(I would like to share with my reader an excerpt from my book, REPAIR Your Life.)
Webster defines incest as "sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry legally." It is a simple, almost clinical description that does not in any way imply trauma or abuse. The all-encompassing and often unspoken reality is much broader. Anyone in a position of power who coerces a person of lesser power into any sort of boundary violation dealing with their sexuality, either emotionally, mentally, or physically, is a sexual abuse perpetrator. This includes a grandfather who pins his granddaughter down while he fondles her breasts; a father who insists on watching his daughter, against her wishes, while she bathes; an older brother who forces his sister to do oral sex; and any other such boundary violation from the most minor to actual forcible entry and rape. It does not have to be a family member to have the same resultant despair. That despair, whether by a family member or an outsider, can be a life sentence of pain.
No one would willingly choose a painful life. But sometimes early victimization leads us down a path where all we experience is the dark side. Negativity, which has an actual energy field, contains great power and once it grabs hold, is not easily removed. Neither are the wounds that incest causes.
Wounded to their very soul, if not treated, an incest victim either stumbles through a life of despair or dies from it. The tragedy of incest is that, unlike a physical wound, the aftermath can spread to the children, who in turn are either sexually abused or begin a lifetime of unhealthy choices, the direct result of a poor self-image created from shame.
Guilt is the driving force that causes that shame and erodes our self-esteem. The egocentric child perceives all that happens to him as an event he has created and is therefore responsible for. A sexually abused child experiences the humiliation and degradation of shame in a monumental way. He senses the need to keep it secret, thereby creating more shame. If one could but talk about the pain, incest could be brought into the open and exposed as the real enemy, but humiliation keeps him from speaking the truth. Perpetrators know this, and use that secrecy as a way to protect themselves, and diminish their wrongdoing. They look for the following qualities in their victims: obedience, weak boundaries, innocence and naiveté, as well as someone smaller and easy to manipulate.
Childhood sexual abuse has nothing to do with sex. It is an act of violence with its origins in the need for power and control. Most of the time the perpetrator was abused himself as a child and is acting out what was perpetrated on him. As an adult he often becomes the abusive partner in domestic violence and his mate someone who has made victimization a way of life.
As for the sexually abused person often trapped in this cycle, what began as a joyful child becomes a human being who must hide their real self; hence, alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, overeating, and compulsive behavior develop, all designed to create self-loathing. As the years pass the victim piles shame upon shame with unhealthy choices; their self-image spirals into an all-time low. But we are not the sum total of what we have done. It is necessary during recovery to separate what we have done from who we are, to see that we are not a body with a soul, we are a soul with a body. No matter what has been done to our body, no one can ever touch the soul. It remains pure and innocent. Once we arrive at that realization, we begin to let go of the shame.
(to read more please order my book through the book page on our website, amazon.com or my publisher, Loving Healing Press)