You might wonder why I decided to include a segment on Childhood Incest within my website which mainly focuses upon mental health issues and available resources. Well, incest can cause a variety of mental health issues, not the least being depression; post traumatic stress, and dissociation disorders, with any one leading to suicide. Other effects include: eating disorders, substance abuse, and extreme anxiety. Emotional effects can include low self-esteem, fear of intimacy, fear for other children, aversion to specific sexual acts or positions, or impaired arousal. Sadly, when a child is abused by the most trusted person in their family, that child learns to never fully trust a person again.
So, when I recently enrolled in a program offered by Turner Park Library (Hamilton, ON) called Memoir Writing, and met Viga Boland, the instructor for the group, and discovered she was a survivor of incest, I saw the opportunity to discover more about the subject and began reading her book: No Tears For My Father.
Viga’s story offers an honest, open, and thorough insight into the incestuous relationship forced upon her by her father through passive-aggressive behavior which included brutal tirades, threats, and manipulation; offset by the offer of a special relationship, sex education, and affection, thereby exploiting her childish innocence and causing severe mental anguish.
Here, with Viga’s permission, I am including brief excerpts from her book: No Tears For My Father, which can be purchased from her website: http://www.vigaboland.com, Simply click BUY/BORROW for various options.
… “The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality of my father all through my childhood, into my teens, adulthood and even now in my old age has always puzzled me. How could he be so kind, loving and caring for me one minute and a raging monster the next, and so often with little or no provocation?”…. “He beckoned me to his bedside, grinned at me in an odd way, and asked how my school day had gone.”… “In an instant, his hand was up my leg and into that most private spot.”… “He smiled and winked at me reassuringly, and in a soothing voice said: ‘Don’t be scared, kitten. Daddy was just checking to see if you’re developing and growing okay down there, if everything’s forming properly”… “Nonetheless, it did take him time to get where he really wanted, probably because he sensed my resistance from day one.”… “I don’t really know how long it was before my father finally got into what he really wanted, and I mean “into” literally. I do remember that he tried prodding my vagina with that hard rod of his a bit more every morning, but I’d cry out so much he’d back off, at least at first.”… “And so it was that one morning, he finally got inside me. The pain was horrific: it shot through my loins and all the way up to my stomach. I lurched in agony. I wanted to hurl. Sweat broke out all over me and somewhere in all that, my mind cried out: “What did I do to deserve this!” I couldn’t bear to look at his face breathing hard against mine: I was utterly repulsed by it. I couldn’t stomach the thought that this was my father inside me. It was so wrong! I didn’t zone out this time. I couldn’t with all the turmoil in my head. All I kept thinking was how could he do this to me, his daughter?”… ©Viga Boland.
After reading just those few, brief excerpts, I’m sure you’ll agree that incest should be included on the long list of causes of mental health disorders. But as we acknowledge the horrific events that victims/survivors of incest endure, in the sequel to her book, Viga assures us the effects of sexual abuse can be overcome. And she encourages anyone who is/was a victim/survivor to come on out from under incest through this poem included in her book:
COME OUT FROM UNDER
When you finally come out from under
And absolve yourself from blame
When you cast aside the crippling fears
And rid yourself of shame
As you peel away the layers
To expose the soul below
You will come to love that person
The one you didn’t know
The one you lost so long ago
©Viga Boland, 2012
Viga also has A VigaBlog, and is currently posting chapters of her Sequel: Book 2, both of which can be accessed on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter at @vintageblogger. She also asks that anyone who would like to contact her re: information, questions, etc, please visit her website at http://www.vigaboland.com and click Contact, or for comments about this post leave them here and I will forward them to her where appropriate.
If you live in the Hamilton/Wentworth ON area, and suspect a child is being sexually victimized, please, please call the Police at 911, the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton/Wentworth at 905-522-1121; for French: 1-855-550-3571; or after hours: 905-522-8053, or the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton/Wentworth at 905-525-2012; after hours 905-522-8053.
In closing, I have included a poem from Viga’s book which emphasizes the despair children experience under the oppression of incest.
What is Child sexual abuse?
An unexpected frost
Wilting still green leaves
Freezing unripe fruit
Ever alive but
For the child inside
So suddenly dying
©Viga Boland, October 2012