17 People Who Were Born Out Of Rape Or Incest Reveal Their Stories
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Found on r/AskReddit.
1. Product of incest
Okay, so my real parents are my mom and her twin brother.
No, I’m not Joffrey.
I found out last summer when I was 15. It was night time and I came down a staircase to get a glass of water. My mom was laying on the sofa, she had been drinking earlier. She doesn’t usually get drunk, she likes to drink wine, but never really enough to get drunk, but this time she was really drunk. I passed her on the way to the kitchen and she just spoke up and said that she was glad I wasn’t her husband’s child. I asked her wtf was she talking about when she told me that her brother was the father of me and my siblings. She stated it was the reason why we were so perfect.
I haven’t confronted my mom or her brother about it. My mom either pretends she never told me, or she was too drunk to remember.
I’m 100% sure it was consensual incest, not rape. My mom talks to her brother a lot, and she always visits him. My dad is always away, so sometimes my mom will bring us to her brother’s house and we’ll sleep over. Me and my siblings even have our own rooms at his house.
2. Product of rape
My dad basically raped my mom to have me. My mother never wanted a kid her entire life, and kind of hated children in general. My dad knew this when he married her, but I think secretly it was always his plan to somehow find a way to have a kid. He tried to get her drunk quite a few times so she would forget about a condom and whatnot, but it never worked. One day, he came home from a night of hard partying with his friends, and basically had his way with my mom. She resisted and tried to fight him off when she figured out what his intent was, but was overcome.
My dad told me all of this when we went fishing last year. He thought I would be happy with the story and think of him as some sort of hero. I don’t.
3. Product of rape
When I was 7 years old, I found out that the man I call my father is in fact not related to me. Since then I’ve been putting together the pieces and now what I’ve got is that my mom was raped by her high school boyfriend at a Valentine’s party when she was 15. She had me as a result. He fought for custody so he wouldn’t have to pay child support and she counter sued for full custody. He didn’t have to pay child support, he just had to leave me alone. That wrapped when I was about 5. Before that, the guy’s mom used to take me shopping all the time out of guilt. I haven’t seen her since. My step dad is pretty fucking awesome though, so I got that going for me.
4. Product of rape
My grandmother is a product of rape. The people she thought were her parents were actually her grandparents, and her sister Sophie was actually her mother. Her bio-mother, Sophie, was raped by a male friend when she was 17, and fell pregnant. Since it was 1929, abortion was not an option, so they made the decision for her to be raised as a sister, instead of granddaughter. She was not told until her bio-mother died at 35 from cancer. She was extremely upset at being brought into the world the way she was, and that she was never allowed to know Sophie as her mother.
My grandma never told anyone but her husband and my mom and her sister did not find out until my mom was 25 when my grandfather accidentally told her. I am technically not supposed to know, but my hearing is far more astute than my mom realized when she has phone conversations at full volume a room away.
5. Product of incest and rape
I am the product of rape incest. My father/grandfather raped and impregnated my mom when she was 13. We came from an extremely religious family at the time, so abortion was never an option. From my understanding of things, this had been going on between him and my mother for a lot of years. He went to jail, where he is still is. I have thought about going to see him a lot over the years, just out of morbid curiousity, but I have never done it.
There was never really any secret about it. My mom and her mother raised me. They scaled the information about the situation to age appropriate levels, but they never hid anything. It was weird, and I got some counseling about it when I hit my teen years, but to be honest, I feel like it never really strongly affected me.
6. Product of rape
When I was in my early 20s, my biological mother contacted me. I always knew I was adopted, but it was never a big deal to me because I always knew. My adoptive mother was never any less of a mother to me, in any kind of way.
Anyways…my biological mother contacted me in my early twenties. I had children already and had A LOT on my plate at the time. I wasn’t trying to deal with her at the time because I had only recently overcome my childish fears and behaviors, and was becoming a man quickly because I needed to because I had children already at an early age.
I did talk to her a few times, and she acted funny when I asked about my father. She said she hadn’t seen him since back when I was born. I pried about it and she just said, “Well maybe someday I will tell you.”
So she tried to act like we were long lost relatives…but I kinda felt like..hey you abandoned me…YOU made that choice. I felt that I should have been the one looking for HER, if that is what I wished. I dunno, it’s complicated to explain these feelings…but i had no hate in my heart at all. I was, at the time, patching up everything with my Mom from my teenage years when I was douche ‘party guy’ in High School, and did some shitty things. Like I said….I had enough on my plate, and I cared about my children and their future. That was my focus.
So I didn’t really stay in contact with her. The last letter she sent me…she let me know that I was the product of her being raped at the age of 17. At the time I was like “Wow,” but it didn’t really hit me for about 10 more years (when the US recession hit my area hard) and I lost my job and became depressed. I was all drunk and crying and pathetic and told my wife “I’m just a fucking rape baby.”
I have come a long way since then and things are WAY better now. But my children are in high school and one is graduated…and now I am starting to think about contacting my biological Mom.
7. Product of rape
I am the product of a rape.
My mother told me when I was five, but thankfully used language that wasn’t violent or distressing. She told me she loved me very much but that this was the reason I “didn’t have a daddy like the other kids”. She was 18, drugged at a party and ushered into a private room by several other girls when she started to feel weird. She passed out on the bed fully clothed. She had been invited to the party by a guy she knew. She awoke to that man raping her. She blacked out again and woke up the next morning naked and badly bruised. This was in the 80s. She reported the incident to the police, including the man’s name and where he lived with his family (he was 16 or 17). Nothing happened.
