequences of Incest on Women’s Careers, Work and Dreams.


Q.   Actress Mackenzie Phillips announced that she had incestuous relationships with her father John Phillips.  How common is this situation?  Do most of these relationships involve father-daughter rather than mother-son?

A:  Although childhood sexual abuse includes mother-child incest, more men commit child-family member sexual abuse.  The most frequent male family offenders are step-fathers, fathers, uncles and grandfathers.

Q.  What are the warning signs?

A:  From a child’s perspective, warning signs include sudden or increased physical contact that might pass as acceptable with a family member.  For example, suddenly Grandpa wants you to sit on his lap more often.  Or, an uncle wants to caress a child’s hair or cheek more often.

Other forms of physical contact are more blatantly sexual, such as Mackenzie Philip’s intercourse with her father.  Childhood sexual abuse can also include fondling of breasts, rubbing up and down against a child and sexual comments.  Children often have a good sense that something is “wrong,” but they may not tell anyone about these sexual experiences.   Children learn rather quickly that the sexual activity with a family member is not normal.

Some offenders make it very clear that if a child reveals their “secret,” the offender will harm the child and/or the family.   Children also come to realize that telling someone puts the family in terrible jeopardy.  What, for example, would Mom do if she knew about it?  Would the family break up?  How would the family get along without Dad?  A great deal is at stake, and no child wants the responsibility of causing a crisis in the family.  If a child does reveal “the secret,” it is not uncommon for other family members to deny or not accept that sexual abuse occurred.

Some siblings, for example, side with the offender, saying that no evidence or hints of abuse exist.  To be fair to these supportive siblings—and even spouses—it is highly possible that the offender kept the secret very well-hidden.  Often, the abuser selects one or two favorite children for sexual and emotional gratification and never violates the other siblings.  As a result, the other siblings never experience or even suspect that abuse is occurring.

Finally, when a family member abuses a child sexually, the abuse is not solely about sex.  Offenders are often looking for comfort, closeness and approval from someone whom, in the mind of the offender, offers an opportunity for unconditional love.  The closeness and need for comfort can rapidly become sexualized.  Many offenders are, however, also looking for sexual gratification, power and control.

Q.  What can be done to protect the child?

A:  All parents and caregivers should talk with each child about sexual behavior that is “wrong.”  Children should be taught early about unwanted touches.  Parents and caregivers should let children know that they want to know about any kind of touching or interaction with someone who makes them feel uncomfortable physically and emotionally or who touches them.

When parents set the emotional rules and establish an environment of care, children are more likely to let a family member know.  Parents can also tell a child that if they are afraid to tell a family member that they can tell another adult whom the child trusts such as a teacher, minister, etc.  (And no jokes, please—yes these two groups have a history of being sexual predators, but there are still good teachers and religious leaders who can help a child in need.)

Q.  What is the likelihood that an incest victim will eventually seek counseling?  Also, when victims seek help do they immediately admit the incest or rather do they come to treatment for issues like alcohol or drug abuse which they’ve sought to cope with the pain of the incestuous relationship?


A:  Statistics can vary about the incidence of abuse, but roughly one in twenty-five women will experience some kind of sexual abuse by the time she is 18.  For men, the numbers are about one in seven or eight.  Since sexual abuse carries such a high degree of shame, it’s highly likely that clients will not mention it.  Substance abuse, as well as suicide attempts, is a failed effort to manage the emotional pain of sexual abuse.

Q.  What type of therapy/counseling is typically used in these cases?

A:  There are many therapeutic treatments, including medication for depression, cognitive therapies and emotional reprocessing therapy where the client learns to come to different conclusions and understandings about the self and the experience.  There are excellent training programs for therapists to learn about these therapies.

Q.  What are the long-term effects of incest?

A:  Every person is different, but common, long-term effects include suicide attempts, depression, substance abuse, fear of both emotional and sexual intimacy, promiscuity, prostitution and runaways, lack of career identity, inability to function at work.

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  1. This is kind of shocking. As a forensic social worker dealing with sexual crimes, it’s interesting to note that all the years of research and training have been wrong. Had no idea that the percentage of male victims was nearly triple that of female.

    One in twenty-five female victims is bad enough, but one in seven male victims by the age of 18? – has anyone double-checked that?

  2. I believe that the statistic is 1 in 4 females experience some type of sexual abuse in their lifetime, the author may have mistyped 25%. In my practice it’s not uncommon for someone to seek treatment for anxiety, depression or relational issues then later disclose history of abuse. I would sadly estimate that of the children who are victims of child sexual abuse more than half of them have mothers that were also sexually abuse (most of whom never got treatment). Talking out loud about sexual abuse and sexually inappropriate play/touch/talk is important to breaking the stigma so more people seek treatment. Treatment for victims of abuse helps to break the chain of abuse.

  3. I feel that this Q and A with incest researcher, Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, Ed.D., MSS is outstanding in its description of the complex dynamics that occur in families where incest is taking place. I’ve worked with incest survivors in both civilian and military populations and continued to be astounded by the magnitude of frequency with which women report that they are incest survivors. As a man, I sometimes actually feel a degree of embarassment and shame that members of my gender can inflict such horrendous emotional and physical pain upon young female toddlers, children, adolescents and women. The severity of damage these “men” do to females within their own family is all too often life-long. The entire psychological foundation of a woman’s life can be set by the trauma that she was subjected to in childhood. Some of the women incest survivors I’ve worked with are so thankfully, among the most resilient and perservering women one could know. They are doggedly determined to recover from their abuse and often do so in support systems that are mutually emotionally supportive. I pray for the day when “men” who do this will be non-existent.
    We have to improve what seems to be a worldwide epidemic of this most cruel and destructive behavior. The enormity of suffering that countless women endure worldwide mandates dramatic improvement in the way we raise our sons.

    Ernest A. Wahrburg, MSW, LCSW (NC, NY)

  4. I have also worked with survivors of incest and have found it to be the most painful and challenging work in my practice. Not only does the patient feel shame and humiliation admitting this to the therapist but also to themselves.Two of my female patients had totally repressed being sexually abused or incested by their fathers and it was only after several years of treatment for severe mood disorders (with Borderline Personality Disorder) that it came out with such devastating emotional consequences.Another patient had to be hospitalized repeatedly for Dissociative Identity Disorder after being violently raped in childhood by her grandfather. I found that each patient who ultimately came to reprocess their trauma had had relational problems most of their life, and their character formation had been formed around defending against this memory and having extreme rage when confronted with an emotional reminder of the unconscious event.
    It is very sad to see your patient decompensate, though temporarily, but then watch them reevaluate all of their issues and come out stronger. I have found that there will be some women whose trauma was so great that they never really achieve their life goals and suffer chronically. Oher women will only temporarily decompensate when there is a major stressor in their life, like a significant loss, a death (even of a pet), or an emotionally abusive experience with a significant other.

