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Friedman, S. (1996). Reproductive Conflicts In Incest Victims: An Unnoticed Consequence Of Childhood Sexual Abuse.. Psychoanal Q., 65:383-388.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:383-388

Reproductive Conflicts In Incest Victims: An Unnoticed Consequence Of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

Stanley Friedman, Ph.D., M.D.

This report is based on the treatment of three women who were incest victims. Two of the patients were psychoanalyzed, the third is in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. As a consequence of incestuous victimization, these women had severe conflicts about reproduction. All had been sexually abused by relatives, and the abuse had included ejaculation into either their mouths or their vaginas. In each case, the victim, years later, still maintained the unconscious fantasy that the abuser's sperm were still viable within her, that any pregnancy would have these sperm as the fertilizing agent, and that the abuser would be the biological father. These patients began treatment without any conscious awareness of sexual abuse. Treatment brought the childhood abuse back into consciousness and these three patients were able to obtain external corroboration about their victimization. Calef (1972) has reported a similar finding, although his patients were influenced by an oedipal fantasy without actual incest. Here, the fantasy is that the “child is the incestuous offspring of a fantasied union between the patient and her father” (p. 76) and is then held responsible for the mother's hostility to her child.

Case Vignettes

Patient One, in psychotherapy, had a long and repressed history of sexual abuse by her grandfather, including vaginal penetration.

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