I’m glad my mother told me so early. We have our own issues and are now estranged, but I’ve always been thankful that she explained it to me in a clear and gentle way.
I have self worth issues that I sometimes think could be connected to being the child of a rape. I’ve never hidden this fact from people who ask, and sometimes volunteer it to those that make disparaging comments about ‘rape babies’.
Awful people in my past have used the circumstances of my existence as a way to hurt and belittle me. The most common response I receive when I share my birth story is “I’m so sorry”.
8. Product of rape
My mother’s cousin raped her at age 18. My mother wanted to have an abortion, but my very Catholic grandmother would not allow it. I should also note that no one knew of the situation yet. They just assumed my mother was impregnated by her current boyfriend. My grandparents and aunt were eventually told when I was a few years old. My grandmother told me how she thought it was strange how I looked so much like my father. They used to joke about it.
Anyways, I didn’t find out until I was about 12, I believe. I remember like it was yesterday that my mom and I were in another fight. It was very common for us. She was abusive towards me most of my life and I never understood why. So, as a kid, I would always scream I wanted to know my real dad. I would cry and imagine what he was like. I envisioned him as some guy that could whisk me away and care for me. I would be happy. My life would change for the better.
My mom was cooking dinner and came into the room crying. She sat me on the bed and told me she was raped by her first cousin and got pregnant with me. I was completely stunned. I didn’t know what to say. She grabbed and hugged me. I continued being speechless. My life did change after that, but not for the better.
I became self-abusive in more ways than one. I was shown pictures of my father and I could see the strong resemblance. I found myself disgusting. Part of me still does. I look like a monster. I’m that man’s daughter. No wonder my mom didn’t love me. No wonder she didn’t want me as a child. I convinced myself I was a no good piece of shit.
I accidentally met my father when I was in high school. My great grandmom lived across from my high school and I would walk there to wait for my mom to pick me up. It just so happens my dad was there. We both just stared at one another, but he had a smirk on his face. He knew exactly who I was. Of course, my poor granny had no idea of the situation. That was kept a secret from her. She goes on to introduce us. I ran into the house and hid. He finally leaves as my mom is driving down the street. It took me forever to tell them what happened, but I eventually did. My mom freaked out, but nothing more came of it at that time.
Fast forward to 2009. My great grandmom passed away. Naturally, my dad would be at his grandmom’s funeral. He decided he wanted to get to know me. I gave him my email and figured I would talk to him when I felt like it. Well, he became pushy and always made me feel guilty for not answering him right away or wanting to talk on the phone. I decided to end all communication.
My dad passed away in the summer of 2012 in his 50s. He was an alcoholic and as was I for a few years now. I was unknowingly following his footsteps in more ways than one. We were both intelligent people who quit HS, drank away our sorrows, and loved the Beatles.
I still have trouble with all of this. I’ve never felt completed. I always felt cheated. Hopefully one day I am able to realize I was only the product, not the predator.
9. Product of rape
OKAY so my parents are technically my adopted parents. Trouble with conceiving their own kids, they went through an adoption agency and adopted my brother and then 9 years later, me (my brother and I are not blood related).
With both adoptions, they went to a family therapist to make sure they were doing everything right and were told to tell me once a year, every year until I was 8, that I was adopted and one day it will “stick” and I’ll remember it. So basically I grew up knowing I was adopted but didn’t care too much because my parents were my parents. I’m 22 now so about 4 years ago I asked if they knew more about my biological parents. My mom gave me all the paperwork from the adoption agency and a “diary” that was kept while I was in foster care for
Basically, my birth mother was in the army, was home and at a party. Some guy she met followed her home and raped her. She was back overseas when she found out she was pregnant with me; she was 21 and not really able to have a kid so she made the decision that I’ll always be grateful for.
It honestly hasn’t affected me that negatively. Yeah it sucks to think about – I wasn’t necessarily “made” out of love & pretty much all my physical features come from my biological father (just based on the description my biological mother gave in the paper work about the rape). I hope to some day meet my biological mother, but know that I probably won’t meet my father (nor would I want to) just because of the fact that he was some random dude that followed her home. It’s also heavily influenced my opinions on abortion.
At the end of the day, I love my parents – they’re all I’ve known and are the best in the world and gave me everything I could ever ask for. I also do have this love for my birth mother though – a woman I’ve never known. She was in a terribly shitty situation, but made a strong decision that my life literally depended on & I love her for it 🙂
10. Product of rape
My dad was born from a rape. He found out when I was 8-years-old.
The day he found out was when I lost my dad. It fucked him up so bad. He had picked up drinking and gambling. On average he would drink about a 12 pack a day. It was fucked up because he was such a good man before he found out. Up to this day we still don’t know who would have told him this but I feel like if I ever found out. I wouldn’t be able to forgive that person. My father used up our savings and basically used all of our money on beer and horse racing. On day when my mother confronted him and told him to leave us alone forever he replied to her “I will leave you and I will never bother you again and I swear I will pay you back all the money I’ve used and stolen from you.” Two months later, he passed. Shortly after my mother received thousands of dollars in social security money. Still fucking miss him.