  5. My sister and I are incest victims. My sister profited socially and financially from her consensual incest. I rejected my father because of unjust physical abuse at his hands during preadolescence. The physical abuse became sporadic after I promised physical retaliation the next time he was passed out drunk. The malevolent and vicious verbal abuse continued. My sister is filled with rage which she projects onto me. My mother tries to do “nice” things for me, but favors my sister and refuses to admit the incest. At 62, I have had enough of the madness and am in the process of breaking all ties with my extended Southern Gothic family. Please continue studies of all aspects and nuances of this family problem.

  6. I just ended a relationship with a man whom I now believe is or was involved with his daughter. Looking back at things that didn’t make sense at the time, now do make sense. She was his mistress, his puppetier, his precious angel. During our break-up we were arguing about the way he refused to share with me that his daughter was pregnant again. Every question I asked was met with some strange excuse which made me angier. Frustrated at him I just blurted out, “were you ever inappropriate with her?”. He became enraged. He went looking for an apartment immediately. He started selling off things to get the money to move out. He told me that by my accusing him of such a thing was “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. Then I called his ex-wife and she confirmed that their daughter was taken out of the house as a child by DSS, but returned to them when nothing was found. I confronted him with this one phone when he called to collect some of his belongings. He said they didn’t prove anything. That’s all he had to say. They didn’t prove anything. Sick. What a sick, sick mind. And, his daughter is sick now also. Sick and consensual. Sick and abiding. Sick and living the same kind of duplicitous life as he.

  7. Hi, I have had a suspicious feeling about my wife’s family for quite some time now. My wife has 3 sisters (1 older and 2 younger). When I met her some 10 years ago, her family seemed like a very tight knit family, with possibly an overprotective mother who always made it look like it was my wife’s fault for marrying me and later moving out. All her 3 sisters went back to their home after graduating college, and none got married even till now.
    But that didn’t seemed too odd to me until her mother passed away 3 years ago. It was then that things got weird. Her sisters would sleep with their father (even though they are well over 20 years old with the eldest at 33 this year and youngest at 25 now). My wife told me that this happened almost every night because they said their father could not sleep alone… I was like “what is this”????. I love my wife, but I have to admit that our sex life has never been great cause she seem “afraid” of physical intimacy.
    The last time we visited them, the sisters were even casually talking about sleeping on their fathers NEW BED that night, which I found quite “unacceptable” but kept quiet as not to show disrespect. My wife even took her father on a trip with both of them sharing a room (which didn’t seemed too odd that time but is getting on my nerves now as I slowly try to dissect what is happening).
    I know some people will tell me that this is just father-daughter love. But I have a sister too, and at no point would I ever see it fit for her to sleep with my father alone in a room. I have a close family too~!!! Neither do I see myself sleeping with my mum alone for no good reason (unless she is sick and I need to take care of her)
    The worst part is, I recently came to Hong Kong to further my studies and my wife had to wait a year before she could join me. During that time, she had an affair with a man 10 years older than her. When the affair was discovered, her dad protected and wanted her to go back to stay in his house (with all her sisters and him).
    The affair tore me up. but what I am truly worried about is this unhealthy Father-Daughter thing they have going. Am I paranoid? Is it natural for father-daughters to sleep together often? Is the father just over-caring or over-protective. My wife suffers from depression, sexual frigidity, and now an affair with an older man (fatherly figure maybe????). And the father immediately sees it as a chance to get her back in the house.
    Anyway, I really tried to save our marriage, partly because I really love her and now, partly because I’m afraid of what would happen to her if she moves back.

    Is this a sign of incest? None of her sisters who stayed back ever had any successful relationships with men. Her elder sister is terribly hot tempered. My wife’s taking meds for depression and would not want to discuss this issue with me. I tried talking to my wife’s cousin, but I doubt he believes in what I say. My wife and I are still together.

    Can anyone help?

  8. I need to find a published book and/or article that explains not only the symptomology (sp?) of incest but also what is called the Child Sexual Abuse Syndrome. I have found some web info that states the symptoms for both interlap (delayed outcry, promescuity (sp?), substance abuse), but are the warning signs necessarily identical? After all, incest necessarily involves familial relation but sexual abuse need not. Is there such thing as a professional association/organization of therapists, psychologists, etc., who handle cases involving one or the other, or both? Please respond. I am thinking of writing my Master’s thesis on this matter. John, 210-307-0336

  9. As a survivor of incest, many of the symptoms are exacerbated by difficulty finding adequate support and help when a person seeks treatment. A classic warning sign is an authoritarian parent who appears dependent on HIS family for emotional support but unable to offer affection or intimacy or regulate his emotions or sexual impulses himself. Incest is a universal taboo, and a parent who overrides this basic law has major problems and causes major stress and damage to his family. Sexual abuse comes from an inability to control sexual urges as well as a sense of entitlement to use other people as objects to satisfy physical needs or use sex as a source of self-soothing and exerting a sense of power and control instead of finding more viable methods. Healthy parents are loving and protective, those who abuse their positions of authority seek to abuse their position of trust to gain a sense of power and control or self-validation. this brings me back to the trouble finding adequate help. The psychiatrists I saw used verbal and emotional abuse to weaken my defenses. Likewise, no intimacy could be created as the relationship was based on me divulging shameful facts about myself which they in turn used to dominate and humiliate me further. A sense of warmth and genuine concern was missing in the offices where I was treated as a sick object rather than a person who had been damaged by someone else’s abusive behaviour. The process of being systematically criticised for drinking heavily (I rarely drink), being too sick to work ( I function well, even under stress), too stupid to study and therefore depressed (I received a Commonwealth scholarship to complete my Ph D) made me increasingly frustrated and left me far more confused and depressed than when I had entered for help. Added to this, the sexual propositions, romanticising of what should have been a professional relationship, and the denial by medical colleagues that certain psychiatrists were mentally ill and too sick to be treating patients, left me increasingly isolated, infuriated and incapable of trusting in the supposed helpers. Therapy wasted much time, money, physical and emotional energy. Until patients or clients can tape sessions to off-set the notes or no-documentation of those who are paid to treat them, I wonder whether standards will improve. Sexual abuse stigmatises the victim and leaves the offender above reproach as most abuse occurs in private and speaking out is met with disbelief or accusations of deceit or seduction. Now women are trained to keep safe, rather than men being trained to avoid violating other people. Sexual abuse is rife in any relationship where one partner is emotionally immature or ruthless and self-serving and feels entitled to use another person for sexual gratification without offering emotional connection or protection of consideration for the other person’s needs and feelings. Once sexual abuse is viewed through such a lens, then the problem is seen to be far more prevalent and difficult to erase and treat. incest is an extreme example of a society where men are encouraged to act out sexually as a sign of virility and self-esteem. what feels good to a man may feel terrifying to the victim of their sexual urges. And God help a woman who rejects a man’s sexual overtures…she always has to be so careful not to hurt his ego by coming up with excuses rather than feel entitled to be honest and state that she finds him sleazy, boring, ugly or stupid. Men, however, have no problem calling a woman a dog, a slut or desperate. The double standard keeps women locked in denial of their sexual desires to maintain their reputation while men feel entitled to hunt for more bodies to fill their growling hunger to get a high form sex. Few men are capable of the level of intimacy and emotional connection that would satisfy a woman, and women make excuses for this refusal to be vulnerable or open by stating that he’s a man and can’t be expected to be needy or vulnerable or emotionally open like a woman. no wonder the gender wars continue and sexual abuse is seen as a man’s right and a woman’s problem.

