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Empowerment and de-empowerment in father-daughter incest : on breaking cycles of silence

Fiche mise à jour le 26 mars 2020

En bref

Auteurs : Carolyn Langdon
Date de présentation : décembre 1989
Etendue : 119 p.
Liens internet : Texte intégral du document


Titre du diplôme :

Master of Arts

Organismes :

School of Criminology / Simon Fraser University, Canada

Résumé d'auteur :

This study examined the roles that disclosure and social reaction to incestuous experiences play in the incestuous process and its effects. Attention was devoted to the relationship between event parameters and their prospective effects, as well as to the barriers of communication that sexually victimized women come up against in trying to break the "cycle of silence" which typically surrounds their experience. This thesis incorporates the notion of "power" in addressing the above issues, particularly how the perpetrator is "empowered" and how he becomes "de-empoweree.

A sample of 33 adult volunteers (all female) responded to a questionnaire which combined open and close-ended questions, Semantic Differential items, and social reaction matrices in order to assess the respondents' attitudes to the event, the disclosure and their present situation.

Results revealed that a clear distinction can be made between communication patterns in childhood and adult years in terms of disclosure. When children informed family members of their experience, reaction and support were minimal. In turn, the victim felt mixed emotions, including a great deal of confusion. However, in adulthood, accessibility to helping professionals (e.g., social workers) broadens their disclosure network. The need to communicate with as many individuals as possible about their experience was evident, and at that later point, reaction and support to the event were deemed favourable. The survivors claimed to have a more positive self-image and proposed an optimistic future.

Disclosure is thus discussed as an important aspect in the "de-empowerine process of the perpetrator, as well as in assisting in the recovery process of the victim. Recommendations are made, directed particularly at breaking down contemporary barriers of communication for victims of sexuel abuse. Future research directions emerging from this exploratory thesis are also articulated.

Sommaire :

I. Introduction

  • Sigmund Freud
  • Alfred Kinsey
  • The women's movement and media response
  • Prevalence and incidence
    • American prevalence studies
    • A Canadian prevalence study
  • Purpose of thesis and chapter summary

II. Literature review

  • History of child sexual abuse
  • A feminist interpretation: the issue of power
  • Father-daughter incest
  • Family environment
    • The father: the usual perpetrator
    • Rationalizations for incestuous behavior
    • The daughter
    • Mother: the third party
  • Beyond the nuclear family
    • Fathers versus stepfathers
    • Grandfather - granddaughter incest uncle - niece incest
    • Sibling incest
  • Characteristics of incestuous abuse
    • Duration of sexual contact
    • Where the abuse occurred
    • Multiple victimization
    • Termination of incest
  • The secrecy stage of the experience
    • Force and threats
    • Promises and gifts
    • Other techniques
    • The incestuous process
  • Disclosure
  • Family reactions to disclosure of incest
    • Perpetrator
    • Mothers
    • Siblings
    • Relatives
  • Long term effects

III. Definitions, methods and procedures

  • Operational definitions
  • The questionnaire
    • The semantic differential
  • Description of sample
  • Survey procedure

IV. Results

  • Response rate
  • The sample: a demographic portrait
  • The experience - characteristics of incestuous abuse
    • Most significant abuser
    • Multiple victimization
    • Age of victimization
    • Age disparity between perpetrators and victims
    • Frequency and duration of abuse
    • Place of sexual abuse
    • Perpetrators' sexual interest in victim
    • Possible reasons for submission
    • Who knew about the relationship?
  • Social reaction to the relationship
    • Who defines incestuous abuse as wrong?
    • Disclosure - childhood and adulthood years
    • Termination of the relationship
  • A general overview: a victim's feelings over time
  • The victims' present situation
    • Therapy
    • Advice to other incest victims

V. Discussion and conclusion

  • The incestuous experience - the empowering process
  • Disclosure - the de-empowering process
  • Policy recommendations and other implications

Mots clés SantéPsy :

Inceste père-enfant, Fille, Victime mineure, Communication, Silence, Relation familiale, Adulte, Enfant, Rétablissement, Prévalence, Revue de la littérature, Questionnaire, Recommandation, Féminisme, Secret, Fratrie, Auteur de violence sexuelle, Agression sexuelle intrafamiliale, Maltraitance, Psychothérapie

Mots clés libres :

Révélation, Inceste père-fille, Dévoilement


Genre : Thèse
Langue : anglais
Format : annexes, tables, bibliographie
Numéro de fiche : 383
Type de fiche : Mémoire ou thèse
Création : 24/01/2020
Dernière modification : 26/03/2020
Statut : Publié