Magazine article Herizons

Fault Lines: Incest, Sexuality and Catholic Family Culture

Magazine article Herizons

Fault Lines: Incest, Sexuality and Catholic Family Culture

Article excerpt

FAULT LINES: INCEST, SEXUALITY AND CATHOLIC FAMILY CULTURE.

Feminist writers have already given us books on incest and its effects on its female victims. We have also benefited from good work on patriarchy in the Roman Catholic Church. Tish Langlois, in Fault Lines, weaves the two themes together into one book which recounts women's experiences and offers some persuasive analysis, too.

Langlois performs a valuable service in her book without either preaching or sacrificing academic standards. Fault Lines is the result of academic work that is eminently readable by all interested readers. History, theory and concepts are offered in a straightforward manner, and are always related to the experiences of the group of incest survivors who agreed to tell the author their stories. Vatican II, standpoint theory, sexual justice, compulsory heterosexuality- these are all woven into a text that is imbued with generous excerpts from the women's own stories.

And, as often occurs in work that results from qualitative interviews and group work, the words of the eight women who constituted her sample are strikingly powerful. One participant spoke of the impact of "God the Father": "...to question my father would have been like questioning God. It was just unthinkable." Another woman spoke of the sexual shame that is part of our culture and is compounded by Catholic family culture: "In my family I learned that it was the woman's responsibility to `avoid occasions of sin' and that if something sexual happened, the woman was the one to blame. …

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