Of all the types of sexual violence that occur, sexual violence committed by women remains the most taboo. Of the women who abuse, mothers remain the most hidden .
It shocks people’s senses to consider that a mother would rape her own child. We perceive mothers as nurturers and inherently good. While most of us are aware that there are bad mothers, people react negatively to any suggestion that a mother would abuse, let alone sexually abuse, her child. This notion of the inherent goodness of mothers and the need to view them positively is so ingrained in some communities that it can be used against them.
That attitude, coupled with people’s tendency to ignore female-perpetrated sexual violence, makes it difficult for victims of mother abuse to come forward. People will take an incredulous stance and see the victim as impugning their mother’s character rather than sharing their experience. Even when people believe the victim, there is still an attitude of disbelief that anyone would share something so negative about their mother. This is laundry, whether dirty or clean, that should be tucked inside the washer never to be seen.
University of Canberra researcher Lucetta Thomas wants to change. She researched the topic with 23 men who shared their stories of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of their mothers. In one case, a mother repeatedly abused her son. When the boy became old enough to physically stop his mother from raping him, she brought in an accomplice to hold him down. The man eventually committed suicide.
Thomas decided it was imperative that she complete the research. Continue reading →