Sexual Behaviour in Canada: Patterns and Problems

By Benjamin Schlesinger | Go to book overview

Incest: the cover-up crime *

JOCELYN DINGMAN

Little Red Riding Hood is a real person, who turns up occasionally in psychiatric practice. When she was little, her mother often sent her on errands to her grandmother's house, and when her grandmother was out she would play games with her grandfather, who liked to feel her under her dress. She never told her mother, because she was afraid her mother would scold her and tell her she was lying.

When she grows up, she spends her life running errands for other people, meeting a lot of dirty old men whom she enjoys frustrating (filling up wolves' bellies with stones, as in the fairy story) but can't seem to get interested in anyone her own age. According to psychiatrist Eric Berne, who described her in What Do You Do After You Say Hello?, she often owns and wears a red coat.

Another woman goes through life saying 'But the emperor has no clothes!' She always knows which people aren't nearly as nice as they pretend to be, but when she points it out to them and their friends and relatives, nobody ever believes her. She causes herself a lot of trouble this way, and gets labeled 'emotionally disturbed.'

Eventually she finds a therapist who can read her riddle, and remembers that the original emperor who had no clothes was none other than her daddy, who attacked her sexually before she could talk well enough to tell her mother what had happened.

In recent years we have been paying more attention to child-battering, the real physical violence against children which takes place in too many homes, but a wall of silence surrounds the subject of the sexual abuse of children. The fact

____________________
*
Reprinted from Chatelaine ( August 1974).

-211-

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