  10. I am concerned a neighbor boy may be being sexually abused. How can I be sure? He is about to be 16 and he is also dating my daughter!

  11. I need someone to talk to. I found out my husband has and is looking at pictures of his adult daughters naked pictures. I’ve always believed his daughter was messed up, but know I know they both are.

  12. Jena:

    Please consult these resources to find a qualified therapist in your area:

  13. I had a boyfriend who I discovered having ssex with his son I was with him fir 4 yrs before I discovered it. The boy is now 16 and they have a sexual relationship, was going on since this boy was little and I never understood when cps was called, the boy never disclosed any information and seemed ok with his dad doing this. I thought he was having an affair so recorded stuff, that’s found it was son and other people. I’ll never understand it or the exceptance from it. He told everyone I was crazy and family believed it, so I could never save boy, but boy didn’t want to be saved and was so jealous of and Competed with me and dad brfore I knew and father would wait on him hand and foot, so programmed but didn’t see to care. I’ll never understand why boy wouldn’t be depressed or say no, odd world. It’s against law to record so couldn’t do a thing to help and I realized boy seemed ok with it

  14. Have a question why would someone all sudden want to change the babies diaper all the time which is a boy and always wanting to hold him and keep him. Now the baby is having anger issues and when you ask why all of sudden is touching his self is only 18 month and the baby is starting to show separation anxiety when that person is leaving wanting to spend all this time with the baby is tring to leave the baby gets unusually upset. And every time you turn around is trying put the baby in their lap wanting to hold them when they show they want to put down and makes them sit. And when you ask the person which is grandpa what’s up with wanting to get so close to your baby and why you want to be so helpful get angry and or changes the subject…
    What would you think is going on as a parent….And what would you do cause the baby can not talk.this is giving me a uneasy feeling… I am I just paranoid or these signs of some type abbuse…

  15. Please contact your local child protection agency about your concerns.

    Greg Wright
    NASW Public Relations Manager

  16. Greg Wright was that to me. Does it sound fishy to you like it does me is what I am asking…

  17. Thank you so much for thie info on this site. I fear my son is having incestuous sex with his daughter, I have been to the police but they say they need more evidence, a confession or her to admit. So I am doing my best to get that so we can stop it. While I am very concerned for my granddaughter I am also very concerned for him as his life wil be destroyed unless there is some way he can not only stop but also recover from this incredibly destructive habit. Any insights on how I can proceed?

  18. Mr. Babich:

    So sorry to hear about your suspicions. We know it must be difficult to deal with. I would suggest contacting social worker and NASW member LeslieBeth Wish directly at with your concerns and questions.

    Take care.

    Greg Wright
    NASW Public Relations Manager

  19. I just wanted to address the writer asking about his wife & her sister’s peculiar relationship with their father. No, it is not “normal” for a father & his daughters to be sleeping in the same bed, especially as “grown” adult women. My advice is honestly to leave your marriage before this woman takes you down with the ship. If you see some hope, then at the very least separate from her both physically & emotionally for about 6 month’s and seek counseling for your own self first since your wife chose to have an affair. A parent’s job is to protect your children the best of your ability when young while preparing and guiding them to become their own person and thus…want to form their own life with their own peer’s. There are actual stages of development by a man by the name of Young identified as normal stages of development that might be helpful for you to research. With this said, I have a close family as well, but my sister brother and myself Never slept with our Dad, with perhaps the exception of when we were young children afraid of thunder, and then we were with Both Mom & Dad. Normal parents are capable of teaching healthy emotional boundaries. Your intuition is trying to warn you. I had a colleague tell me once, “Always trust your gut feeling, it Never ever steers you wrong.”. My husband calls this phenomenon, our ” Spidey Sense”. To this day it has never steered me wrong. Best advice I ever received in my life. Listen to what Your gut tells you, regardless of their strange relationship. Do what is right for you and if you really love your wife, suggest she seek professional help too, after all she did leave home to marry you, unlike the other 2 sister’s. She probably fears her father and perhaps her dark past, so she might be able to recover emotionally with help of a specialized Therapist or Doctor. Try to look at it from her side too, if it’s true that’s an awfully heavy secret to carry around for any person. Good Luck to you. One more suggestion, prayers never hurt either. Look up the Serenity Prayer, it’s helped me through a lot of struggle and confusion.

  20. My sister as an adult was sleeping with her dad. They had a little girl then she molested her 13 year old brother and had a child. And then a third child again with her father. Isn’t this illegal?

  21. I have a question about weather my girlfriend is sleeping with her 17yr old son. I’ve thought thay where for sometime now but, just recently I’ve noticed even more about how interested she is in where he is at all times. There’s a lot more but I’d like someone to talk to that knows about this.

  22. Let’s take a look at this whole problem of incest from the spiritual angle. It’s rather sad that parents who are meant to protect and preserve their own kids from external harm turn out to be the ones that Satan is using to sexually abuse them. It’s rather unfortunate still that some of these victims, now adults, claim to be enjoying their ungodly sexual acts with their parents. It’s a pity that they may not realise the gravity of what they are doing now until they are dead and find themselves in hellfire. They have violated the Word of God in Lev18:1-30. If only they can repent whole heartedly, and invite Christ into their lives to save them and deliver them, they will be free. The gravity of what they’ve done, and are probably still doing, does not really matter so long as they truly repent and ask God for mercy, pardon and cleansing by the precious blood of Jesus. He will pardon them and help them to start a new life (Isaiah 1:18). God is merciful, all He desires from us is a penitent heart and a change of our ways, for He doesn’t desire d death of the wicked, but that the wicked should turn from his ways and live, Ezekiel 18:21-23. We are in a wicked world, and this generation is a godless one; the end times are nigh. Heaven and hell are real, but Satan has blinded the eyes of many and hardened their hearts so dat they will not see and understand the truth that will lead to life with Christ in the hereafter. When you talk about Jesus in this age, people see you as archaic, or that it’s because you have one problem or the other. May we not cry in regret on that day, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, amen.

  23. Thank you doctor. My ex-girlfriend I guess( it is often unclear what my status is) is 47 and the victim of father-daughter incest she had some couselling early on, but mom was not supportive of secular counselling. Snow job. They seem to be more interested in protecting themselves been saving her life. She’s currently in another state with a fellow she had never met in person until he came to pick her up. She often quote un quote runs away from home. She walked away from my husband and five children and was staying with her mother across the street from me. My real question is why such prevalence of promiscuity?what is the reward pathway? Is her self-esteem tied to her genitalia? Is it temporary feeling of control over men?she does take my advice sometimes. When I suggested that she stopped using the word suicide so much because it only served to solidify the idea and she stopped. I do believe there is potential but she seems to be on a delusional plain. She often repeats to me verbatim certain ideas and Concepts I put forward to her as if she doesn’t have a reasonable mind to think of what to say herself yet wants to sound believable. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride but I do love her and wants to help any way that I can without of course being codependent. Any advice that you have would be appreciated I am 60 she is 47. Thank you for your work dr. I know it is not easy. May God bless you and cover you and your patients. Amen.

