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Perlman, S.D. (1993). Unlocking Incest Memories: Preoedipal Transference, Countertransference, and the Body. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 21(3):363-386.

(1993). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 21(3):363-386

Unlocking Incest Memories: Preoedipal Transference, Countertransference, and the Body

Stuart D. Perlman, Ph.D.*

What's the silent scream? When he would rape me as a child, if I would make any noise he would cut me with a knife. But inside my head I would scream with all my might.

Anger so strong you thought your body would boil over, and then freeze it and make believe it's not there — that's what Epstein-Barr feels like.

—Adult incest survivors in analysis

Studies show that sexual abuse is at epidemic proportions (Herman, 1981; Kinsey et al., 1953; National Study of the Incidence and Severity of Child Abuse and Neglect, 1981). For example, Kinsey et al. (1953), in a large-scale survey of a nonclinical population, estimated that one in four girls has been sexually abused by adolescence; Finkelhor (1979) estimated that for boys, the incidence is about 1 in 10. Clinical evidence points to sexual abuse causing many psychopathologies. For example, Goldstein (1991), who studied the viral nature of Epstein-Barr, concluded from his clinical impressions that many of these cases are the sequela of severe and early sexual abuse. More and more, eating disorders are seen as resulting, at least in part, from sexual abuse (Johnson, 1991; Sands, 1991). Most patients with multiple personality disorders are found to be sexual abuse victims, and most of these are victims of incest (Putnam, 1989).

Krimendahl and Alpert (1991) reviewed the sparse post-Freudian psychoanalytic literature on sexual abuse.

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