In September 2009, former One Day at a Time
star Mackenzie Phillips
stunned the nation with a shocking family secret. Mackenzie says she was in a consensual sexual relationship with her father, John Phillips, the founder of the Mamas & the Papas, for 10 years.
Since Mackenzie's confession, the crime of incest has emerged from the shadows and become a national conversation. Now, survivors like Rena are finding the strength to speak out without shame. "I was lying down on the couch because I had a headache, and I turned your show on and Mackenzie said, 'I had a consensual sexual relationship with my father,'" Rena says. "I was jumping up and down and screaming and started crying horrendously: 'Oh my God. That's my story. She's telling my story. I'm not the only one.'"Watch how Mackenzie's story has affected others
Rena says her brother treated her like a mistress for nearly 20 years. "He was 11 years older than me," she says. "My mother was a widow at the time from my stepfather, and she worked full time. She thought that he was our protector. He was sort of a father figure."
The abuse began at age 4, when Rena says he manipulated her into performing oral sex. "I remember looking up at him standing at the edge of the bed, looking up at him and looking in his eyes, [asking]: 'Why are you doing this? What is it you're doing?'" she says. "But I felt like it must be okay. It's my brother. He loves me. So it happened."