Just how common is incest?

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Just how common is incest?

#1  Postby Ratts » Jul 11, 2010 7:48 pm

http://www.psychohistory.com/htm/06a1_incest.html
http://www.psychohistory.com/htm/06a1_incites.html


Figures as accurate as these for men's memories of seduction are more difficult to obtain. The highest figure reported to date, that of Landis, is 30 percent. Other studies report lower figures because they are from brief questionnaires. Although most comparisons of male and female victimization show molestation of boys only about a third the rate of girls, (50) there is evidence that males are far more reluctant to reveal their molestation, partly because it usually occurs earlier for boys than for girls and partly because victimization may be even more difficult for boys to recall and report than for girls. Because it was conducted by interviews, the 30 percent rate of Landis' study undoubtedly is the most reliable we have for boys. Therefore, the best estimates for memories of childhood sexual abuse we now have for the United States are 40 percent for girls and 30 percent for boys, almost half directly incestuous for girls and about a quarter directly incestuous for boys. (51)
Yet even these astonishingly high figures are only a portion of the hid-den true incidence rates. Four additional factors raise the actual rates even higher:

1. The groups interviewed do not include many people in the American population who have far higher than average sexual molestation experiences, including institutionalized criminals, prostitutes, juveniles in shelters and psychotics (52),
2. the studies only count admissions to the interviewer of abuse, and it is unlikely that no conscious memories were ever suppressed during the interviews,
3. a large percent of each study refused to be interviewed, and these may have been the most victimized of all,(53) and
4. most importantly, these studies include only clear conscious memories of events-unconscious memories, which are usually only uncovered during psychotherapy, would increase these rates.
It is possible to correct the incidence rates statistically for these factors, Although only 11 percent of Russell's respondents recalled being victimized before the age of five, another study shows the most common age of sexual abuse reported to authorities is four years, while other studies report that from 21 to 50 percent of reported sexual abuse victims involve children under five.(54) Since few people consciously recall traumatic events of any kind before the age of five, and since the graph for sexual abuse distribution by age runs roughly level from ages two to sixteen,(55) the incidence figures stated above should be increased by at least an additional 50 percent(56) to account for these three factors, Therefore, the corrected incidence rates are at least 60 percent for Girls and 45 percent for boys. Until someone is courageous enough to directly question the children themselves whether they have been molested - a simple procedure that has never been done in any published study to date - 60 and 45 percent should be considered as the most reliable national incidence rates we now have available for the U.S.

Outside the U.S., there has been only one comparably reliable study published: a thirteen-hundred-page report on face-to-face interviews of over 2,000 men and women done for the Canadian government by the Gallup organization, which concludes with incidence rates approximately the same as the U.S. studies.(77) In Latin America, anthropologists report a great deal of family sexual activity and widespread pederasty as part of macho masculine activity, though reliable statistics of incidence are not yet available. (78) In Puerto Rico, for instance, Oscar Lewis found "danger of seduction by stepfathers, sexual rivalry between sisters, between mother and daughters [and] male children erotically stimulated by their mothers and by other members of the family,"(79) E. N. Padilla reported parents and others regularly masturbating the infant's penis(80) and Romon Frendandez-Marina found Peurto Rican fathers often masturbating their boys to show off their maleness to friends." In Mexico, J. M. Carrier reported a large pr oportion of Mexican men had sexual relations with nephews, cousins or neighbors between the ages of 6 and 9. (82)

European countries are about two decades behind the U.S. in interview techniques, and since they still use written questionnaires they usually report sexual abuse rates of under one percent. (83) Most European studies do not attempt to study statistical frequency, though some - such as a series of studies on Scandinavian incest - report considerable public acceptance of incest in some rural areas. (84)
[…]

Even though there are no reliable statistics for most European countries, a recent flurry of books, articles and telephone "hotlines" has begun to reveal widespread sexual molestation. A recent BBC "ChildWatch" program asked its female listeners - a large though biased sample - if they remembered sexual molestation, and, of the 2,530 replies analyzed, 83 percent remembered someone touching their genitals, 62 percent of the full sample recalling actual intercourse.(85) Official estimates of German children sexually abused and raped each year now number over 300,000, and sexual abuse hot lines are becoming more widespread.(86) The establishment of Italian "SOS-infanzia" hotlines - initially much resented by the public - have begun to reveal widespread pedophile networks, baby prostitution and Boy Scout/Girl Guide molestation, as well as the widespread sexual abuse of children within famines, with a particular emphasis on the pederasty of boys. (87) Finally, the most careful European study to date is a recent unpublished German survey by the Iinstitut fuer Kindheit that for the first time anywhere dared to ask the children themselves about their sexual experiences. I have been told that these researchers found an 80 percent childhood sexual molestation rate among Berlin school children.(88) The exact details of this study will certainly be revealing when it is published. It may be that direct questioning of children rather than relying on retrospective memory may produce even higher real incidence rates of sexual molestation than our 60 percent and 45 percent estimates for the U.S.