  24. Recently I was having a relationship with a guy I had moved in with, who lived with his family.towards the end of my stay after one and a half months he started to sleep in his mums bed if he was feeling Ill . his mum hadbsevere anxiety and they did this when his dad was I’m Singapore. I thought I was being paranoid and theybsaid ibwad viewing it all wrong until I walked into hi bedroom where I also slept each night, and caught his mum in her underwear(like she often was around the house) on top of him , kissing his face but not lips and saying I love you so much. It was also thatbher leg was over him, in a way I would put my leg over my lover. When I hung out with his mum , she would look at his Facebook profile at pictures of him shirtless and surfing and say “oh, he’s so hot” in tone as she would about any attractive man. When I asked my boyfriend to come sleep with me in his bed when he was in hisums bed he would , when I asked him to come talk outside the house one night about it, he became angry, defensive , and then rebellious and said” I want to sleep with mama” .during the day he would ignore her when she was constantly atbhim , and needy towards him and play hearthstone cardgame on the laptop but later occassionalluly he’d sleep in her bed and when I said why he replies “because I haven’t spent time with her lately” one night when in went in there intonto her room and begged him to come out when she was in her other sons room , he wouldn’t . she slept in the other sons bed. It’s just she seems obseessed with him, as I got to know her quite well and she told me she hasn’t had a good pash with her husband for three years and all she wants is a good kiss. She also confided in me that she was sexually abused by a family friend when she was seven , when inconfided in her about my abuse. After reading several pages and sites now on incest stories I can confirm that their relationship may be of a (partly) sexual nature. She interfered a lot in our relationship while in lives with them, but he stopped being sexual with me around the time he started to sleep in her room. He didn’t sleep in there every night only when he was sick , but he was never very sick. Shed always baby him so much. Hes 21 and acts 16/17 much of the time. Somethings not right . the boundaries of this woman are all wrong and she even says to his friends I bet you have a big dick, around me. Shes around 60 years old and dresses in mini shorts and mini skirts, and revealing dresses. I know we live ina for climate but her clothing is rather revealing all the time. She has a champagne addiction and an eating disorder . I’ve moved out now but I’d like to know if they are involved in some weird incestuous way so I can decide whether to become friends or not with him in future. I also did a drawing of him and showed her (I’m a pretty good portrait artist) and she put the picture right up to her face and was staring at the eyes and kept going on about the eyes looking like his dads. That son got way more attention than the other one who his in his room and acted depressed all the time.his dad said it’s ok for him to sleep in his mums bed at 21 ! If sick . I wanted to ask him why doesn’t he kiss his wife? Is there something I should know about? My ex always said nothing but his mum defending it and said I was viewing it all wrong even when in was just annoyed he was doing it at such an old age and that I didn’t like being left alone in his room without him. I was only creeped out but didn’t say why .

  25. My 14 year old granddaughter died 6 weeks ago after a self inflicted gunshot wound. We are trying to understand why. In retrospect, she had become more depressed in the last few months. There were several issues – her parents are divorcing after years of unhappiness, she was trying to find herself and thought she might be gay or bi – which was ok with both me and her mother, my daughter. We each told her we would love her no matter what. She was not sleeping well, and even sleep walking. She was being teased at school a lot. We found out she was cutting herself, and told a few friends she was depressed and wanted to hurt herself. Her father wanted to be very close to her. He would go into her room at 4am when he left for work, to kiss her. She shot herself in the head at 6am on a school/work day, having spent the previous day with her Dad.
    Her Dad is an angry, moody, isolated person, with a history of drug use, who often has homophobic and racists rants. She did not tell him her thoughts about her sexuality. During this period, he became more secretive about their time together, which was spent sometimes behind his closed bedroom doors, playing video games. He and my daughter had not had marital relations for many years. He kept a loaded unlocked weapon within reach, which is what my granddaughter used to kill herself.
    In retrospect, I am wondering if he could have been using her as a surrogate girlfriend – kissing, fondling, even if not overtly having sexual relations. The symptoms my granddaughter had seem to correlate to sexual abuse.

  26. The time a teach said that I can tell her if this was happening or to the police whom had a post next to the school opened my eyes.
    I was around 8 and had been sexually abused by my biological father and mother since my first memories.
    This article mentions the fear of breaking up the family, but I exclaimed to the family that I was going to report to the police. This enable David and Stephanie to bail out of the island where we were living well off, and forced us to move to Trinidad where they grew up.
    Now, I am age 22 in Trinidad and they defended their actions by admitting to growing cultural in incest.

  27. Was dr wish molested by her dad

  28. My husband of 13 years had an incestuous relationship with his daughter behind my back for 2 years. She moved in at 18, aging out of foster care system from another state. We took her in, I took her in believing she was his daughter. I didn’t know anything was going on. There was signs coming from her now that I think back on it. I have 3 little boys with this man (he never touched them, had them checked out). After I found out about the affair, I was truly in denial, wanting to make my marriage work for the sake of our boys. He went to prison and she moved out of state. Now she has returned, I saw her for the first time today and I have forgiven them both, not forgotten. I couldn’t say anything to her, I am not ready for that. But I am surprised I still have motherly feeling towards her. I am angry, I am not sure if this is normal or not. Even with the amount of therapy the boys and I have under gone, I am angry I still have motherly feelings for my step daughter. One should think, screw her she doesn’t deserve those feelings, but I still do. Kind of like I once loved my husband but no longer am in love with him and am getting a divorice. Why is there no research out there about the bigger picture… they people they hurt?

  29. How common is incest between an older brother and a toddler brother

  30. I need advice asap pls. Is it considered normal behavior for a father to spray his 15year old daughters perfume on his shirt? He says its so he can have her scent on him and smell her when he’s not with her

  31. Ms. O’Brien:

    Please go to and click the Find a Social Worker tab in the upper right hand corner of the page. This will help you find a local social worker who can assist.

    Greg Wright, NASW Public Relations Manager

  32. For reasons beyond my control, my daughter was with her alcoholic dad from ages nine to thirteen. He has since passed away from a number of health issues related to that lifestyle and pretty much lived his life as a homeless bum. My daughter had serious behaviour problems and simply adored him! She went on to have a child out of wedlock and developed a substance abuse problem! Last month her child was placed in foster care! Something dawned on me like a bolt of lightning! Her adoration for her dad is more like that of worship rather than of a child! I don’t know why I never noticed that before! Her whole behavioural issues fits the pattern of one who had more than a father daughter relationship! Despite him being known as the town drunk she defends him and speaks of how handsome and smart he was! How witty and gifted! He was none of these things! She has been unable to have a long term relationship of her own. Has been promiscuous! Blames me for breaking her dad’s heart! Accusing me of his inability to live a normal life! Feels she was his sole purpose of happiness! Everything points to more than a father figure in her eyes! She sounds like he was a lover done wrong by me!
    Her child is only six years old and already cutting herself!
    My daughter has told lies on me such as I abused her! This is absolutely false!
    She sees her dad as a hero and he never held a steady job!
    Her bedroom looks like a shrine of him plastered with his photos and not one photo of me!
    Am I missing something here?

