|CHAPTER I - INCEST
What is incest?
We first need to examine the definition of incest? There are many definitions of incest and different ways in which to incest is expressed.
Some of the most recognized ways to express incest are the following:
- It can be emotional.
- It can be physical. By this we mean it involves the love bond.
- It is the physical act of sexual intercourse, when it is sexual intercourse between two people too closely related to marry (in the specific society).
However, the most serious and most common form of sexual abuse is sexual activity between a child and a parent, family member, or caretaker. When it takes this form it is the most serious because it violates the sacred bond of trust between the child and the parent, family member or caretaker.
The parent, family member, or caretaker takes advantage of the most vulnerable and dependent in our society – the child. Because of this vulnerability and dependence, the only choice the child has is to accept the abuse.
We can wonder does incest involve intercourse?
Not necessarily and does not necessarily involve touch. There are many other ways the child’s spaces or senses are violated. For example, like by exposure to signs – things they see on TV, or noises – when people are making love in the next room, or exhibitionism – when the adult is exposing their private parts in front of the child. It occurs whenever a child cannot refuse that he or she is violated.
Incest happens at all the levels of society – economic, social and cultural and without regard to ethnicity. Statistics show that 38% of all American women have been sexually molested by someone they knew or trusted. 1
Given the realities about the true consequences of the sexual dependency bond, incest can be seen as the imposing of sexually inappropriate acts, or acts with sexual overtones on a child. It can be any use of a minor child to meet the sexual or sexual/emotional needs of one or more persons who derive authority through ongoing emotional bonding with the child. Some examples of this behavior are playing doctor and patient, acting out things that happen in the bathroom, and dressing and undressing. 2
Incest has many faces. It is true that everyone has experienced different levels of incest. That is how we grow up. We have intimacy with family members and between brothers and sisters. There is some play and over stimulation for example when siblings play doctor and patient, or getting undressed in the bathroom. Incest is sometimes called “sex play”. When there is over stimulation it is too much and it is easy to cross the line without being aware. When we are young we need love, we kiss for our needs. We need constant affection to grow up and this leads to a continuum and a repeat.
Unfortunately however incest often begins when the child’s ego or sexual awareness are not well developed. At this time there is not yet the verbal or cognitive capacities to describe what happened and what has been experienced. There is a cognitive memory. There is a feeling memory. And they are separate. For example, terror or fear comes only from an intensity of feeling and they do not have cognitive memory.
Incest does not start with puberty. The children who first reveal the existence of abuse in their teens have probably been enduring if for years. In 1998 35% of all reported child sex abuse cases were of girls under six years of age. According to the FBI, most rape victims are between ages 10 and 19, and 25% is under the age of 12 years old.
Doctor Michael Purfee, of the Los Angeles Department of Health Services, reported in 1989 that more sexual abuse was reported on two year olds than any other age group, followed by three and four year old children.
In 1985, Dr. Arthur Green, Director of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center’s Family Center, was quoted in a United States Government public affairs pamphlet on incest as saying that the hospital was “horror struck”, by the number of babies and preschool children brought in with genital injuries, gonorrhea infections of the throat, venereal warts and syphilis. 3
In 1988 Long Island Newsday published a report about a man accused of molesting a one-month-old baby, who suffered permanent injury to her bowel.
Incest is physical and emotional rape that is best expressed in one of my poems called:
little doll made of wax
there is so much love
on the pink of your cheeks
so much purity hidden
in the blue of your eyes
you fell from one shelf…
little broken doll made of wax
there is so much shame
on the pink of your cheeks
so many tears in the
grey blue of your eyes
your lacedress is torn...
Incest ravages childhood. I would like to take the opportunity to explore the case of Michael Jackson, who is a very good example of having been a victim of incest and sexual abuse. He did not have a normal childhood. It appears that his childhood was a sexualization and he was a public figure in a world without boundaries. He was an object of sexual fantasies for his admirers, mostly who were young girls. As a result, he did not grow up with a healthy self-esteem. This could explain in part why he grew up to having a strange sex life. Whether Michael Jackson behaves inappropriately with little boys or he is not touching them is merely misunderstood.
Is it possible that Michael Jackson sexually engages children? The answer is yes. He compulsively re-imagines the violation of his own innocence then he purifies himself, with kind, caring and generous acts. But isn't it just as possible that he can be a-sexual? That he takes pleasure in that innocence and shelters it just as compulsive. That he is tempted, but resists time and time again? In fact, he sets the scene of his own violation, repeats the scenario, but rewrites the ending. He rescues himself and the child and yet he experiences the excitement – the Eros – of being tempted.
Exploring the case of Michael Jackson leads me to open on the subject of sexual abuse on little boys, young men and as we know men experience the world differently than women.
1 Bureau of Justice Statistics 1996-2006 data Victims, Offenders and the Criminal Justice System.
2 Blume, E.S. (1990) Secret Survivors Uncovering Incest and its Aftereffects in Women.
New York: Ballantine. Page 4.
3 Blume, E.S. (1990) Secret Survivors Uncovering Incest and its Aftereffects in Women.
New York: Ballantine. Page 10.