11. Product of rape
I’m late to the thread but I am a product of rape. My mother met my father who was a crack and heroin addict and had my older sister with him, they got married and he started beating her and my sister regularly. The abuse went on for years until he was brazenly bringing women home to fuck in front of her and my mom had enough and left, she had no where to go and was sleeping couch to couch with my sister. He looked everywhere for her, found her somehow and raped her. I was conceived. When I was born he tried to say I was the neighbors child and my mom was sleeping around even though I am the spitting image of his mother. Anyway, he tried to choke me to death as an infant, my mom stabbed him with a hot dog poker, not sure of the name but it’s the utensil you use to turn over hot dogs on a grill. He went to jail and got out a few years later and my step father shot him when he resumed stalking my mother.
I found out I was a product of rape from my little sister using it as a way to make fun of me in an argument, my mom confirmed it nonchalantly when I asked if it was true. My family is all types of fucked up.
Funny story, he sent me a friends request on Facebook a few days ago, trying to get in contact with me 28 years later. It’s sad. I do not want a relationship with a guy who has raped and beat most of the women he has in his life.
12. Product of incest and rape
A few years ago I met a girl at a mutual friend’s house who ended up telling me how her grandfather was also her father (so this girl’s mother was raped by her own father). She told me this because I had given her a bracelet that I was wearing (I make jewelry and like to hand it out), I have very tiny wrists, and she was so excited that it fit her. She was excited about that because on one hand she was missing a thumb and her hand was just kinda strange looking and small, so most bracelets would slide off. We ended up taking some hits out of a gas mask/bong (my first time ever doing so) and she told me about her father/grandfather as an explanation for her hand. She also told me about how her brother raped her, even on the day her mother died. I think its safe to say incest was common in her family. You wouldn’t have really noticed anything different about her unless you knew, but she was quite small and just a tad strange looking (plus, ya know, deformed hand). Honestly it was pretty surreal being so stoned and having this girl who was mostly a stranger tell me this so calmly. This was in the ghetto, and she was with her boyfriend and their baby. She was very sweet, a real spunky firecracker type girl. I’ve never seen her since but I think of her often, I hope her life turned out alright. So yeah, not my story but its one that always stuck with me.
13. Product of incest
I was the product of incest. My birth mother came from a very backwards community in Poland that was very messed up with drugs, military, and well… incest. My birth dad is my birth mothers uncle.
My birth mom went to America with my birth dad and their family to see New York and left me there. They dropped me off at an orphanage and didn’t fill out papers. They just left me there.
I’m 19 now. 2 years ago, one of my relatives came from Poland to America and actively sought me out and found me through my current parents and the orphanage. Apparently when my mom left me in America, it was a big deal to the family. There are stories of me being a big American rich guy. They have stories about how I live in big land, own a washing machine, and they talk about straight teeth or something. My relative didn’t speak perfect English and he was slightly skewed in the head.
They had all these stories of me, and I was only 17. I was a foster kid for most of my life, didn’t live on big land, and I don’t own my own washing machine. My current parents do, but I don’t.
I did get lucky, and have fairly straight teeth, so at least I lived up to that hype.
The only thing they gave the orphanage was my name, which was written on a piece of paper, and my weight in grams. They wanted to give me an American name, so they named me after a state in the united states. My name is Vermont.
14. Product of rape
I am the product of rape. I found out when I was 16 when my Mom told me. I’ve never known my biological dad, I was raised by my Mom and a series of step dads. I knew I was an out of wedlock kid, I knew my dad didn’t know about me, but I thought I was a product of a love match.
When I was 16, my Mom, who has always treated me as the greatest thing to ever happen to her, went away to this self-help cult thing called Landmark. While away, she wrote me a letter and read it to me over the phone. It told me how when she was in boot camp at the fresh age of 18, she was dating a great guy. It was the late 80s, sex was still kind of free and open.
Her CO got blackout drunk one night when she and others were out with him.
He raped her.
The next day, he didn’t remember anything and since he was married with a baby, my Mom said nothing. She found out she was pregnant a little while later, right after her boyfriend left the military, leaving her questioning who was my father. She had me, left the military, and hasn’t looked back except that once.
She has said she would try to help me find either of the guys if I wanted a DNA test to see who I belonged to, but short of a private investigator or contacting the military, I doubt I could find them 25 years later. Needless to say, finding this out was devastating. My Mom is my best friend and to know that I might be the product of something as traumatizing as that has haunted me for a while. My family doesn’t know. I’ve only shared it with a few long term boyfriends and close friends, she’s shared it with her best friend and previous husbands.
I used to be interested in finding them, if only for potential half-siblings. It’s led to weird situations for me, such as worrying I might accidentally date a sibling, so I always make sure I ask about parents as quickly as possible, find out if they were ever in the military. It might be a 1 in a million chance, but it’s a chance I’m not willing to take.
Now, though, I have no interest in going through the effort of locating them. My Mom is happy, I’m loved by a wonderful grandfather so I’m not lacking for male influence, and our relationship is stronger because of it.
To parents with children who were products of rape, please wait until they are mature enough to handle knowing something like that. I don’t know if I was ready at 16, but hearing it any earlier might have had much worse consequences for me.
15. Product of rape
My grandfather was the product of rape, My family are from the Fujian province, and my grandfather was the result of the Japanese invasion into china. his mother died in childbirth and he was an orphan, worked as a farmer, an alcoholic and died of lung cancer.
My father doesn’t talk much about his father, but I hear stories from the rest of the family, but my father got a scholarship to study in Canada and moved over there to get an education. got his Bachelors in Engineering and Masters in Economics from the University of Alberta.
