Friday, July 17, 2009

Incest: The Most Invisible Abuse

On 23 June 2009, a research report entitled "Understanding the problem of incest in Turkey" was introduced at a panel in Ankara. The study had been carried out by the Demography Association and the United Nations Population Fund (UNDPF) and was based on interviews with professionals who deal with cases of incest in Turkey.

The researchers interviewed 98 professionals -teachers, judges, midwives, police officers, doctors, prosecutors, lawyers, psychologists, social services psychologists and members of NGOs- in the provinces of Ankara, Adana, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Istanbul and Kocaeli.

The study discusses victims, perpetrators and their family environments, the revelation of incest cases and ensuing problems, as well as the problems that professionals face.

Although both girls and boys are victims of incest, the study shows that there are more female victims. Several girls or boys living in the same home may be abused, either at the same time or at different times. Some cases start with harrassment and continue with rape, while others start directly with rape.

The resistance of children is overcome by rewarding them, threatening them, using physical violence, or threatening to hurt those they love.

Examples given by professionals show that many of the perpetrators are fathers, followed by male relatives such as grandfathers, older brothers, or paternal /maternal uncles. Perpetrators can be any age and from any background, but the father-daughter or father-son incestuous abuse seems to be most common, followed by abuse from grandfathers, and then between siblings.

An important finding was that the abusers were often abused in their own childhood.

All kinds of family types are affected by incest, from the nuclear to the extended family, single-parent families to two-parent families or families without parents.

The fact that there have been more cases found among families with lower income has been explained by experts with the higher number of such families in society, as well as the fact that economic power makes incest easier to hide. When incest is discovered in wealthier families, it is often covered up without applying to courts.

Pregnancy is a factor which often makes incest become discovered, and again, individuals with higher income and education are more careful about preventing pregnancy or making use of private health services.

Story Continues...

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