Despite the progress of the #MeToo movement, few people or organizations are talking about incest specifically. Why is this important? Why not just group incest survivors in with the larger population of child sexual abuse survivors when talking about abuse?
Survivors experiencing sexual assault have a lot in common. Yet within that group are subsets of survivors that experience their own unique challenges. For example, adults who are sexually assaulted by a family member face certain family dynamics and losses that non-incest survivors don’t. Children molested by a parent - responsible for their care and well-being - may have responses to the abuse that other children assaulted by a stranger or someone outside of their family do. For these reasons, the community must call incest what it is and target awareness efforts so they are effective and supportive of incest survivors’ unique needs.
Incest AWARE’s goal is to be able to reinvent this page in the near future to describe the many incest-specific education and prevention efforts around the country. In the meantime, there are many steps that concerned people and groups can take to raise the visibility of incest survivors and the issue more generally:
Train yourself and/or your colleagues on incest prevention and survivor support. Incest AWARE’s Our Training page is a good place to start.
Amplify the voices of survivors whose experiences with sexual violence have historically been silenced or left out of the movement, including black, brown, and indigenous people, and members of the LGBTQ community.
Invite a survivor to share their story on your podcast, at your event or group, in your publication, etc. Our Find a Speaker page features people available to talk about their journey and the way it has impacted the work they do today.
Raise money to fund efforts to help incest survivors, their loved ones, and advocacy efforts. Darkness to Light’s fundraising guide has some helpful tools and tips on grassroots fundraising.
If you are a survivor, contemplate reaching out to organizations and the media to tell your story and educate the public on incest. This is a great guide for getting started. Check out our Tell Your Story page for more helpful information.
If you are affiliated with a child abuse prevention organization, ask your staff to expand their programming to include incest-specific outreach, services, and public awareness campaigns.
Talk with your friends, family, coworkers, social networks - everyone! - about incest and strategies for preventing it. You might consider sharing survivor stories you see online or intervention tips. Telling your own story, while difficult, can be empowering and validating to others. Asking the people you know to contribute to a program dedicated specifically to incest can raise much-needed funds.
If you are engaged in this type of work already, or are doing something else to end incest, tell us! As we learn of incest public awareness efforts, we’ll list them here.
"Healing is a process that doesn’t have a time frame. Don’t rush your healing. Advocating and spreading awareness through my YouTube channel is one way that I heal."
- Ja'Nay Chew