  33. You have to be careful with research. All research alway put women at less of doing anything wrong. These social worker think they can said whatever and everyone is to believe it. There is just as much inces of mom and son, aunt and nephew, grandmother of grand sons. I do not agree with this social worker. You can make research said anything. You find that most women who attack males as being this sex thing are also the same. One thing women like to do is to paint a picture of their self being holy. It all about making money.

  34. I find this very interesting and sad because my steo did things to me in my sleep i was only in the 4th grade when i told my mom she didnt belive me and beat me with a dog chain she always abused me i had to have alot of therapist. Sometime it worked someyime it didnt the same thing happened to me 2 more times when i was in my teens the only person i had was my grandmothet and she has past away i miss her so much i honestly need a doctor now here in vegas i came hete for a guy not knowing anyone or have any family here i put up with so much of lies and bull crap i gave him 5 chances. Nothing came out of that 5 year relationship. I left him about 6months ago im with someone new for about 5 months now hes nice and caring i left my job for him well i was actually on my way to greyhound to leave but i ended up moving with the new guy i love him so much but u wont belive what ive been seeing and hearing nevermind i have to find soneone to talk to about this i need to know what to do i really enjoyed reading your work take care be strobg and god bless

  35. It’s amusing to me how social workers always ignore boys when they report abuse at the hands of a female relative. My Mother sexually abused me starting at 10. Reported it to a teacher CpS did a review and viola back into the abuse. My grand father finally intervened when I was 13. Lo and behold my grandmother then proceeded to try molesting me. My maternal grandmother. I ran away from their home and ended up homeless till I was 28. There’s a systematic white washing of males abused by female relatives in the USA. I’ve meet many men with similar experiences.

  36. i just found out my hubby was molesting our 9yr old dauther i didnt see any signs i never thought he would do anything like this my whole world is schattered i feel sick to my stomach……i wish i knew EARLIER but imelda i found out now…me n my dauther both r going to get counseling

  37. I watch my neighbors 18 month old girl. Her mother is early 20’s and a habitual liar. I feel sorry for this little girl so I watch her as often as l can thinking to be a stable role model like an auntie. I have babysat for forty years and never experienced this. In the beginning the mother would let her spend the night but would be knocking on my door that she misses her daughter and just wants to snuggle with her. So I felt sorry for the little one being waken up. I never did that with my son. Anyways the last few times she would let her sleep and pick her up 7-8am. The last few times she would wake up around 3:30 whinnying and stay up almost 3 hours! I try hard to put her back to sleep but doesn’t work. Well last night after 2 hours I layed next to her and pretended to sleep. She took off her pajamas caressed my face then crawled on my head and straddled my head!! She was wearing a diaper then l moved her off my head and took her to rocking chair in living room. Please confirm that this is not normal. Could her mother be fondling her to make her sleep? There are other odd behaviors she exhibits but this one is very disturbing. Please advise l can’t sleep wondering what is really going on in that home.

  38. I was molested by my mom’s boyfriend & father to my youngest brother. He also badly beat my other younger brother sometimes so badly his butt bled. I remember his being very verbally abusive & more physical in his spankings but didn’t know how badly til many years later. My family didn’t support me & in fact went out of their way to make me recant including about 3-4 members coming over uninvited drunk & began to push around, intimidating, & threatening my father in front of me & my little sister. The cops said they were unable to do anything even though they said they’d kill him if he called authorities. I unded up staying most of the year with my dad, but still saw my mom on summer break babysitting my little brother for spending money. That’s when he would show up & afraid what would happen to my younger handicapped brother, I stayed while he sexually abused me. I have very broken up memories with a lot of empty blanks of forgotten memories mixed up in my head. I thought I never spoke & so he never went to jail & the abuse continued for 3 or so more years. I was 11 when it was reported to child services. He was never charged & my mom cut him completely out of our lives. She’s now off & on with my dad. But I am damaged for sure. Multiple suicide attempts, a decade or more of extreme clean 3 years now, drug user til about the same time with help from a good clinic my family & a good deal of society are against stupidly. I spent most of my life after he disappeared from my life being sexually & physically abused by men in my life til I met my now husband of 6 years. He saved me. Helped me see my family for who they are, let me be myself without fear or shame, & since he was also abused as a child, never is disbelieving or unsupportive.
    Now I found out that my oldest sister’s husband has been sexually abusing my niece & his own daughter! But even worse, my family are acting suspiciously like they are trying to keep her quiet & nobody from stopping him. At 1st it seems good when I was finally told about it though I had seen some small hints of something being wrong, I didn’t figure out in part to do.with my alcoholism & drug addictions. I feel very guilty for that. It’s been going on for years though nobody has clarified how many, & after a year after it 1st came out into the open, nothing seems to be happening legally! I even swore I heard his voice in a back room during the time he was supposedly have been told not to return. Stories aren’t adding up or are different from one another in too important ways to be true. I believe my dad is innocent in his truly believing the cops are.involved but each day spent around my family, especially certain people, leaves me feeling strongly that not only has nobody called the cops or anyone on the matter, but are helping to keep her isolated, prisoner in her own home with family acting as guards, & afraid to speak out for help. She has made many attempts to spend time with me working on art projects as we both love art passionately, or talking japanimation, but even though now 18, she is not her mom to spend any time alone or away with me. Though we both greatly wish to. She also has made comments on how her mom won’t let her keep certain & numerous amounts of gifts I want to give her. One she grasped to her heart & said she didn’t care she was taking & keeping regardless of her mom’s feelings was a hanging plate with the serenity prayer on it after I explained how it had helped me in many ways in my life. This last Christmas eve when we all get together to celebrate, eat & exchange gifts, it seemed my niece was being pinned in a corner of the living room on a chair by her mom & two older brothers, including her twin, who sat right in front of her on the floor keeping her there all night secluded from the rest. She hasn’t told me personally of the abuse though she has made plenty of easy to read comments on it. She did tell my older & only other family member than dad I know stood up for me & I trust, about some of the abuse & how her siblings are mostly unsupportive of her though have some doubts from time to time. She admits to thinking of committing suicide in a fit of despair of ever stopping the abuse & unable to live with it any longer. She told my brother & his wife that despite my sister’s statement of telling him off, he still spends time at home. He’s a long haul trucker. They are also deeply religious, home schooled & completely niave & cut off from the real world & the way it works. I finally had a chance to talk alone with her but soon was apparent she was protecting them even though it was putting her in a state of depression & misery. I never saw any family member so miserable & hopeless looking as she did this Christmas Eve. I know my family is keeping her & themselves quiet though unsure who all are involved for sure, & afraid of the repercussions if I make the wrong move or choice. Call the cops & risk giving myself away & her not speaking theat gives them time to run away with her? I feel lost here but can’t sit unmoving to stop this. She needs help but how and who? Please any advise is greatly appreciated ! So much more to this story but would take too long telling it all. This is short version. PLEASE HELP ME HELP HER!

