As with any abuse, the psychological impact is profound, with statistics indicating victims tend to share four common traits:
1. Guilt. Unfortunately, they are convinced that they are responsible for the abuse.
2.Emotional Caution.Many have a hard time relating to people, because they’re afraid to let their guard down, since they’re mistrustful of everyone.
3. Low self-esteem.Convinced they have committed the ultimate sin, victims have a low opinion of themselves,and feel they are incapable of giving love and having it reciprocated.
4. Depression.Feeling worthless and hopeless. Experts say it is crucial that victims seek therapy, even if it’s short-term.In terms of endurance, stories abound of victims who overcame the trauma andwent on to lead productive lives. Now before anyone comes to the conclusion that the women completely forgot the abuse, it should be noted that it remains with them, but these women refused to let their perpetrators ruin or control their lives.
As proof that incest need not destroy one’s life, you have only to look at celebrities who have been the victims of abuse, but succeeded despite the tragedy. They include talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey; poet, writer and best-selling author Dr.Maya Angelou, and Alice Walker, best known for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Color Purple. Here is how Winfrey and Angelou triumphed over adversity.It should also be noted that the two women are close friends.
Winfrey: The story of Winfrey’s molestation by male relatives; an uncle, two cousins and a family friend is well documented.Also documented is how she regained her self-esteem and became one of the wealthiest, most admired women in theworld.
Raped by a cousin at 9, and pregnant at 14, Oprah refused to feel sorry for herself. Instead, she took charge of her life and ignored those who said she would “never amount to anything.”Inevitably, she received a scholarship to TennesseeStateUniversity and at 19, became the first Black woman to anchor the news at WTVF-TV in Nashville, and the rest they say is history.
Angelou: A native of Arkansas, Angelou chronicled being raped by her mom’s boyfriend at8,in her 1970 autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The incident was so traumatic, Angelou didn’t speak for five years. However, it was Mrs. Bertha Flowers, aBlack aristocrat in Stamps, Arkansas who helped Angelou reclaim her voice. Shedid this by lending the future writer, books, and making her read them aloud. This made the 13-year-old feel proud of her heritage, and in the blink of an eye a star was born.For we can say with assurance, that was it not for Mrs. Flowers, we would not have been privy to enjoy Dr. Angelou’s literary genius.
In addition to the two women above, other well-known victims include singer La Toya Jackson.Inher1991autobiographyLa Toya: Growing up in the JacksonFamily,La Toyathen35, wrotethat as a child she wasmolested by her fatherJoe Jackson.
In her allegations,Latoya also claimed that her mother (Katherine), was aware of the abuse but “did nothing to stop it.” In their defense, the entire Jackson clan banned together to deny La Toya’s allegations, leaving speculation as to whether the charges were real oranattemptto gain publicity for her failing career, that had all but vanished.
Years laterthe controversial entertainer recanted her statement, saying the abuse never happened.So wasLa Toya actuallyabused by her father?Or did she make up the abuse claim in order to sell more books?Who knows.But one thing is certain,the truth has a way of coming out when you least expect it.