I think most of us have heard by now that actress Mackenzie Phillips spoke publicly for the first time about her 10 year incestuous relationship with her father, legendary singer John Phillips. Her autobiography, High On Arrival (currently #3 on The New York Times Best Seller list) details the events leading up to the relationship and how and why it ended (she terminated a pregnancy that she believed may have been fathered by her own father).
Since her appearances on Oprah Winfrey, amongst many others, The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has seen a jump of 83% in their online traffic and their telephone hotline traffic has risen by 26%.
Researchers of sex abuse believe that incest is one of the most under reported crimes and that people are more likely to talk about molestation by non-related perpetrators than family. The taboo is just too great, they believe, along with deep confusion and guilt. If you can't trust your family - who can you trust?
The mission statement of RAINN includes "the hotline's free, confidential services; educates the public about sexual assault; and leads national efforts to prevent sexual assault, improve services to victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice."
Mackenzie Phillips has come under fire for talking about this. Why would anyone talk so publicly about something so disgusting and so personal, they ask. Can't some things just stay private?
Of course, this is exactly the mentality that rapists and abusers hope for. It protects them, keeps them out of prison and allows them to continue to commit their crimes.
If you need help or support for rape, incest of any kind of sexual abuse (no matter when it occurred) you can contact RAINN here www.rainn.org or call their free hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE.
There is hope and recovery for anyone who has suffered this kind of abuse. It can take some time, and uncover some difficult wounds - but a good, healthy and productive life is very possible. And every survivor deserves at least that.
What do you think of Mackenzie Phillips story? Do you have a story to tell? You can remain anonymous.
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