The Incest Victims: Who They Are and How They Coped
How do incest victims differ from women who were never victimized by incest? In chapter 8 we explored some of the differences in their backgrounds as well as some of the similarities. Here we will look at some of their social characteristics at the time of the interview--for example, their social class, their employment status and history, their marital and maternal status, and their religious preference. All of these are variables that might have been affected by their incest victimization. For example, an experience of incestuous abuse may retard a girl's educational achievement, make her less inclined to marry, discourage her from having children of her own, and so on. By examining these variables we can measure the extent to which the lives of incest victims as a group may have been affected in these particular areas, if at all.
In the second half of the chapter we will address the following questions: How do incest victims handle their victimization? What ended the sexual abuse? What resistance strategies did they find effective? Why do some victims resist more assertively than others? What were the victims' perceptions of why the sexual abuse occurred?
The entire sample of 930 women was divided into those who reported one or more experiences of incestuous abuse before the age of eighteen years and those who reported no such experience before this age. The fact that