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Confronting the Incest Secret Long After the Fact - A Family Study of Multiple Victimization with Strategies for Intervention

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 7 Issue: 2 Dated: special issue (1983) Pages: 225237
Date Published
13 pages
The case history of 1 extended family in which all 11 adult females in 1 generation had experienced childhood sexual abuse by male relatives illustrates intervention strategies and issues involved in dealing with past incest in extended family networks.
The two known abusers were a father/uncle and a brother/cousin. These males each victimized different females and in different ways. The sexual abuse was a closely guarded secret for each victim for up to 20 years despite the fact that all the women had close and frequent involvement in one another's lives. Disclosure occurred when the daughter of one of the abusers reached the same age that some of the adults had been when their victimization began. Their concern for the child's safety prompted the disclosure. The basic issues raised by this case are whether and how to intervene in past abuse. In some situations, intervention is necessary to start protective action on behalf of a child. In other cases, intervention may be inadvisable due to physical or psychological danger to an adult incest survivor. It is crucial to identify both preparatory and followup resources to reduce trauma and to achieve long-term goals of intervention. Clients need careful preparation for their confrontation with other family members. A therapist's participation in the confrontation usually is helpful to minimize trauma and produce a positive outcome. 30 references.


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