Sunday, September 18, 2011

Humanity Founded Upon Abuse Of Children

When I started using Twitter about two years ago, I met someone who is just as passionate as I am about protecting children from sexual preditors.  On Twitter, my friend calls herself BraveKidsVoices. Quite a few months ago, BraveKidsVoices shared an article with me which you will find at the following link:

Feel free to go and read the entire article for yourself. I warn you that if you are an incest survivor, this article may be triggering for you. That is part of the reason that I have taken so long to write my own blog post about this subject. The reading of this article is very difficult.  I still have not finished reading all of it myself. I will probably do a series of blog posts from this article. 

The title of the article is "The History of Child Abuse" written by Lloyd deMause is found in The Journal of Psychohistory 25 (3) Winter 1998.  BraveKidsVoices asked me to write this post, using this article, about incest as the most prevalent form of child sexual abuse. This post is my attempt to do that. I am not good with numbers - statistics, so much of this post will be direct quotes from Mr. deMause himself. I also think a part of me just does not want to acknowledge that incest is such a huge problem in our society and in the history of our world, it was much worse than today even. That is just so hard for me to take in. I hope that this series of posts will do away with my own denial in this area as well as any that you, as my reader, may be holding on to.  If you are an incest survivor like I am, we are not in a unique position of being just a small number of survivors, the figures from this article tell us that incest has been going on since the beginning of our history and that in many countries in the world, incest is an everyday occurrence for far too many children still today.

My title for this post comes from one of the first few paragraphs in Lloyd deMause's article.  ". . . the history of humanity is founded upon the abuse of children."  Mr. deMause goes on to say, "Just as family therapists today find that child abuse often functions to hold families together as a way of solving their emotional problems, so, too, the routine assault of children has been society's most effective way of maintaining its collective emotional homeostasis.  Most historical families once practiced infanticide, erotic beating and incest."

The conclusions that Lloyd deMause reaches from the many studies that he and his associates have done over the years says, ". . . the history of childhood has been a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken."  Over the centuries, children have been neglected and often treated cruelly by their parents.  Mr. deMause says,  ". . . children have been killed, rejected, beaten, terrorized and sexually abused by their caretakers."

Even though incest and other forms of child sexual abuse seems to be at epidemic numbers today, according to Mr. deMause - 30% of men and 40% of women have been sexually abused as children.  Mr. deMause's figures say that half of those were sexually abused by family members. 81% of those children were sexually abused before puberty, with 42% of that number being under the age of seven.  These figures came from adults who remembered their abuse in great detail and with great clarity.  These were adults with "conscious memories," not from someone who may have had fragmented, bits and pieces, of memories.  I have solid, detailed memories from the age of 11 - 17, what Mr. deMause's study would count as "conscious memories." Many more survivors would fall into the "fragmented" range of memories which means that they are not included in these statistics. 

Mr. deMause reached the conclusion that "the real sexual abuse rate for America is 60% for girls and 45% for boys, about half of these directly incestuous."

Outside of the United States, these figures are even higher.  Mr. deMause states that the further back into history one goes and the further away from the West that one goes, the worse the incidences of child sexual abuse become.  In many countries in the world, incest is routine among families. Fathers, brothers, uncles and grandfathers molest little girls.  Mothers, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers molest little boys.  India, China, Japan, the Near East and the Far East are just some of the countries that incest is prevalent in today.  Little girls are treated worse than little boys because in many countries, little girls are considered worthless with no value of any kind.  Often the little girls are killed or used as sexual objects by the men in their families.

This information comes from just the first few pages of this 24 page article.  Here is the link again for those of you who are brave enough to go and read more.

If you are like me, you had no idea that incest was so bad throughout history or even in our so-called modern world.  As more of us research and speak out about incest, more people will become aware.  Just becoming aware is a start but don't you dare stop with just awareness.  Do something to protect your children who can't protect themselves from sexual preditors. 

The internet is such a miracles for those of us who grew up before everyone had access to computers.  The internet is increasingly becoming more and more dangerous for our children.  Preditors have discovered the internet too and many use it to reach out to unprotected, unloved, inadequately supervised children.  These preditors reach out with attention to these shy children who are often left at home alone because both parents have to work or have activities that seem to be more important to them than time spent with their children.  Please, as a caring parent, monitor your child's time on the computer. Let your child know that you love them and will do whatever is necessary to protect them from sexual preditors, online and off.


Celeste Rousseau said...

When I remembered my incestuous childhood and then recognized the effects of it on my entire life I began to see the same self-sabotaging behavior in a great percentage of those around me.
As difficult as it was for me to read this article, my intuition tells me that these figures are not exaggerated.
Thank you, Patricia for reminding me again that we are surrounded by a sea of wounded children and must not be quiet about this insidious abuse.
Only by unconditional regard for humanity will we create a healthier global society.

Patricia Singleton said...

Celeste, no, I don't believe that they are exaggerated either. There are still too many of us that are not counted because we don't have either the courage or the strength to speak out. That is why it is so important for those of us who can speak out to bring this awareness to others. Thank you for doing your part and speaking out about incest and its effects upon you as an adult. Only with awareness can we hope to stop the sexual abuse of future children.

Susan Pease Banitt, LCSW said...

I first read Lloyd DeMause over 20 years ago. He is still relevant; this is important information. Overcoming denial is a cultural as well as personal event. But it is time!

Patricia Singleton said...

Susan, thank you for your comment. I agree that it is time for society to overcome its denial about child abuse.

Editor said...

I don't think I'm ready to read it. I'm very protective of my child, almost to the point that I've done damage, all because of my past. CSA has ruined me.

Patricia Singleton said...

Editor/Tyla, it is okay if you are not ready to read the full article. I still haven't read it either. When I do another blog post from this article, it will have a trigger warning on it. With my own incest survivor background, I am afraid that I passed on many of my fears on to my two children too. The best thing that I can do for either of my children is to heal and to be here for them as they have their own stuggles with growing up in a dysfunctional family. I believe you have been deeply wounded by CSA. I also believe that as long as you are alive, there is hope for healing. I know from my own experiences that life can get better.

Just Be Real said...

Thank you Pat for sharing the link. I am appalled, but not surprised of the statistics. The article was well covered and opened up my eyes to many things that go on in other countries besides ours. Safe hugs.

Patricia Singleton said...

JBR, you are very welcome. What we experienced is appalling too. What happens to the children described in Mr. deMause's article is horrendous to the point that it sickens me to read about it. What happened to parents who are supposed to love their children? Animals take better care of their young than some human parents do.

Darlene Ouimet said...

Wow Patricia,
This is stunning. The article itself is also stunning... even though I have read similar stats, the info is still shocking. Thanks for writing about this.
Hugs, Darlene

Patricia Singleton said...

Darlene, you are very welcome. Yes, the statistics and the actions reported in this study is stunning. Thank you for your comment.

Tracie Nall said...

Even though I know the statistics in my mind, every time I see them written out like that, I feel shocked and overwhelmed again. SO many hurting people.

Protecting my child is the most important thing I do as a parent.

Thank you for sharing this, Patricia. I'm going to click the link and read as much of the article as I can handle tonight, but I have a feeling it will be one to bookmark and finish later.

Patricia Singleton said...

Tracie, Yes, I agree with you when you said, "Protecting my child is the most important thing I do as a parent." I, too, can only read a little at a time of the original article. The reality of child sexual abuse is hard to comprehend.

El Phoenix said...

Thank you so much for writing this, my friend. Hugs.

Patricia Singleton said...

El, you are very welcome. Hugs to you too my friend. Glad we have met online. I look forward to getting to know you.