16. Product of rape
When I was about 14 or 15, I found out my birth mother had been raped repeatedly by her stepfather. One of those times had resulted in me. I have always known I was adopted, but I had been told that my birth father was my birth mother’s boyfriend. It was when my anger issues towards him became too much that my mother told me the truth. I still have some anger issues about it, but they are directed at the correct person now.
And the kicker was, SHE was the one that got kicked out of the house. Somehow she managed to travel nearly 100 miles to the nearest big city and was taken in by a home for unwed mothers. They helped her through her pregnancy and then helped her find people to adopt me. She was still a kid herself (celebrated her 16th birthday a month or two after I was born) and couldn’t take care of me on her own. Her mother had told her that the only way she could come home was without me. Apparently, one of her aunts wanted to take me in and raise me as her own, but by the time they found out, the paperwork had already gone through and I was legally in a new family.
It was a closed adoption, but my mom sent letters to my birth mother through the agency, to let her know I was doing well. Eventually, they started corresponding on their own, and I got to talk to her and my half-siblings on the phone once in a while. That’s how my mom found out about what had happened.
My birth father either left my grandmother, or she kicked him out, but not until years later, and last I heard, he was living somewhere in Southern Mexico. I’ve never had the opportunity to confront him, but I would imagine there would be violence involved. Some very therapeutic violence.
17. Product of rape
My mom is a product of rape. My grandparents lived in Mexico at the time in a remote and rural village. My grandfather stole my grandmother while she was doing laundry when she was 16 or 17. She told me he took her to the mountains and raped her and beat her over several days. When she got back, her only option was to marry him because she was shamed. She never saw her family again. Every child my grandmother had was a product of rape. 16 children. He beat her mercilessly. Most all of her male children were also rapist and pedofiles. They tried to rape their sisters while they were sleeping multiple times. My uncles raped and molested my sister and I for over a decade. My grandma got away when my grandfather escalated and tried to kill her with a machete. Her oldest son found out and whisked her away to the U. S. She never remarried and had a fear of men. He died a horrible death, alone and regretful, at the age of 73.
INCEST ONE WOMAN’S STORY
By Lana Lawrence By Lana Lawrence September 1, 1987
I watch a young mother climb into the swimming pool with her 3-year-old daughter. They wrap their arms securely around each other and playfully bob up and down. Not a hint of distrust crosses this child’s face; she appears confident of her mother’s love and protection.
After a few moments, the mother attempts to place the child into an inflatable toy ring. Protesting, the little girl begins to kick her feet and cling desperately to her mother’s neck. The mother tries to assure her daughter that she will not be left adrift, but her efforts fail.
Acknowledging the fear, the mother tosses the ring onto the deck and gently kisses her daughter’s cheek. A smile of success and relief appears on the child’s face.
The memory surfaces of myself as a small child: My arms are wrapped around my father’s neck while swimming in a lake. I see the same joy on my face as I just saw a moment ago on the child’s, until my father reaches his hand under my swimsuit to fondle me. My look of joy suddenly turns to one of shame and fear.
Today, I am left with an image of horror and betrayal.
I acknowledge another equally painful memory, of my mother, who did not protect me from my father. I look at the little girl in the pool and wish that I could have felt the same bond of trust with my mother that she feels with hers. Tears form in my eyes, and I dive into the water so they will go unnoticed.
Vulnerability is difficult to expose to others, but now I can allow myself the relief of crying. For most of my life, the pain was buried under the defenses that I had developed to emotionally survive the incest.
My father, a former police officer, began to sexually abuse me at the age of 3 and continued until just prior to my 16th birthday. His assaults ranged from manual stimulation to oral, anal and vaginal penetration. As a child, I did not understand what my father was doing. It seemed that he was providing me with the love and affection that a child desperately needs from a parent. Only after he began to mention the word «secret» did I question if what we were doing was right.
My father never physically forced me to participate sexually with him until my mid-teens. His force was emotional. He was my father, and I trusted him.
Between the ages of 13 and 15, I informed four people of the incest: my mother, a physician, a schoolteacher and my best friend. None of them believed me. Yet my behavior at the time indicated that there was, in fact, something seriously wrong in my home environment.
I was desperately crying for help — through bedwetting, truancy, poor academic performance, attention-seeking behavior, self-destructiveness, hypochondria, chronic depression, fatigue and eventually drug and alcohol abuse and promiscuity.
Physical indications of sexual abuse were also present, such as chronic upper respiratory, kidney and bladder infections, as well as gynecological problems and rectal bleeding. My entire physical and emotional being screamed for someone to recognize that something was deeply hurting me.
At 16, no longer willing or able to endure any further abuse, I ran away from home. A week later, my father found and brought me home, only to beat me and throw me physically out onto the sidewalk. My mother’s immediate concern, I felt, was that the neighbors might see what was happening. I walked away knowing that I would never return home, even if it meant ending my own life. Putting aside my fear that again I would not be believed, I sought the help of a social worker at the county mental health center. Finally, someone knew that I was telling the truth. She looked at the bruises on my face and said that it was her responsibility to report child abuse to the Department of Social Services. She asked me if I would talk to a case worker. I said yes; she dialed the telephone.
As she talked to the case worker, my heart raced. I was terrified of what would happen next. Would my father go to jail? Would I be sent to a foster home?