  39. Hi, I don’t know if this is still active, but I wanted to ask if anyone knows the statistics of a molested male becoming a molester.. a male I know was molested by his father, and we wonder if he would end up molesting his own children? Thanks

  40. It is so sad all of this …I was sexual abused by my dad for 9 years my little sister too …we can not forget or forgive its been hard and it keeps hurting us …we hate him so so much …we just discover something really sick our grandma had sex with her dad and had 4 kids from that relationship one of those kids is my dad it makes me sick to know I don’t understand why its disgusting….

  41. I just remembered, this morning. My father ‘got’ me first when I was eighteen months old and finally potty trained and finally alone with him. My mother was in the hospital. I was born in 1969 when little girls were still considered disposable, and the cloth diapers were no shield from anyone’s fingers. All this time I thought it was only my godfather’s fingers in my diapers, but now I remember I really hated sitting on my father’s lap, too, and peeing on them did not work to stop their fingers. I tried to defend myself, but peeing on one’s groomer does not stop them. I had one night, or maybe a weekend with my father, then I was driven to my grandmother’s, dropped off, and she gave me to my godfather with the excuse she had no room in her house for me. My godfather then showed me what daddies do to mommies much more skillfully than my father. He even dressed me up in a lacy short white dress, first. I was with him for at least ten days. We played house.

    It seems, I preferred my godfather to my father. But the sexual relationships with my father and godfather did cause me to fracture off an alternate personality to deal with that which I should not have had to deal, and I finally found that personality hiding in a dark corner of my mind. When I found her/me, she ran away, but I called her back “Hey, you are me! Get back here,” and suddenly we joined and my PTS resumed. I thought I was done working through my early abused years, so I really hope this is the last set of old terrible emotions I have to deal with. I am tired. I’ve been beating through my mind for almost half a year, now, and I thought I was done.

    When my parents got divorced, I was twelve. My father began making jokes about incest being the game the whole family enjoys and, once, out of nowhere, mentioned to me that little girls who were sexually violated will make passes at men, and looked at me with a look I now know meant “You can seduce me any time you like.” I feel like puking over the many times he gave me that look.

    Other things occurred, he attempted to groom me, very clumsily, throughout my teenage years. He would insult my body to my face. I realize now, he was trying to make me feel so crappy I would sleep with him, again. I got all fat and made myself ugly during my twenties and I thought it stopped, at last. But by my age thirty, was feeling alright, again, as I found my niche in the work world, at last, and that is when it all started again.

    After I married and got pregnant, it got really weird with my dad. He acted, quite frankly, as if I scorned him. And then, once my baby began to walk, I watched the initial steps a sexual molester takes to groom a child right in front of their parents. It was a really strange moment because I’d already been through it before, on the receiving end, but still did not remember, and there was my father, attempting to groom my baby daughter in a sing-song voice. He told her, I’m not like other people, I tickle you, but I will stop when you tell me to. I remember a little voice in my head said “No, he will not.”

    My father never wanted me in the first place. He reacted with emotional and verbal abuse when I told him I was pregnant, so he didn’t want a granddaughter, either. He doesn’t see us right, and I have already broken contact. But not before I told him I know what he is now, and I told him I told my brother, if my brother ever has children, he can never leave them alone with Grandpa, ever.

    I’m still having the PTS from the memory. I hope this process is shorter than dealing with the PTS from the memories with my godfather, but then, I was in a sexual relationship with my godfather from 18 months old until 60 months old when, suddenly, he disappeared. I was discarded.

    I was heavily abused in all sorts of ways from ages 0-60 months. Although I read lots of folk went through worse, it was harrowing, unnecessary, and I feel lucky to be alive. As soon as I hit kindergarten, it all suddenly let up. It seems, I was born to a couple of packs of narcissists, bi-polars and child molesters. As I consider and compare what I have become to what my parents are, I do believe each of them was molested, also. My mother by a step grandfather (when I look at pictures of her father, my grandfather, I see someone ‘got’ him, too), and my father by his very own maternal grandmother who may have also molested my paternal grandmother. My paternal grandfather always had horrible dreams during which he would shout out in his sleep. I thought I had inherited my horrible dreams from him, quite frankly, but mine are all memories of what happened so long ago, so I wonder if my grandfather was raped at boarding school?

    This is some nasty stuff that has been passed down for many generations in many families, and now, it seems, the Baby Boomers and Generation X and now maybe even the Millennials are still molesting children, and I’m just having too much PTS to deal with it now.

    I have to work on my recovery on my own with the help of books and the internet. My employer negotiated healthcare avoidance package provided by my spouse’s multi-national billion dollar employer does not include coverage for mental health care.

    But hey, the more the healthcare companies and employers and Governors of Republican persuasion find ways to block me from healthcare and mental healthcare, the more I want my Medicare, now. Oops. I went political, but I’d really like some help. I might be smart enough to be a counselor, but even they get help for their mental health issues.

    The worst side effect? Sadly, I never was able to form a long term relationship with any sort of career, and, I’ve been faking I know what to do and how to act for my entire life. Usually, I pick someone I admire, and pretend I am them. I did, however, manage to force myself to complete High School and I did force myself to complete my Associate of Science, but after that, I only made it halfway through a more advanced degree and there is a string of jobs I’ve quit (after giving them a complete list of what was wrong at their company, of course) and many many unfinished projects for which I have supplies packed in boxes in the basement. I will finish them someday. =)

  42. If a father has a porn addiction, was molested as a child and watches adult father daughter incest porn and has 2 daughter’s one 11 and one 4 are the daughters at risk of being molested?

  43. What are the possible signs of incestous relationship between a brother and his sister ?.

  44. What are possible signs of incest between a grown man of 30 and his mother?

  45. Hi, my uncle, who was 40 at the time, forced himself on me in the front seat of a car, when I was 25. My mother believed me in the beginning and helped me get into counseling, but over the years has somehow changed her thinking and even allowed her brother back into her life and he has somehow convinced her this was a big consensual mistake. She recently told me that for “years,” I had “teased” him by saying, specifically, “…if you weren’t my uncle….” I have no recollection of saying this and have never thought of any uncle in a sexual way, but that falls on deaf ears. (which would have been when I was a teenager – barf). Everyone had been drinking at a party earlier in the night before this happened, as in about 7 hours earlier, but she refuses to believe anything other than I was drunk, which I 100% was not. I drove around lost for a few hours because my uncle refused to tell me where to go to drop him off (we were visiting family in the mountains in Arkansas and being from California I had no clue where I was). HE was drunk and only when I went off the road after dosing off did he take over driving and drive off the road into the woods saying he had to rest (he has narcilepsy) and rest he did not. So after my mom’s non-stop attack on me about how this is somehow my fault and/or this cannot be anything but consensual, I want to know if there are ANY statistics or any data/information that I can show her that will help her understand I was raped, black and white, by a family member, that it was incest, and I’m not the only one in the world this has happened to, and that just because I was 25 doesn’t somehow make me automatically consenting. Any help is appreciated.

