Is your family a part of the solution?


How do you write about something that people are afraid to see? How to you expose an undermining, but insidious practice? How do you change peoples’ minds? How does a civilization heal from the wounds of abuse?

Incest is sexual contact without informed consent between individuals who share a bloodline. It is a symptom of extreme family dysfunction centered around distortions regarding the meaning of love, affection, and care. Incest propagates in family systems without healthy boundaries concerning equanimity in family power dynamics and age appropriate experiences and responsibilities. The research of Maddock and Larson proposes 4 catagories of incest:

• Affection-based: the incest provides closeness in a family otherwise lacking in nurture and affection. There is an emphasis on the specialness of the relationship, within which otherwise unavailable caring is given and received.

• Erotic-based: the family atmosphere is one of chaotic pansexuality, and it is not uncommon for many members to be involved. Its norm is the erotization of relationships. The term “polyincest” is often used to describe such multiple perpetrator situations.

• Aggression-based: the incestuous acts involve the perpetrator’s sexualized anger. The perpetrator vents his or her frustration and conflicts on a vulnerable individual, and physical mistreatment is often involved.

• Rage-based: the perpetrator is hostile and may be overtly sadistic. There may be great danger to the victim.

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Are you a mandated reporter? Some states require all residents to assume the legal responsibility to report abuse or suspected abuse. Abuse may include neglect alongside all other types of abuse. Revealing abuse is the first step in interrupting the cycle of abuse. Make it your business to report abuse.

Tami Boehle-Satterfield, MSW, LCSW-C, NBBCH, HTP, a licensed psychotherapist at has challenged herself in 2016 to post week about the unpopular topic of abuse. Learn more about Tami at

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