That telephone call led to my father’s indictment and a trial. Although I was relieved to be out of my parents’ home, the thought of testifying against my father in court was horrifying. I was breaking the silence that he demanded I keep — I was betraying him. I felt ashamed, as if I were to blame for the abuse and should have been able to stop him.
As I testified, I could see the hate in his eyes. My mother sat next to him; I had been abandoned. Her support of my father strengthened my belief that I was a very bad person.
At the end of the court proceedings, my father was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree. His sentence was a two-year probation, with an order for psychiatric treatment and a $750 fine.
My sentence was the emotional aftermath of the abuse.
Ten years have passed since the trial, and at age 26 I look back on the painful process of recovering. Healing the wounds of my childhood has required more than the passage of time.
In fact, most of this time was spent in a state of emotional denial. On an intellectual level, I knew that I had been a victim of incest, along with physical and emotional abuse. But on an emotional level, I felt numb. When talking about my experiences, it was as though I were speaking about someone totally separate from myself.
I lived from crisis to crisis, was unable to maintain a healthy intimate relationship and continued to abuse alcohol. I was financially irresponsible, chronically depressed, a compulsive overeater and lived in a fantasy world. Yet at times my behavior was the opposite: super-responsible, perfectionist, mature, overachieving and ambitious — to the point of near exhaustion.
Behavior that I had developed as a child to protect myself from my father was also still present. I would sometimes awaken in the night, screaming for my father to leave me alone. Locking bathroom and bedroom doors, out of fear that someone would attempt to enter and violate me, was common.
The greatest effect of the abuse was the profound sense of guilt and shame that plagued me on a daily basis. I hated myself. No matter how hard I tried to feel good about myself, feelings of shame and worthlessness would surface. I continuously sought the approval of others. Surely someone would think that I was a good person if only I tried hard enough to please them. I would do almost anything for a friend or my employer to gain approval, even if that meant neglecting or overextending myself.
At times, my guilt would overwhelm me to the extent of becoming suicidal. I wanted to end the pain, not my life, but the two were deeply enmeshed. I desperately wanted someone to rescue me from my pain. Turning others into parental figures and expecting to be taken care of was a way of survival. I didn’t have to face my losses if I could maintain the fantasy that someday I would have the kind of parents that I needed.
Eventually, I recognized my need to return to professional counseling. I had been in psychotherapy during the court proceedings, and again five years later.
This time, along with therapy, I sought the help of an incest survivors’ support group. Being in the presence of others with similar experiences helped me feel that I was not alone in my quest for recovery. Hearing other victims talk about their sorrow, fear, rage and confusion allowed me to share my own feelings with them. We supported each other with acceptance and understanding, affirming that it was safe to grieve. Together, we acknowledged our need to learn ways of parenting ourselves. The skills that our parents should have taught us as children were absent. Essentially, we were growing up all over again.
In therapy, my social worker helped me become familiar with the little girl that I still carried with me — the little girl who was hurt by her parents and needed me as the adult to love and accept her. First, we looked at how I treated the part of myself that was still a little girl. When she would cry for help, I would usually stifle her as much as my parents had. I learned that my self-abuse was directed at my little girl; I didn’t want to acknowledge her existence. I was certain she was demanding, rebellious and a rotten little kid. After all, wasn’t this the message that my parents had given me?
To help me get to know my little girl, I gave her a name that felt affectionate. «Punky» was a nickname that an aunt called me, so this was my choice. In therapy, I worked on teaching Punky to trust that I would not try to quiet her if she wanted to share her pain with me or my social worker. Learning to listen to her gave me tremendous insight into my own needs, feelings and behavior. Eventually, Punky learned that it was safe to trust — not only me, but also others.
Trust is the foundation of a child’s life; my father exploited that trust through incest. Without the ability to trust, it is impossible to develop loving relationships. Peeling back the layers of defenses to expose the core of my pain was frightening. Only by approaching and then retreating from my feelings could I allow myself to actively grieve. Trusting in my ability to stop when the pain became overwhelming was essential in allowing the grief to surface.
Losing control over my grief was a constant concern. I soon learned, however, that I had the inner strength to control my response to my own emotions, if only I would choose to exercise it.
For the first time, my tears began to flow. I wasn’t sure if they would ever stop. My crying lasted, off and on, for several months. Over and over, I needed to recount memories of the abuse in order to accept and let them go. For all of my life, the memories controlled and haunted me. Now, I had control over them.
Underneath the pain was rage toward my parents for what they had done. I was afraid of this rage because, as a child, my parents’ anger often resulted in violence. The rage that was too threatening to express toward my parents out of fear of violence and rejection became internalized and directed toward myself.
My suppressed anger was the source of my shame, guilt and self-destructive behavior. I would overreact to criticism, create conflicts with co-workers, complain constantly and would allow others to take advantage of me.
Through therapy, my anger became directed toward my parents, where it belonged. With the support of a friend, I called them on the telephone and screamed about how deeply they had hurt me. I also wrote letters to them in my angriest times. I mailed only one of the letters, but writing helped me to externalize my feelings and place them where they were manageable.
The relief I felt after slowly letting go of the pain and anger was great. Much energy had been consumed in keeping it submerged. Now, I could use this energy for taking better care of myself.
