Q: Has her story encouraged more people to speak openly about incest?

JW: Definitely. I think this is one of those topics in our country and society that's really avoided, perhaps even more so than rape. When it comes to talking about incest openly, you really open yourself up to criticism and shame and stigma and all those things. For her to be courageous and speak about this has really lifted a lot of the stigma and shame that has prevented other victims from coming forward.

Q: In the '60s and '70s, incest rates were lower. Do you think this crime was underreported or are there more victims now?

JW: I personally believe that it was probably due to underreporting, lack of resources and just overall lack of public education about it. Unresponsive people when the victim discloses, I think, could also lead to lower reporting numbers.

Q: Can you explain the different types of incest?

JW: We believe incest to be any type of inappropriate sexual contact between blood relatives—a father-child, mother-child, brother-sister perpetrator. But we also believe it includes stepfamilies and foster families, as well.

Q: And it encompasses all sexual behavior, not just intercourse?

JW: Correct. In some cases, we've seen a perpetrator forcing a family member to watch sexually explicit material, and there's never been any type of physical contact, but that would still be considered inappropriate.


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