He pulled my skirt up. I began to worry. Everyone knew he had broken in girls before and I didn't want it to happen to me. I said, 'No. Get off, please.' He pulled me down the alley and pushed me to the ground. As I lay on my back worrying about my new blue coat, he pushed his fingers up between my legs — and rammed himself into me.I was crying. His lips were pressed against mine but I was motionless, like a small corpse. He grunted and I knew it was over. He got up, I just lay there on the ground, my tights round my ankles. The clock was striking twelve.As he walked away, he turned and said, 'I've always wanted to do it to you. I like your mouth'.When I got in, my mum said, 'Tracey, what's wrong with you?' I showed her my coat, the dirt and the stains, and told her 'I'm not a virgin any more.' She didn't call the police or make any fuss. She just washed my coat and everything carried on as normal, as though nothing had happened.But for me, my childhood was over, I had become conscious of my physicality, aware of my presence and open to the ugly truths of the world. At the age of thirteen, I realised that there was a danger in innocence and beauty, and I could not live with both.(describing childhood rape)
In some instances, even when crisis intervention has been intensive and appropriate, the mother and daughter are already so deeply estranged at the time of disclosure that the bond between them seems irreparable. In this situation, no useful purpose is served by trying to separate the mother and father and keep the daughter at home. The daughter has already been emotionally expelled from her family; removing her to protective custody is simply the concrete expression of the family reality.These are the cases which many agencies call their “tragedies.” This report of a child protective worker illustrates a case where removing the child from the home was the only reasonable course of action:Division of Family and Children’s Services received an anonymous telephone call on Sept. 14 from a man who stated that heoverheard Tracy W., age 8, of [address] tell his daughter of a forced oral-genital assault, allegedly perpetrated against this child by her mother’s boyfriend, one Raymond S.Two workers visited the W. home on Sept. 17. According to their report, Mrs. W. was heavily under the influence of alcohol at the time of the visit. Mrs. W. stated immediately that she was aware why the two workers wanted to see her, because Mr. S. had “hurt her little girl.” In the course of the interview, Mrs. W. acknowledged and described how Mr. S. had forced Tracy to have relations with him. Workers then interviewed Tracy and she verified what mother had stated. According to Mrs. W., Mr. S. admitted the sexual assault, claiming that he was drunk and not accountable for his actions. Mother then stated to workers that she banished Mr. S. from her home.I had my first contact with mother and child at their home on Sept. 20 and I subsequently saw this family once a week. Mother was usually intoxicated and drinking beer when I saw her. I met Mr. S. on my second visit. Mr. S. denied having had any sexual relations with Tracy. Mother explained that she had obtained a license and planned to marry Mr. S.On my third visit, Mrs. W. was again intoxicated and drinking despite my previous request that she not drink during my visit. Mother explained that Mr. S. had taken off to another state and she never wanted to see him again. On this visit mother demanded that Tracy tell me the details of her sexual involvement with Mr. S. On my fourth visit, Mr. S. and Mrs. S. were present. Mother explained that they had been married the previous Saturday. On my fifth visit, Mr. S. was not present. During our discussion, mother commented that “Bay was not the ﬁrst one who hadTracy.” After exploring this statement with mother and Tracy, it became clear that Tracy had been sexually exploited in the same manner at age six by another of Mrs. S.'s previous boyfriends.On my sixth visit, Mrs. S. stated that she could accept Tracy’s being placed with another family as long as it did not appear to Tracy that it was her mother’s decision to give her up. Mother also commented, “I wish the fuck I never had her.”It appears that Mrs. S. has had a number of other children all of whom have lived with other relatives or were in foster care for part of their lives. Tracy herself lived with a paternal aunt from birth to age ﬁve.
Since most sexual abuse begins well before puberty, preventive education, if it is to have any effect at all, should begin early in grade school. Ideally, information on sexual abuse should be integrated into a general curriculum of sex education. In those communities where the experiment has been tried, it has been shown conclusively that children can learnwhat they most need to know about sexual abuse, without becoming unduly frightened or developing generally negative sexual attitudes. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, for example, the Hennepin County Attorney's office developed an education program on sexual assault for elementary school children. The program was presented to all age groups in four different schools, some eight hundred children in all. The presentation opened with a performance by a children’s theater group, illustrating thedifference between affectionate touching, and exploitative touching. The children’s responses to the skits indicated that they understood the distinction very well indeed. Following the presentation, about one child in six disclosed a sexual experience with an adult, ranging from an encounter with an exhibitionist to involvement in incest. Most of the children,both boys and girls, had not told anyone prior to the classroom discussion. In addition to basic information on sexual relations and sexual assault, children need to know that they have the right to their own bodily integity.
