When mothers abuse

I wrote previously about mothers who sexually abuse their children. It remains a taboo subject that few want to talk about. However, one student decided to take a chance. Canberra PhD student Lucetta Thomas began researching the topic after someone she knew revealed his experiences to her. Thomas wants to determine the “psychotherapeutic needs of men and boys who have been sexually abused by their biological mother.” However, this has not proven easy. Research on this particular type of abuse remains obscure, especially in Australia:

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2005 Personal Safety Survey estimated about 4,800 Australian males had been sexually abused by their mother or step-mother before the age of 15.

But the figures were qualified as “too unreliable for general use”, as an estimate with a relative standard error greater than 50 per cent.

Ms Thomas said reliable data on the number of Australian victims was difficult to collect, as the abuse was incredibly difficult to talk about for most victims.

“Prevalence studies on sexual abuse are problematic… It’s very dependent on the questions you ask, where you go to actually recruit your participants, but also how you actually define what you’re actually trying to get some information on,” she said.

People tend to miss that point, however, it proves true. Continue reading