WARNING: Graphic Images
A romantic dream unfolds lazily. A man and woman who are obviously attracted to one another banter playfully. The scene shifts and they kiss passionately.
Then a grenade goes off. The man’s image is replaced with that of the woman’s father. He states blandly that she initiated their sexual encounter, that the fault for the incest is hers.
Though she knows the accusation is false, though the incest was years in the past, though she was a child at the time, though there was never any “romance” involved, the horror is overwhelming. It continues even after the woman awakes.
Incest is rarely discussed in polite company, and then in hushed terms. The damage it inflicts is like that of a grenade going off. Hopes are shattered. Lives are destroyed. And the grenade never stops inflicting damage, leaving lifelong scars.
The metaphor may sound extreme. Tragically, it is not.
The victims of incest experience enormous guilt and shame. But the fault is NEVER theirs.
Incest has been classified into the following categories . Often, these overlap:
- Affection-based. The incest in this situation provides the victim a semblance of emotional connection where real nurture is lacking. Pseudo-concern (“grooming”) by the perpetrator masks as genuine support for the victim. There is an emphasis on the “specialness” of the relationship. Emotional a/k/a covert incest (in which a parent effectively makes a child his/her surrogate spouse) falls into this category, whether or not sexual contact occurs.
- Erotic-based a/k/a Polyincest. In this situation, all relationships in the family are eroticized. There may be multiple perpetrators.
- Aggression-based. In this situation, the perpetrator vents his/her frustrations on the vulnerable victim. Both forced sexual contact and physical abuse are frequently involved.
- Rage-based. In this situation, the perpetrator is sadistic – deriving pleasure from his/her victim’s pain – and the life of the victim is at risk.
Incest victims may spend years wrestling with guilt and shame, slamming into walls, repeating past mistakes. However painful and difficult our struggle, it is not fruitless. Rather, the incest victim’s battle is a valiant expression of the human spirit.
We have looked Satan in the eye and survived. That is a remarkable achievement.
 Psychiatric Times, “Ramifications of Incest” by Richard Kluft MD PhD, https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/sexual-offenses/ramifications-incest.
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