The paper goes on to mention example after example on how frequent and institutionalized incest and pedophilia has been throughout history, but lets focus on today here. I am not the one to deny findings on the basis of them being controversial, but while reading this I have to wonder if this is really even possible, that half of the people around us were molested by family or relatives as children and that there is such effective collective denial that we never talk about this common occurrence even in the anonymity of the internet?
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Re: Just how common is incest?

#2  Postby Beatsong » Jul 11, 2010 8:59 pm

I don't believe that for a minute. It's ridiculous.

There comes a point where there is such a large discrepancy between figures like this and everything one knows about people anecdotally, that you just have to be suspicious. On further examination:

Although these two dozen studies have had somewhat differing definitions of sexual molestation and of the age criteria, their results can be made comparable (47) by eliminating noncontact abuse (such as exhibitionism) from the definition and by requiring either evidence of force or an age discrepancy of at least five years when the victim is over 12. When these adjustments are made, the studies report childhood memories of contact sexual molestation at rates ranging from 6 to 45 percent for women and from 3 to 30 percent for men.

The lower incidence figures in these studies turn out to be due to the method used in compiling them, As one moves from the lower to the higher figures, one discovers that the interview techniques begin to acknowledge the resistances of the respondents to such emotional questions. The lower figures are in response to written questionnaires or brief telephone calls, contacts that were considered intrusive by the respondent, while the higher figures, such as those of Wyatt and Russell (48) were the result of carefully structured face-to-face interviews lasting from one to eight hours.(49) Obviously it takes a good bit of trust before respondents begin to relate memories of childhood seduction to strangers. Using these two studies, then, as the most accurate we have to date, one finds that either 38 percent (Russell) or 45 percent (Wyatt) of women interviewed reported memories of familial and/or extrafamilial sexual abuse during their childhood, almost half of which was directly incestuous.


In other words, studies that simply asked people whether they had been abused, came up with figures somewhere above 6% for women and 3% for men (he doesn't say where in the range 6-45 and 3-30 most of them are focused).

OTOH, when Wyatt and Russell et al took people aside for up to eight hours and basically tried to convince them that they really had been abused, and wouldn't stop until they had managed to get most of them to say/think they had, because one day their grandfather's hand had brushed against their leg while they were playing football in the garden, they came up with figures of 38 and 45%.

That's how it reads to me, anyway.
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Re: Just how common is incest?

#3  Postby Berthold » Jul 13, 2010 1:40 pm

Psychohistory sounds to me like a deliberate hoax publication (Asimov invented the word for his Foundation series).
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Re: Just how common is incest?

#4  Postby pawiz » Jul 13, 2010 1:43 pm

No clue how common it is. I'll ask my sister next time we're at it.
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Re: Just how common is incest?

#5  Postby debunk » Jul 13, 2010 1:47 pm

Berthold wrote:Psychohistory sounds to me like a deliberate hoax publication (Asimov invented the word for his Foundation series).


That's what I thought the first time I heard the term (on Carlin's Hardcore History podcast, if I recall correctly), but apparently it's a real, albeit controversial, field of study.
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Re: Just how common is incest?

#6  Postby OHSU » Jul 13, 2010 2:29 pm

Beatsong wrote:I don't believe that for a minute. It's ridiculous.

There comes a point where there is such a large discrepancy between figures like this and everything one knows about people anecdotally, that you just have to be suspicious.


Exactly.
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Re: Just how common is incest?

#7  Postby Scot Dutchy » Jul 13, 2010 3:26 pm

I agree totally.
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Re: Just how common is incest?

#8  Postby Scot Dutchy » Jul 13, 2010 3:31 pm

debunk wrote:
Berthold wrote:Psychohistory sounds to me like a deliberate hoax publication (Asimov invented the word for his Foundation series).


That's what I thought the first time I heard the term (on Carlin's Hardcore History podcast, if I recall correctly), but apparently it's a real, albeit controversial, field of study.



After reading Wiki I think you are right.
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