  46. We suggest those who have specific questions about incest to contact NASW member LeslieBeth Wish:

  47. I know thier is an incestous relationship going on it my husband and his 3 daughters….ive caught it on voice recorder….cps didnt do anything hes a great liar and manipulative and he backs his 15 daughter up i have two young children with him and she hates them…..i turned in a recorder to police station but i havent herd back….who do i get to do physcal on child…hes great with my little ones with me but i dont know.please help

  48. I’m 49 now and have gone through many years of depression, low self esteem. I’m currently married with a 15 year old daughter. I’m taking care of my 78 year old father with moderately late stage dementia who is currently in a skilled nursing facility due to broken left hip (right hip broke in 2016). He can no longer take care of himself – wears diapers and basically moans all time. I’m having such difficulty visiting him – feeling sorry for him and wanting to help while not wanting to visit him at all and feeling guilty about not wanting to visit him. I’m in counseling and have come to the realization that my father sexually abused me when I was child – perhaps 3, 4, or 5 years of age. I have no concrete memory of the sexual abuse, but many signs point to it. I am my father’s only care taker and power of attorney. My husband helps me tremendously. Do I need to remember to actually believe this abuse took place?

  49. I have been with my boyfriend (ex now) for 10 years. He never showed any signs that he would be a sexual predator. He was molested by 4 different people as a child. One of his molesters was his step father and his mom stayed married to him and is still with him to this day. My boyfriend is a recovering alcoholic on top of any other issues he has. 4 nights ago he picked up 2 bottles of whisky and drank both of them. He ended up molesting his 11 year old daughter while he was extremely intoxicated. Intoxication is NO excuse! He is now in jail. I can’t sleep at night because the thoughts continuously run through my head. I can’t wrap my mind around what happened. It was a one time (one time too many) incident. I was going to be marrying this man. He was my world. Now I feel like he died. I hate that this happened to his daughter and hate that he has 3 other children effected by this. Their mother is a heroin addict so they already have experienced so much. I don’t even know why I’m writing this. I can’t talk to anyone because they just don’t understand my feelings. I have loved this man for 10 years. I will NEVER look at him the same. I would never be back with him! People in my life just don’t understand the pain I’m feeling. They act like all my feelings over the 10 years so should just disappear right away. I tried to explain that I feel like the man I’ve loved for 10 years has died.

  50. I was a non-relative care taker of a baby girl, DSS removed. Although i have been raising her brother for 7 years prior.
    The Case worker found the father and he proved positive through a DNA test, and proceeded to get her under his custody.

    Now that he has full reunification he has been isolating her from her brother and the rest of us as well…. to the point of desperately fabricating stories in court that I threatened him.

    I can only guess, he is jealous, of her reaction when she sees me, she reaches out to me, or maybe he is just a power freak, or maybe something more sinister on his part. This concerns me, if he loved her as a father loves their daughter he would be happy she can visit with us, but he is on a mission to completely isolate her from everyone.

    I am suspicious of his psychological reasonings after he desperately mocked the court room as a victim of a fabricated threat…. so, it just got real.

    I see signs of sociopathic developments, but after 11 years of heroin and alcohol abuse, it’s not uncommon to have those traits of emotional immaturity disorder.

    His behavior is without reasoning abusive, non attentive to the child’s needs. In addition to playing victim to some fantom pressure.

    My question is where is the baby’s advocate?


  52. A male child who is molested often becomes a perpetrater. My grown son was just caught molesting his 3 year old daughter. He was molested by neighbor boys on many occasions until I found out. I was afraid he would molest his child and it happened. I live in another state and I don’t know what to do. I may lose my granddaughter because of him. I want to be there for him, but i’m on his GF and daughter’s side. Do i just take off and fly out there?

  53. Where is the help/information for daughters molested by their biological mothers?? IT HAPPENS, and it’s too “taboo” a subject for anyone in society to address it! And it happens WAAAY more often than one would think!
    We need more information, more resources, more qualified therapists, more education on this soul-crushing, decrepit, vile abuse!

  54. Wow I can’t believe the amount of victims coming forward on the comments, I would like to know why there isn’t a safe place for victims to come forward? Why is it that when I reported my son’s abuse by his grandfather the detective called ME sick in the head, why is it it that when I did report it, my father’s family took his (the abusers) side? Why is accusing the victim of being mentally ill so rampant in court and social services? These people are victims, they received no justice when they were abused, they were revictimized by the abuser in court, they receive no justice when they speak out, and then the victims deal with lifelong effects and emotional trauma due to the abuse while the abuser walks happily free , effects that our society has to deal with such as drug addiction, identity loss, career failures, criminal activity, suicide, self harm, mental disorders the list goes on, they are blamed for this when in reality the abuser caused a chain reaction of suffering amongst many many lives.

  55. To: Frank; December 17, 2016 • 6:28 pm
    There isn’t enough research on mothers who molest/rape sons from infancy through teen years, as I’ve witnessed my mother (now deceased) commit. She actually believed it was permissible for her, saying, “Cain’s wife was his sister.” (It was an astounding remark coming from a woman who never read the Bible or believed the verses I showed her about incest being prohibited in later biblical history.) To this day, my brothers have deeply toxic relationships with their wives and daughters. Further, my being born a daughter didn’t protect me from ‘Mommy-Dearest’. She’d exercise multiple and various punishments upon me (her scapegoat) for my having venomous arguments with her, over her cruelties to me and others. No one else tried holding her accountable. (She once tried to literally tear my face off my head by digging her fingernails in my cheeks and pulling them apart, and no one attempted to stop her. My proof is my yearbook picture with facial bruises. Teachers asked me about it, but did nothing, back then.) I’ve grieved about not having friendships with my brothers and their families–they’ve ostracized me for knowing and saying too much after the funeral of one brother who took his own life–and it’s taken years for me to accept that I never actually had a family and that our father was the enabler who kept quiet about his being our mom’s cuckold. Forget about so-called “research”; this is mine (and I’ve got enough to fill volumes): Our sociopathic ‘mother’ should’ve been locked far away in a distant psych-prison for her countless felonies, but she wasn’t on this side of eternity, so my hope is that she’s finally paying for her crimes in Hell. The Scarred Survivor.

  56. I am the mother of an adult incest survivor – the perpetrator being my – then and now – EXhusband – with whom she spent two days a week and alternating holidays from age 3 until she left home at 18.

    Unfortunately I did not know this until 10 weeks ago when my 38 year old daughter advised me of the situation and severed all contact “while (she) heals”. (Yes, with professional guidance.)

    When she was nearly 6, she told me that another child inappropriately touched her. I believed her and took her immediately (within the hour) to her pediatrician who examined her and reported the incident to authorities. Within 18 hours I had her in front of a therapist. Once word got out, our entire community turned against me but I stood behind my daughter, removed her from the environment where she might encounter that child and otherwise worked hard to form new friendships, amp up my career and otherwise build a good, secure life for the two of us.

