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I am trying to reach out to get support and give support to other survivors like myself. I don't have much money to assist with publicity and stuff but I'm quite willing to speak out about what happened to me, especially if it will help decrease or even stop sexual abuse or any other sexually-related crime.

I have a little sister who's now 17. We're 14 years apart. I have been estranged from my parents for over 8 years now. So I have not seen my youngest sister since she was 8. I hope she has not been abused. I tried to use the legal system to obtain Justice for me and to get my sister out of the home but my parents won because of the laws. They won with the statute of limitations with my case against them and because Laura was not being abused at the time of the court hearings in 1990-1992, they could not do anything. The Judge said he believed me but could not remove her from the home because there was no proof she was being sexually abused. Why wait until a child is abused? That's what I want changed! And I want to help change the laws by speaking out.

Also, in the area I live in there aren't too many resources available such as SIA. I can go to therapy but I've gone and it doesn't seem to help. I have gone to SIA meetings in the past when there were some but for some reason there aren't any around anymore. But if I can be of help I'd like to do something to educate the public, increase services, and change laws. Thank you.

Thanks for your note FEMINIST.COM and for being brave enough to be honest about your experience with incest so that others won't have to experience it. There are a few organizations that are working, as are you, on educating the justice system about the prevalance of child sexual abuse. I'm with you.....why do we focus all of our energy on "cures" when we already know about "prevention"? We wait for it to be "an issue" before we are given the appropriate attention to address these problems. It's similar to what happened with domestic violence. Feminists have been organizing to stop domestic violence--and to help those who experience it--since the early 1970s. Not until a "famous" case came along, did we get a "Violence Against Women Act."

As for reaching out.....I think the best thing for you to do is to contact organizations already working around the issue of incest to see what they are doing and how you can help. In California, the Family Violence Prevention Fund is working to educate judges and other officials. I believe they are now trying to do this in other states. If you live in New York, there is a newly formed group that is working on similiar issues. Let me know if you want to get in contact with them and I will get a contact number. You should also try the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.

There are also a few great books I suggest you take a look at if you haven't already--By Silence Betrayed by John Crewdson, The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, and Trauma and Recovery and Father Daughter Incest," both by Judith Herman. We have the above titles at the FEMINIST.COM Bookstore under "Violence Against Women".

As for your sister......incest is still such a taboo subject and an unfair "embarassment" to those who experience it. This is doubly impacted when you are young. Perhaps writting her a note about your experience--is the best place to start.

Thanks for writing and sharing and committing yourself to preventing this from happening to others. Good luck.


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