In most cases of abuse, there are two people who are abused — the child who is now being abused and the parent who was abused as a child. I found no evidence of sexual abuse in either of my parents’ backgrounds. But they appear to have been emotionally abused as children. My mother may have been physically abused, and my father’s father, who was an alcoholic, apparently was physically abusive. Learning about my parents’ childhood was helpful in eventually forgiving them. They clearly were victims of their own childhoods. This does not excuse them, because ultimately we are all responsible for our own behavior. But now I realize that they did not intentionally set out to hurt or destroy me; they were very sick people in need of healing.
Families can be successful in recovering from incest through family therapy. Unfortunately, my family was not. As painful as letting go was, I had to break the ties and move toward building a life without them.
Now that I am well into recovery, issues remain but my past no longer haunts me. The flashbacks, such as the one triggered by the child in the swimming pool, still occur, but they no longer paralyze me. The incest is not my identity; it was my experience. Fortunately, I let that experience lead me to strength, knowledge and healing.
Enjoying the closeness in genuinely loving and nurturing friendships has been my reward in recovery. I am able to give freely of myself, without the fears I had in the past of being victimized or abandoned. I still have fears about closeness, particularly with men, but they no longer interfere with my ability to risk.
Most important, I am celebrating a new love of myself. I don’t always like my behavior, but I am learning to accept my weaknesses and not expect perfection. My child within, Punky, still grieves, but we are no longer separate. I love Punky and value her softness and sensitivity, no longer believing that she is a «rotten little kid.»
Here Are Some of the Stories You Shared.
Jenny in Illinois
When I was at a football game in fifth grade, two boys who were 3 years older than us thought it was funny to pin my friend and I down to the ground and threaten us with lewd and suggestive remarks. We felt helpless and alone. When they finally let us go we ran for the bathroom because that was the one place we knew they couldn’t follow.
Tiffany in South Carolina
Unspoken abuse: Mothers who rape their sons
Ian* was just a child when his mother made him have sex with her. As a child he felt ‘yucky about it’. As an adult he has realised the experience was incredibly damaging. Source:Supplied
TRIGGER WARNING: This story discusses experiences of childhood sexual abuse, incest and suicide.
“I AM very sorry I brought you so much pain,” Marcus* wrote in his final letter, “Thank you for caring for me. I know I didn’t deserve it.”
Marcus died by suicide two years ago and when he did, he left University of Canberra researcher Lucetta Thomas a message.
The sentence that stayed with her was this one: “The only course of action is for you to do something positive, like finish the PhD.”
To an outsider, these could be understood as simple words of encouragement. Lucetta knew their real meaning; this was an urgent final plea.
The PhD she’s currently writing is about sons who were sexually abused by their biological mothers — just as Marcus had been.
Since she met him, Lucetta had witnessed Marcus struggling to come to terms with what happened to him in childhood.
“He was not only sexually abused by his mother from a very young age but when he became older and was able to physically prevent her from abusing him, she engaged another friend to be her strong arm so she could continue the acts of sexual violence against him,” Lucetta explains.
“When Marcus died, I knew I had to finish the research. I didn’t want this to happen to anyone else. I wanted these men to know they aren’t alone and it’s not their fault. There is help out there,” she says.
It turns out Marcus is far from alone. For Lucetta’s study, 94 men who had been abused by their mothers filled out online surveys. Of that number, she then interviewed 23 men at length over the phone.
“The abuse often started before the child hit puberty, when the child was still quite young, so they had really no concept of what was going on but they were still being coerced or manipulated into performing sexual acts,” she says.
University of Canberra researcher Lucetta Thomas has interviewed dozens of men who have been sexually abused by their mothers. Picture: Ginger Gorman Source:Supplied
While some boys were mentally coerced into “a full sexual relationship” with their mother, Lucetta explains that others were on the receiving end of “incredible violence” if they tried to resist. Mothers might also withdraw of basic human needs, such as food and shelter.
Hamish,* now in his 50s, was 12 years old the first time he recalls having sex with his mother.
“She had this big bedroom and if we were ever sick or anything like that we’d stay in her bed. One day she just initiated it, she just started touching me and it just went from there.
“She preyed on the fact I was coming into puberty and made me feel important and special,” he tells me.
From this distance Hamish now understands he was just a child when the abuse occurred; he was unable to consent to sex with an adult in a position of power.
At the time though, it was a different story: “I thought I was enjoying it and I thought I was grown up.”
Despite growing up in a wealthy suburb and going to a private school, home life was difficult. His single mother suffered frequent physical illnesses, such as pneumonia and pleurisy. In retrospect Hamish thinks his mother was also mentally unwell.
“It was a good household to be in when my mother was in a good mood and it was a horrible household to be in when she wasn’t,” he says, “she would threaten to kill us and she’d lock all the windows and turn on the gas.”
“I got hurt,” Hamish continues, pointing to a decades-old scar on his the top of his head.
Especially when his mother was sick, Hamish cooked, cleaned and went to the shops to get food for the family.
“She saw me as like some sort of de facto relationship, I’ve got no doubt about that. She’d say: ‘You’re the man of the house’,” he recalls.
Meanwhile his mother warned him to stay quiet about their sexual relationship.
“People wouldn’t understand, you can’t ever tell anybody,” she told Hamish.
The truth is that Hamish had no one to disclose the abuse to — and even if he did, was terrified of splitting up his family.
“You’re physically and mentally trapped in this relationship and you can’t get out of it,” he says.
This isn’t an easy interview. When I ask what went through his head during that period in his childhood, Hamish struggles to form an answer. Like so many men in his position, the distress lies not in the words but in the silence.
