INTRODUCTION – 4th Wednesday post

Published September 8, 2021 by Nan Mykel

I’ve lived a long life…

The fourth consecutive Wednesday posting of Fallout: A Survivor Talks to Incest Offenders: 

Introduction

First, I must tell you that I was not severely traumatized by my sexual abuse. I did not significantly dissociate nor develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I provisionally met the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder at one time. I’m telling you this so you can place the effects incest had on me in perspective.

Numerous others described herein experienced much more damage. Even with my non-violent assault, however, the damage should be obvious in the following pages.

FOR MEN WHO MOLEST

It is probable that you are much more than a man who molests. You may engage in good deeds, be a hard worker and good provider.

Like an animal that has developed rabies, however, you become a danger to society and will be/are being treated as such when your behavior is discovered. Your contributions to society become invisible and you are a marked man. The condition may not be terminal, however. In fact, you are far from alone in the population.

Most men who molest children have not yet been reported and convicted, nor have they been exposed to some of the information provided in treatment programs. You can learn to understand your urges and explore strategies for controlling them.

David Finkelhor was sensitive to the potential usefulness of shared information when he wrote of prevention programs: “Even without specifically addressing the possibility that audience members might become abusers … it is likely that these programs do have an important deterrent influence on anyone who is exposed to them, if for no other reason than that they clearly reinforce the norm that such behavior is exploitative of a child” (Finkelhor 1986b, 234). I hope the information in this book will both encourage men who are still free to resist molesting and strengthen the resolve of those currently in treatment.

The majority of incestuous fathers are symbiotic, in that they feel an emotional bond with their victim (Courtois 1988; Justice and Justice 1979).  Maddock and Larson (1995, 84) refer to “affectional based incest,” reporting that “a significant amount of incest behavior appears to serve as a means of expressing affection.” (There is a difference between affection and empathy, however; see Chapter 5.)

A glaring example of this misinformed motivation is reported by de Young (1982, 36), who quotes a molester as saying: “I wanted to be her lover, not the victimizer. I wanted her to remember our affair as one of affection and warmth, not fear and pain.”

Much of the thrust of this book is, therefore, to make a case for the fact that incest is damaging, especially for a child you care about or who is under your protection. I use myself as the example, since to outward appearances I have “succeeded” in life. Read my story and you will find otherwise.

FOR SURVIVORS:

I hope that survivors will find the information within these pages helpful, not only in the section for survivors but also the perpetrator section. I myself was surprised to learn that being able to make sense of my sexual abuse is healing, as discussed later in the book.

A group of female survivors and their therapist once visited our
program during a group session. Each man introduced himself and explained why he was in prison. They answered any questions the visitors had. After the group was over, the survivors confessed they had been anxious, scared, and even angry with the men they were
yet to meet. Upon leaving they reported feeling better about the
men, whom they saw as working on themselves.

From time to time I wondered how my father or grandfather would have fit into our prison group. Would they have denied their culpability? My grandfather would deny his molesting behavior and perhaps convince himself that he was blameless. I can imagine him complaining—as I have heard more than one offender do—that “it’s gotten so you can’t even give your grandkid a hug any more.”

I do not believe treatment would have deterred my grandfather. My father would have been more honest, but both would have denied that any damage had been done.

So do child molesters—especially incest offenders—harm their
victims?

At first I resisted the idea that much of my life had been negatively shaped by the incest. Then as I learned more about the kinds of effects it exerts, I was able to gain a clearer perspective of myself. Coming to realize that I have dissociated was an eye-opener as well. Keeping a journal, along with a record of my dreams, has been beneficial not only at the time of writing but later, when tracing my journey.

FOR THE COMMUNITY AND FAMILY

It is no surprise that the community at large knows so little about incest. It’s such an ugly topic and so difficult to discuss with children! That ignorance leaves both us and our loved ones vulnerable, however. We dress our little girls as sexy vamps, don’t know the difference between “playing doctor” and juvenile sex offending, and don’t know how to respond when our young child says she wants to marry us, insists she/he doesn’t want to return to camp again this year, or begs for a different babysitter.

What if a family member who molested a child is chastened and “wants to make it up to her,” or to work on building a better relationship with her? How should you respond if a family member
who has been in sex offender treatment gets depressed and starts blaming his victim? Or decides to start coaching Little League?

People can be wonderful in many different ways and still sexually abuse children. I hope you will find answers to these and other questions throughout this book.

FOR OTHER PROFESSIONALS

I once asked Jan Hindman why there were so many survivors treating sex offenders, and she said, “Because they know how important it is.”

 

 

3 comments on “INTRODUCTION – 4th Wednesday post

  • In this post I realise the hidden traps in the make up of survivors. How many have I read by now who complains: I’m such and such an age – when will I get over this? Why am I still sitting with the trauma? Years of therapy hardly touched it. One blogger I read has, after 20 years, finally decided to give up therapy, that she’s in a place where she can cope on her own. The damage is real. The ugliness, the secrecy it’s cloaked in, smothered in, doesn’t help.

    It’s tremendously brave to discuss the topic. And you’re doing it here in depth. I truly hope it is read widely.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Please share your own experiences here...

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Trent's World (the Blog)

    Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

    Catxman's Cradle

    Catxman dances, Catxman spins around, leaps ....... // I sing a song, a song of hope, a song of looove -- a song of burning roses. / Synthesizer notes. // (c) 2021-22

    Mapping uncertainty

    When nothing is certain anything is possible

    Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

    Second Look Behind the Headlines - News you can use...

    Leadings: Judy Lumb

    Africa 2012 / Britain 2014 / Peru / Standing Rock 2016

    GABBY GRAYWHISKERS

    kitchen talk

    Salted Caramel

    Blogging, Motivation, Lifestyle and much more.

    kindfeelings

    Be kind to yourself and others.

    Walking the Rails

    Basking in the Triumphs and Frustrations of a Disability

    Yolanda och hennes kreativa skrik

    Aspergers syndrom, bipolaritet, fotografi, konst, poesi.

    earthweal

    Poetry of a changing Earth. The grief is real--so is the hope.

    BosssyBabe

    I’m just a girl, standing in front of a bread shop, asking for it to open.

    World.V.You

    Take a few minutes to slow down and think about what's going on in your world...

    Roadtirement

    "Traveling and Retired"

    About the Jez of It

    Poetry, stories and strange odds and ends from the desk of a writer

    Athens Writers Association

    Bringing passionate genius to the foreground in Athens, GA -- 2013-2019

    annieasksyou...

    Seeking Dialogue to Inform, Enlighten, and/or Amuse You and Me

    %d bloggers like this: