The Emotions.

"I need to heal these wounds that are causing the seepage of my being. I need to see clearly… and repair all that has opened up within me, besides my tear ducts. I am afraid." ...............written by an 18 year old abuse survivor.

Girls who are experiencing sexual abuse-- especially when it is incest-- feel a range of strong emotions including shame, secrecy, fear, disgust, confusion, and self-loathing. All of these feelings are normal but these girls are often helpless to express their emotions. They are often too afraid to tell anyone about the abuse because they believe that they will be misunderstood. In many incest cases the survivor is afraid that even her own mother will not stand up for her. Very often, survivors are afraid that they themselves will be blamed for the abuse.

photograph by Aviva Rowley. ©

Perpetrators are fully aware of these emotions and use them against their victims. This is how they get away with their abuse. Some things molesters tell their victims are: "I will hurt you, I will say you wanted it." or "This is normal, this is our little secret, if you loved me you would comply." and "Your mother approves!"

They can be quite forceful with their words, saying things like "I will kill you if you tell, I will kill your parents if you tell, I will kill your pet if you tell." And many more emotional twists and manipulations.

Remember this----- these are all lies! But even though these are lies, they have a powerful effect on someone who has no power herself. With their words, perpetrators can even train their victims to respond to physical touch. This does not mean it is your fault if you experience sexual pleasure while being abused. It is just your body being physically manipulated. It is also not your fault if you have kept the incest secret. You have been too afraid and have felt too helpless to stop the cycle. Always remember...