Let’s add Dr. Phil To The List!

Well, last night  April 14, 2010Dr. Phil also did a segment on sexual violence in the last part of his show.  The overarching topic of his show was domestic violence and the cultural disgrace of its Code of Silence.  Under that umbrella, he added the topic of incest.  He says he is going to do more on that topic as well.  Yesterday I blogged about what Oprah is doing.  We can now add Dr. Phil to the list of those breaking the hard shell of the Code of Silence.  So, since Dr. Phil began the discussion this week, I will begin Incest from the appendix on types of rape that is in my book.  It is out of the alphabetical order I started earlier.

I actually call incest Familial Rape.  Statistics:  it is estimated that there are 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America today.  These findings are from the Third National Incidence Study (NIS-3) of child maltreatment released by the National center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) in the fall of 1996.  (“Child Abuse Statistics,” Results of NIS-3, 1996 www.yesican.org/ststs.html).  The”…NIS-4 is underway and is scheduled for completion spring of 2009.” (NIS-4 Schedule, began in 2004, nis4@westat.com).  This study is mandated by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-36), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This study is probably the most comprehensive research available on this topic.  It does not just rely on Child Protective Services reports.

“Research indicates that 46% of children who are raped are victims of family members. (Langan and Harlow, 1994) (“Factsheets: Incest,”  New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, c.2000-2009, www.nycagainstrape.org).

Definition:  Familial Rape is called incest at any age!!   I have known women who whose fathers still touch them inappropriately and their ‘antenna’ so to speak is so broken they do not even know they can or need to stop it.  Teachers, doctors, and therapists are required to report Familial Rape  to appropriate authorities if the victim is under 18.  Incest includes the penis entering the body, inappropriate touching and sexualized behavior (a French kiss, stroking any private body parts, any penetration with any object) by any family member including in-laws, aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, siblings, and step-relations.  Some, like Dr. John Bradshaw include the act of undressing in front of a child as incest if the adult is receiving sexual pleasure from doing it, even if there is no touching.  Sexual Violence can take place in unspoken communications, even when physical rape does not occur.  I’ll be glad to expand on that thought if anyone out there is interested.  My editor thinks Familial Rape should have a whole chapter of its own.

Story:  In one seemingly-upstanding Christian family, both parents were involved in visible leadership in their faith community.  One daughter, I’ll call her Sue, was treated by her father as if she were the wife–even in front of his wife.  At Christmas, dad gave Sue sexy lingerie and his wife a flannel robe.  He took her to his bed when mom was out.  He took her for ‘driving lessons’ where she never learned to drive.  Never able to marry, though she longed to have a family, Sue once planned a suicide but did not carry it out.  The hardest thing for her to do even in her 30’s was stop allowing her father to molest and use her.  She eventually went to therapy and did a lot of healing.  In addition to the courage her therapy work took, she decided to confront the incest in her family, and got out of harm’s way.  She was able to marry and have a family of her own too.   God be glorified.

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