The Monkey Wrench Effect is a way of looking at the damage of incest, based on the child victim’s developmental stage when first molested. It is as though a monkey wrench had been thrown into the child’s developmental machinery, interfering with the learning tasks of that and later stages.  (191)

Girls first molested before the age of nine are affected differently than those who are first molested after the age of nine, as measured by the Rorschach inkblot procedure and reported by Zivney, Nash, and Hulsey (1988, 99). This is a remarkable finding. Age of victimization, then, can affect the way they see the world–or at least inkblots they have to make sense out of.  Based on the responses, girls first abused after the age of nine appeared to be angrier, and those in the younger group more depressed and needy.

From FALLOUT: A Survivor Talks to Incest Offenders (and Others) by moi

About Nan Mykel

At 79, I was just about to stop keeping a journal, but that felt like accepting that growth was finished. I don't want to be finished, yet! I'm 80 now, and struggling to communicate with you, if you'll come and set awhile. P.S. My how time flies! I'm 83 now.
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  1. lynn__ says:

    Interesting…and sad how incest affects victims’ development. Just curious if the stats are similar for boys, as far as effects at younger/older ages?


    • Nan Mykel says:

      I did not come across any such further studies. Sorta unrelated, but I did come across a couple of studies (which I can’t find just now because I didn’t index my book) that indicates molested girls tend to turn their anger and shame inward, against themselves, while boys tend to turn it towards others, acting out.


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