chapter  8
30 Pages

The Trauma of Incest: Threats to the Consolidation of the Self

I n the mere 11-year span between 1979 and the present, there has been a virtual explosion into public and professional consciousness of the frequency and devastating impact of sexual abuse within the family. The sheer force of recent words and images on the subject of incest, including extensive clinical studies (Finkelhor, 1984; Briere, 1988), and carefully researched incidence and prevalence surveys (Russell, 1986), as well as popular television, theater, and documentary dramatizations, is testimony both to the enormity of the problem and to the weight of factors-cullural and familial —which had ditherto kept this broken taboo shrouded in silence.