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Archive for December 11th, 2007

Plant (c) Lynda Bernhardt

Some people might be confused by what mother-daughter sexual abuse can entail. When you are talking about a man sexually abusing a girl, it is easy to connect the dots, but some people might not understand how a woman can sexually abuse a girl. Other people might have experienced mother-daughter sexual abuse but not be certain about whether what they experienced falls under the label of abuse. Denial is a coping skill that most abused children use, and it can be hard to break free from the denial.

A person does not need to have a male appendage to rape a child. If you were walking along the street and a stranger forced oral sex upon you, wouldn’t you call that rape? It is no different when a woman perpetrates the same action upon a child.

What to call the abuse is an issue with which many women struggle. One abuse survivor wrote a wonderful piece about claiming the word “rape” in describing her mother’s actions. She said that her mother’s actions were every bit as devastating and traumatizing as any other form of sexual abuse, and she pointed out that other words, such as “molest,” do not carry the same punch. Even “sexual abuse” does not carry the same punch as “rape.” When a mother sexually abuses her child, it is rape.

Some women will sexually abuse their daughters by giving them unnecessary enemas. Others will expose their daughter to their nudity long after the daughter is old enough for this to be inappropriate, sometimes even into adulthood. The mother might insert objects into her daughter’s body. The mother might force oral sex upon the child as either the “giver” or the recipient. All of these actions are mother-daughter sexual abuse.

Society wants to believe that “moms don’t do that.” My response is that I guess my mother did not get that memo.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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