Recovery can take place only within then context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation. In her renewed connection with other people, the survivor re-creates the psychological facilities that were damaged or deformed by the traumatic experience. These faculties include the basic operations of trust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy.Just as these capabilities are formed in relationships with other people, they must be reformed in such relationships.The first principle of recovery is empowerment of the survivor. She must be the author and arbiter of her own recovery. Others may offer advice, support, assistance, affection, and care, but not cure.Many benevolent and well-intentioned attempts to assist the survivor founder because this basic principle of empowerment is not observed. No intervention that takes power away from the survivor can possibly foster her recovery, no matter how much it appears to be in her immediate best interest.
It was Freud's ambition to discover the cause of hysteria, the archetypal female neurosis of his time. In his early investigations, he gained the trust and confidence of many women, who revealed their troubles to him.Time after time, Freud's patients, women from prosperous, conventional families, unburdened painful memories of childhood sexual encounters with men they had trusted: family friends, relatives, and fathers. Freud initially believed his patients and recognized the significance of their confessions. In 1896, with the publication of two works, The Aetiology of Hysteria and Studies on Hysteria, he announced that he had solved the mystery of the female neurosis. At the origin of every case of hysteria, Freud asserted, was a childhood sexual trauma.But Freud was never comfortable with this discovery, because of what it implied about the behavior of respectable family men. If his patients' reports were true, incest was not a rare abuse, confined to the poor and the mentally defective, but was endemic to the patriarchal family. Recognizing the implicit challenge to patriarchal values, Freud refused to identify fathers publicly as sexual aggressors. Though in his private correspondence he cited "seduction by the father" as the "essential point" in hysteria, he was never able to bring himself to make this statement in public. Scrupulously honest and courageous in other respects, Freud falsified his incest cases. In The Aetiology of Hysteria, Freud implausibly identified governessss, nurses, maids, and children of both sexes as the offenders. In Studies in Hysteria, he managed to name an uncle as the seducer in two cases. Many years later, Freud acknowledged that the "uncles" who had molested Rosaslia and Katharina were in fact their fathers. Though he had shown little reluctance to shock prudish sensibilities in other matters, Freud claimed that "discretion" had led him to suppress this essential information. Even though Freud had gone to such lengths to avoid publicly inculpating fathers, he remained so distressed by his seduction theory that within a year he repudiated it entirely. He concluded that his patients' numerous reports of sexual abuse were untrue. This conclusion was based not on any new evidence from patients, but rather on Freud's own growing unwillingness to believe that licentious behavior on the part of fathers could be so widespread. His correspondence of the period revealed that he was particularly troubled by awareness of his own incestuous wishes toward his daughter, and by suspicions of his father, who had died recently.p9-10
Betrayal is too kind a word to describe a situation in which a father says he loves his daughter but claims he must teach her about the horrors of the world in order to make her a stronger person; a situation in which he watches or participates in rituals that make her feel like she is going to die. She experiences pain that is so intense that she cannot think; her head spins so fast she can't remember who she is or how she got there.All she knows is pain. All she feels is desperation. She tries to cry out for help, but soon learns that no one will listen. No matter how loud she cries, she can't stop or change what is happening. No matter what she does, the pain will not stop. Her father orders her to be tortured and tells her it is for her own good. He tells her that she needs the discipline, or that she has asked for it by her misbehavior. Betrayal is too simple a word to describe the overwhelming pain, the overwhelming loneliness and isolation this child experiences.As if the abuse during the rituals were not enough, this child experiences similar abuse at home on a daily basis. When she tries to talk about her pain, she is told that she must be crazy. "Nothing bad has happened to you;' her family tells her Each day she begins to feel more and more like she doesn't know what is real. She stops trusting her own feelings because no one else acknowledges them or hears her agony. Soon the pain becomes too great. She learns not to feel at all. This strong, lonely, desperate child learns to give up the senses that make all people feel alive. She begins to feel dead.She wishes she were dead. For her there is no way out. She soon learns there is no hope.As she grows older she gets stronger. She learns to do what she is told with the utmost compliance. She forgets everything she has ever wanted. The pain still lurks, but it's easier to pretend it's not there than to acknowledge the horrors she has buried in the deepest parts of her mind. Her relationships are overwhelmed by the power of her emotions. She reaches out for help, but never seems to find what she is looking for The pain gets worse. The loneliness sets in. When the feelings return, she is overcome with panic, pain, and desperation.She is convinced she is going to die. Yet, when she looks around her she sees nothing that should make her feel so bad. Deep inside she knows something is very, very wrong, but she doesn't remember anything. She thinks, "Maybe I am crazy.