Men who molest their family members: Bermuda’s dirty little secret

Posted by on Sep 27, 2010 in Local News & Alerts, Opinion | 2 comments

In Bermuda, there are many subjects that families just prefer not to talk about. Perhaps chief among them is inappropriate sexual relations between men and their young relatives, a form of incest, writes  Shay Dawn Burgess.

INCEST is a six-letter word which most people know the definition of, and open discussion of this subject is clearly forbidden.

File image courtesy thisisplymouth.co.uk

For the record, according to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, Incest refers to any sexual activity between closely related persons (often within the immediate family).

According to some studies, the most frequently reported type of incest is father-daughter incest. However, others studies suggest that sibling incest occurs as often, or more often, than other types of incest.

While data in Bermuda is very difficult to attain, we can for the most part assume data indicators to follow that of the United States of America.

In undertaking to write about this topic, I thought it would be very difficult to find a person to share their individual story with the island and the impact incest has had upon her life.

True story

Surprisingly, I did find a young lady who wanted to share her story. She felt if her experience could help someone else than she was willing to talk about what incest has done to her.

To protect her identity, we will call this young lady “Cindy”.

Cindy, 38, is a divorcee with two children. She is also a Grand Mother of one. She is currently employed in the medical field.

I sat down and spoke with Cindy about the effect incest has had upon her life.

File image from akwaekeemezi.com

Questions

SDB: How old were you when first started getting molested?

Cindy: I was about six years old. I was molested by an Uncle. He would tell me not tell anyone as this was our secret.

SDB: How did it make you feel?
Cindy: In the beginning, I did not know what it was all about.

Nobody had taught me about good and bad touches. It all started very innocently.

He would ask me to let him look at my vagina. He then would then tell me to look at his penis.

SDB: What type of behaviors did you show?

Cindy: Around eight years of age, I tried to tell my family members. My grandmother accused me of making the whole thing up.

No one in the family wanted to speak about what was happening to me.

This really affected my self-esteem. I started to make believe that the sexual attention was not happening…but it was.

I felt very dirty; I would scrub my self in the bath tub and would still feel very filthy. This behavior would continue until was I fifteen years old.

SDB: How did getting molested at an early age affect your life thus far?

Cindy: In a lot of ways, I kept thinking I was not good enough, especially in my marriage.

This essentially caused the marriage to break down. As a parent, I was over-protective of my children. When they were away from me, I was fearful that someone would touch them.

In the back of my mind, I felt the cycle of incest would continue with them.

I made sure to tell my children what was not acceptable in a relationship with relatives.

Regrettably, I was not affectionate with my children. As I have learned more about what has happened to me, I have opened up more to them.

SDB: What were some of the coping mechanisms you utilized to deal with what was happening to you?

Cindy: FOOD!!!!!! I craved a lot of sweets and starches (pasta) to ease the pain. I became addicted to comfort foods.

As a result I have battled with my weight. I am constantly trying to lose weight to little success.

Incest is prevalent in Bermuda. File photo courtesy wrenagade.blogspot.com

SDB: If you could give a message to help incest victims, what would it be?
Cindy: I would tell people who have suffered from incest abuse to believe in God — my faith helped me to work through many of the emotions I was experiencing.

Reading my Bible has given me enormous strength. I would also tell them to believe in themselves.

They must know that what has happened to them is not their fault. Do not blame yourself.

Do not be a victim, rise above it. I would also recommend them seek assistance from a noteworthy organization or someone they can trust in.

SDB: On the flip side, what message would you give to the individual who is initiating and engaging in the incest?
Cindy: The first thing I would tell them is to get professional help. They need to look in the mirror and ask why they are doing this.

Bottom line they must get help. They may not know the pain they are causing the young people and how much damage it does in their lives. Sometimes the pain never goes away.

Epidemic on Island

Incest is unfortunately a major epidemic on the island.

Through constant scrutiny and discussion on this topic, we may be able to curb its upward tendencies.

A big thank you to Cindy for sharing her personal story .

It is her hope that it will help individuals to seek the necessary help for both sides (the victim and predator).

For further information on incest you may contact the following organizations:

  • Woman’s Resource Center

295-3882

  • Adolescents, Child, and Family Services

296-7575

  • Coalition for the Protection of Children

295-1150

2 Comments

  1. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT SUBJECT AND NAS FAR-REACHING CONSEQUENCES WHICH DAMAGES INDIVIDUALS IT IS EVEN DONE BETWEEN MOTHERS AND SONS .AND IN SSOME CULTURES IT IS ACCEPTED WHICH TO US IT SO VERY WRONG.YOUR INTERVIEW SHOULD HELP THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN VICTIMS TO PRAY FORGIVE AND TRUST GOD FOR COMPLETE HEALING

  2. i screamed out the side of the house that im in charge and in powerful position to change the life of myself,
    It must of been heard from other and they must of felt like they are involved in my life from then on, next door i talked as if Im out of my mind trying to talk to myself over com links about issues since i was small so Im us to it but it was being molested and brought into the CIA
    ‘Curtain Imagination Animation’
    I have no choice since the CIA is my life but to be another
    for another and the only way in is if I molest another.
    I was given the role for life.
    This is a great thing some might say its wrong but i have no choice.

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