time. The absurd, arrogant male idea that "she will like it" is sick. The
violators must be reported (every time!), punished, and treated
effectively before being released. (See the Rape section in chapter 7.)
Help for teenagers recovering from incest is available in a book
(Mather, 1994). There are also several self-help books and programs
for female incest victims after they have grown up (Blume, 1990;
Poston & Lison, 1990; Jarvis-Kirkendall & Kirkendall, 1989; Bass &
Davis, 1988, 1992; Bass & Davis, 1993) and for men too (Lew, 1990;
Sonkin, 1992). A spouse can often help a survivor recover (Davis,
1993). However, psychotherapy is probably needed in cases where the
reaction to abuse is severe.
An area of special interest is sexual abuse by siblings, usually older
brothers. This may be more common than one might think. Certainly it
rarely becomes public knowledge; parents may discount the possible
seriousness of the sexual activities; it isn't uncommon that a younger
sister would initially like a closer but not a sexual relationship. The
abuse can, of course, cause a long-lasting traumatic reaction, including
self-doubts and low self-esteem, as well as serious family conflicts.
Books and articles specifically addressing sibling sexual abuse that
might be of interest to survivors include: Shaw, 2000; Canavan,
Meyer, and Higgs, 1992; Laiola, (1992); Rudd and Herzberger, 1999).
There are also a few other books at Amazon but they are mostly for
therapists dealing with sibling incest.
Note: There is no doubt that sexual abuse during childhood is
sometimes forgotten...but the associated stress and emotions may
cause problems. On the other hand, there is another note of caution:
some "recovered memories" of sexual abuse may not have actually
happened. A few self-help books, including Blume and Bass & Davis,
and several therapists have suggested (strongly and repeatedly) that
sexual abuse is probably the cause of several adult problems.
Naturally, some people will believe the suggestion of sexual abuse
from an authority and dwell on that possibility until clear mental
images falsely appear. What an injustice to the innocent people falsely
accused of sexual abuse! (But not nearly all accused are innocent, so
how do you know the plea that "I didn't do it" is the truth?) As a
person trying to understand and cope, it is good to look for the causes
of your problems, but don't allow anyone (or a group) to tell you
repeatedly what "must have happened" to you sexually. There are
many ways to get any given symptom. Early childhood memories are
very undependable. There are angry camps on both sides of this issue
(see sites below). Science still knows very little with certainty about
the accuracy of these sexual "memories."
Web sites about sexual abuse
Information about incest and self-help groups for incest victims