“[I’ve] spent most of my life trying to repress these thoughts and memories,” he says, “I haven’t talked to anyone for 30 years about it.”
When he was just 15, Hamish’s mother died. While making it clear he didn’t wish for her death, Hamish is blunt: “She did me a favour … I’ve always felt that it enabled me, in some respects, to get on with my life.”
He worked damn hard to do just that. Hamish married in the early 90s and fathered two sons of whom he’s extremely proud.
About 10 years ago a television news story prompted him to briefly mention the childhood sexual abuse to his wife. After the disclosure he promptly told her: “I never want to talk about it ever again, ever.”
Quietly reflecting on this, he says: “It’s really hard to tell someone you love, ‘By the way, my mother abused me and I had sex with my mother’.”
True to his word, Hamish never did discuss it again with his wife — something he has lived to regret.
“I love my wife and for a lot of the time we had a good relationship but this thing [the abuse] came between us,” Hamish says, “it did slowly poison our relationship.”
“Our marriage was never the same after I told her about my mother … just telling her wasn’t enough, we needed to get help,” he says.
Three years ago Hamish had an affair and his marriage unravelled. As a result he lost his wife and his business.
“I wish we’d got help together, you know? I might still be married now if I’d got help. But I’m not,” he says with unmistakeable grief.
Despite this, Hamish no longer feels anger when it comes to his mother.
“I feel sorry for her that she couldn’t see what she was doing was wrong,” he says.
It’s an incredibly confusing situation for victims, explains Lucetta, because “the boys still love their mother” and just like Hamish, “they don’t want the family to break apart.”
Lucetta says men who were victims as boys are deterred from disclosing what happened due to the very real fear of not being believed or being blamed for their maternal abuse.
“Society says that males are actually instigators of any sort of sexual relationship, so the child copes with the trauma by telling himself: ‘I must have actually instigated it,’” she says.
Lucetta recruited the men for her research with relative ease. This may lead one to assume this type of abuse is common. Frustratingly though, there seems to be no reliable data on its prevalence — including the Personal Safety Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The way Lucetta sees it, the lack of data leads to both a lack of public awareness and acceptance of mother-to-son sexual abuse and a lack of “support and assistance for these male victims by health professionals.”
Ian,* 70, was also sexually abused by his mother. Unlike Hamish, it happened when he was a much younger child.
“I can remember what her vagina felt like, I can remember what her body felt like and I as a child felt all yucky about it,” he recalls.
Ian at the age of eight, around the time his mother was abusing him. Source:Supplied
Up until the age of eight, Ian says he slept in his mother’s bed and was asked to perform sexual acts on her, such as sucking her nipples.
“I hated her because of abuse,” he says, “I had a list of people who I wanted dead and she was on that list.”
The family dynamic was complicated. Ian, his two brothers, mother and her husband — we’ll call him John — lived in poverty in rural South Australia.
“I was born illegitimately,” Ian says, “and he [John] knew that because he wasn’t sleeping with my mother.”
“My whole life I felt guilt and shame because I shouldn’t have been in existence,” he says.
Growing up, Ian “just existed” rather than living. John kicked Ian’s mother and her children out of the house several times.
“I was shunned, I wasn’t wanted. I felt that even from my cousins, uncles and aunties, grandparents,” Ian says.
For Ian, the childhood abuse “manipulated my sexuality and impacted my ability to operate as a person.”
“How can you have a healthy sexual relationship? How can you become a father, husband, grandfather?” he asks.
Throughout adulthood, Ian has been plagued by feelings of isolation, guilt, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. He’s also battled a “dysfunctional sex life” and attempted suicide a number of times.
Ian describes “a paralysis” inside him and states: “I don’t think I’ve loved anybody in my life [and] didn’t know what love was.”
Although Ian is still married to his wife and has been for nearly 50 years, he confesses to having a number of extramarital affairs and visiting escorts for sex.
In a lighter moment, he jokingly refers to this as “a very good form of therapy.”
Only in the last six years — and after decades of counselling and therapy — does Ian feel he’s started to recover.
“I honestly believe she [his mother] had probably been sexually abused herself,” he says, adding: “I feel pity for her.”
“I had to forgive my late mother in order to recover,” Ian explains.
In the context of Lucetta’s research, Ian is unusual because he considers himself mentally healthy.
She says: “Out of all the males that I spoke to I would say only one had actually come to terms with what had happened to him.”
The sexual abuse of “these men when boys is often highly traumatic and at times extremely violent and impacted on their psychological, biosocial and physical development,” Lucetta says.
Far from healing over time, the impacts of this mother-to-son childhood sexual abuse seem to continue.
“There seemed to be a recurrence of the trauma building up over the years,” she says, “so from the late 30s onwards, it was really starting to become an issue for them.”
As adults, the majority of men in Lucetta’s study felt “very trapped, very isolated, very afraid and very unsure of how to go about getting help and understanding the power dynamics that they had been subjected to.”
“One gentleman, sadly, was completely house bound. He basically just felt that it was completely impossible to trust anybody or to be out in society because he had so little self-regard,” she says.
According to Lucetta, society’s beliefs about gender are effectively stopping a cohort of male victims disclosing their abuse and accessing support.
“They have experienced the same forms of trauma, the same forms of sexual abuse and emotional and psychological abuse as any victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault and they need to be taken seriously and they need to be believed.
