Incest survivors come from both sexes, all economic and social backgrounds, races, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. It is not uncommon for incest survivors to wonder if the experience really happened or if they imagined it. What is important for you to realize is that children DO NOT, on their own, imagine situations of sexual arousal or violation. That information is not within a child’s realm of knowledge. As an adult, if you think something happened, it probably did. The truth is shown by the emotions you feel as you try to remember.
The emphasis of incest recovery is on understanding the violation of trust we experienced at the hands of those who were supposed to be our protectors. Incest perpetrators may have been our parents, older siblings, other family members, family friends, neighbors, and baby-sitters, members of the clergy, teachers, doctors or others in a position of authority over us as children.
In circumstances where we were repeatedly exposed to our perpetrators, we lost what should have been our birthright, a safe place to grow up. Having to continue to associate with our perpetrators in our daily and nightly childhood lives, our ability to trust was destroyed. Our very childhood itself was betrayed. We lived in an environment of abuse so devastating that, to survive it, many have lived in denial that became amnesia, developed multiple personalities, physical illnesses, sexual obsessions, severe depression and/or suicidal tendencies. These were the survival techniques we used as very inventive children who were determined to live beyond our torment. We give thanks to our child who was, because he or she did whatever was necessary to allow us to survive the horror and to be alive today.
But now it is necessary that we begin to leave behind survival techniques that no longer serve us.
While most societies have maintained a sense of taboo regarding incest, in point of fact, the sense of taboo has not been in committing incest, but rather in talking about incest, especially by those who have experienced it. In meetings, we break this silence. Remember, we are only as sick as our secrets. We are a gathering of people determined to remember, to speak, to be heard and to heal.
Above all, we guard our safety and privacy. What is shared here is not for gossip, comment, or outside conversation. Here in this room, we give voice to our secrets and heal. As we share our trust and rediscover our love, we want you to know that you are not to blame, and that you are not alone.