    Flash forward 32 years and – at her request – I cannot talk to my daughter about what her father did to her during those years.

    Consequently I am left with unanswerable questions and a fair bit of confusion and anger. Yes, I am in therapy. Yes, I have sought out the closest source of specialized support via the local non-profit who provides services to victims of sexual assault. Yes, I have turned to my closest friends and one sister for additional emotional support.

    I completely and absolutely believe my daughter and realize now that much of what I’ve never understood about her behavior towards me over the years is directly related to the trauma inflicted on her by her father.

    I can only describe the impact of learning what happened as the emotional equivalent of being hit by a high speed train while standing on the tracks to admire the surrounding scenery.

    I am posting to encourage more research into the nightmare of this phenomena and, specifically, more widely published pieces that might inform unsuspecting mothers that their little girls are being victimized. Articles about ways a girl’s behavior might change towards and around the non-abusive parent strike me as particularly helpful.

    At this point in my own life I am having trouble finding people who can answer my many questions and help me cope with the tremendous sorrow that darkens my every waking hour.

    In search of work related to my part of the scenario, I find articles describing the psychology of women who were told that their child was being molested and denied or – unfathomably – condoned it.

    I have yet to find much about mothers like myself – women who, over their daughters’ lifetimes, have done everything imaginable for and in behalf of their child only to be blindsided by a truth they never suspected and – if they had known about – would have moved heaven and earth to halt.

    I doubt I am alone in feeling that I am being punished – without recourse – for crimes I did not commit and that there is no venue for demanding justice this long after the fact

    I am glad to know my daughter is on a path that will hopefully restore her to her full potential for joy and a satisfying life. I love her beyond measure and miss her terribly. I so want to give her whatever she needs from me as she mends.

    In the meantime, my own health and sense of self have been profoundly altered. I grieve my daughter’s lost childhood and the subsequent decades over which the quality of her life has been diminished.

    I don’t know what to do.

    So – please, if you are a professional in this field and can provide guidance to women like myself, I implore you to do so – in person, in writing, online – do whatever you can to make your knowledge accessible. We need your help.

  57. i need help i was a party to this as a youth, my father and brother used me. lost a child also.

  58. I find myself at a crossroad at this point in my life and have no way to confront those whom harmed me. At the age of 42 and at work speaking with a coworker about golfing, a memory was triggered. My father died suddenly when I was twelve and I never understood why my behavior afterward was so violent. I turned to shots of whiskey after school, smoking, drugs, sex and extreamly dangerous activity. My ultamate goal was to die. I begged and prayed to die. My mother and older brother played no attention to me. My mother was drinking heavily and taking sleeping pills after his death. I was cutting at home and in school. No one noticed my cut up bloodied arms. I was pregnant at 16 and again at 19 and 22. I couldn’t understand why my life was so out of control. People die. I lost aunts, uncles, grandparents. Why did my fathers death influence the rest of my life to this degree. My older brother was fine. Finished school. Went to college.
    The memories came flooding back soon after talking about my father taking me to the golf courses. Always alone. From a very young age I remembered. I have always had a great memory but had blocked it all. Everytime he molested and raped me. For years and years. When I was 4 years old I had a vaginal infection. Mother applied a treatment for a couple weeks. She new. She said nothing. She did nothing. He would “play” with me in the bathroom, bathtub a lot. As he died in 88 I could only ever remember bits and pieces. Until I found a picture of us when I was 6. I could remember his smell, his body, every inch of him. Touching me, kissing and fondling me. His mouth on me and rubbing his nose where it shouldn’t be.
    With these memories come the most horrific pain of the loss of my father, my lover, my abuser. I guilt I feel is tremendous. I shouldn’t feel guilt. I should feel anger and betrayal and hate. I feel broken. Everything feels broken, my body and mind feel broken.
    With both parents dead I dont know with whom I can ever talk to from my family ever again. I have more hate towards them than my father who raped and molested me for years and years because no one new. No one stopped him. No one noticed how out of control I was and how close to death I came. The blame was always on me.
    After all this time, happily married with 2 kids this should be a happy time. I have lost what feels like all closeness to them. The intimacy I shared with my husband is gone and all I feel is my father touching me and kissing me.
    Ultimately I’m afraid. I’m afraid i will never stop feeling normal again. I will always be the little broken girl. And have no way of telling my rapist to stop. Forever in my memories will he rape me.

  59. Ernest,

    Undoubtedly men and boys tend to act out their trauma in ways that can be much more violent and offensive than women/girls but it is important to remember that no person who violates the inherent autonomy of another person in such terrible ways is healthy.

    Men’s trauma has been ignored in ways that (I believe) contributes to normalizing male violence and victimization. Men are socialized to identify with perpetrators of violence not with being victims because victims are gendered and we still live in a society where women/girls/the feminine is seen as fair game.

    Don’t be embarrassed, Ernest, be empathetic and recognize that male trauma and how men and boys respond to it is specific to the ways in which western culture views victims/survivors of all trauma including sexual abuse.

    An ally

  60. I have a question. My daughter was molested by my brother and he didnt even go to jail. We didnt even go to court they said no evidence. How could that be possible when we didnt get a chance to prove it. I dont understand. My daughter is so different. She’s not the same anymore. What can I do for justice and what do I need to do for my daughter from this point. He needs to be in jail for what he did. I got a lot of proof he lied about on the report. Please help. Thank you, Christina Tallent

  61. I’m very concerned that my friend maybe or will have an inappropriate relationship with his live-in girlfriends daughter (12 years old). He always talk about her in a negative lite, but when it comes to boys he gets really upset (jealous boyfriend) if shes communicating with one. He says she is fast, and if she gets pregnant he and her mom would have to take care of the baby.. I’ve observed her trying to sit in his lap, and he says she comes to there bed room every night to play around( He doesn’t have a shirt on and searing shorts). He said a few things that where troubling to me.. He watches step dad and step daughter porn, he thinks its little girls fault if they get molested (calls them fast). He was accused of inappropriate behavior with his last girlfriends daughter, and was kicked out of the house. He also had a girlfriend that son was fondling his little brother, and his mom asked where did he learn it from, and he said tv..It sounded a little fishy to me, given the past incident with the previous girlfriend. He also didn’t think it was a big deal. Recently (current girlfriend daughter) he says she walked in on him in his boxers getting out the shower, and she tried to stay in the room but her mother put her out. I’m so afraid fro the little girl, and I’m also torn because i don’t want to jump to conclusions and ruin a 20 year friendship. Everything in my gut says somethings not right, and the mom is to busy chasing him to make sure hes not not messing with other women.

  62. I am a 42 year old female abuse victim. When I turned 40 is the first time I mentioned my abuse. I still have not named my predator or shared any details. I have struggled emotionally my entire life. I don’t know how to deal with this. I think I may have a lot of repressed memories because I cannot remember many things from the past. I’m not sure what to do. Life has not been easy and I feel I have no hope of ever being happy. I have also been through several more traumas but I dont think I want to dog and remember more it makes my stomach sick with the few memories I keep coming back to. I think it’s too late to get help

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