“It is time to break the long-held view of mothers as only ever gentle and caring females, so that the sexual abuse of sons by their biological mother is acknowledged,” she says.
For Hamish’s part, he urges other survivors of mother to son abuse to reach out for help.
“You can’t just bottle it up and think that it will go away, because it doesn’t ever go away,” he says. And he would know.
* Names and some personal details have been changed for privacy reasons.
If you’re a bloke who is impacted by sexual abuse, call Mensline 24/7 on 1300 78 99 78 or visit www. mensline. org. au
You can also call Lifeline on 131114 or chat online at www. lifeline. org. au
In an emergency, call 000
For a detailed listing of support services for victims child sex abuse, see this page from The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Ginger Gorman is an award winning print and radio journalist, and a 2016 TEDx Canberra speaker. Follow her on Twitter @GingerGorman
Disturbing accounts of child sex abuse as read out by Actors 4:12
A 14-year-old girl, who claims she was raped a few months earlier, has skipped classes to nap at home.
By KIUNDU WAWERU
Nekesa has a sad look when she shyly opens up to tell her story. She looks at the baby in her hands, a healthy two-year-old girl who is sucking her thumb forlornly, as if she is one with her mother’s turmoil. Mother and daughter have 15 years between them.
The baby whimpers when Nekesa shifts her from the right shoulder to the left, casts an empty gaze to the ground, and, almost in a whisper, says: “Huyu mtoto ni wangu, lakini pia ni dadangu. (This is my child, but she is also my sister).”
The ensuing silence is palpable. The elderly lady accompanying Nekesa for the interview excuses herself and vanishes into her mud house. Moments later, she steps out, muttering that she has nothing to offer us, her visitors. She reclaims her seat and takes charge of the story.
Her name is Gertrude Wanjala, once a respected mkunga — as traditional birth attendants (TBA) are referred to in this village of Sirisia in Bungoma County. But the government started frowning upon TBAs, whom it accused of misleading pregnant women, and therefore being part of the reason almost 20 women die at childbirth in Kenya daily.
Luckily, development agencies moved in to reorient the TBAs by training them, and today Wanjala is referred to as a ‘birth companion’, as the T-shirt she is wearing proclaims. Her work involves tracing and referring pregnant women and girls like Nekesa to health centres for antenatal care and safe delivery.
Elisabeth Corey — My Story
My childhood was not a childhood. In my family, men had sex with little girls. It was our normal. It was our culture and it was generational. My parents grew up with it. Their parents grew up with it. Most of the victims in our family didn’t remember it because the trauma caused memory loss. We were a family of traumatized individuals who were doing whatever it took to survive … usually at the expense of the others.
The extreme abuse in our family might seem easily discernible to outsiders. In our case, it wasn’t. We were a typical suburban family. We lived in a four-bedroom house as a middle-class family with a mother, father and two children. We had plenty of social circles. The parents worked. The children attended school and after-school activities. We didn’t move around all the time. We did not request government or social services that may have shined a light on our family dysfunction. Nobody suspected anything. We seemed like a “normal” family.
My parents, uncles and grandparents started sexually abusing me when I was 2 years old. This was necessary to break me. I was indoctrinated in to a way of life. I was brainwashed. But there was a problem. As I got older, they realized I was a talker. They had not successfully broken me. I was telling people. The good news for them … nobody believed me. Or if they did, they didn’t do enough to help me. I was visited by social services a few times. My father had to threaten a few people to shut them up. But in the end, my family maintained the secrecy … and control.
My talking (and fighting back) led to some additional abuse. My father became physically abusive with me. I was suffocated, physically assaulted, abandoned, strangled, starved and hit many times in the head. I went to the hospital on multiple occasions. I am not sure how my father talked his way through those visits. But he did.
Forbidden Fruit: Six Shocking Real Life Incest Stories Throughout History
Updated May 9, 2018
From the royal courts of Renaissance Europe to the rock stars of the ’60s, these famous cases of incest will make your skin crawl.
Taboos are rarely black and white. While one person or group may consider a certain act socially unacceptable or downright immoral, another may see it simply as a part of life. Incest, for one, has long remained one of the world’s most unmentionable taboos.
Nevertheless, some especially interesting cases of famous incest—from the royal families of Ancient Egypt to celebrities of the 20th century—demonstrate that there always have been and always will be people willing to climb the family tree to reach forbidden fruit.
Charles Darwin was the father of evolution, author of On the Origin of Species. and a faithful husband to Emma Wedgwood Darwin, his first cousin.
Together, the couple had ten children, three of which died at a young age. Of the seven children that lived, three were infertile (Darwin thoroughly recorded the status of his health and the health of his family).
When his children fell ill, he referred to his writings of inbred plants, and feared his children inherited weaknesses due to the past incest between his and Emma’s families.
Researchers looked at four generations of Darwin and Wedgwood families and discovered many consanguineous marriages on both sides. As Darwin feared, the similarity between the Wedgwood and Darwin genetic lines contributed to his children’s health issues.
‘I was eight when my brother started coming into my room’
Weekend Read: We talk to child sex abusers, victims and therapists, and ask: is there a better way to tackle abuse in Ireland?
Child sex abuse: “My little heart would beat faster when I’d hear him coming down to my room,” Sophie says. “I’d hope and pray that he wouldn’t come in and pull the blankets back. He always did.” Illustration: Dearbhla Kelly