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Part II: love and attraction between child abuser and victim?

In our previous post, we discussed a controversial book, "Tiger, Tiger," by Margaux Fragoso, in which she discusses a 15-year-long case of sexual abuse and attraction she experienced as a child and young adult.

Fragoso writes that she learned years after the relationship ended that she hadn't been the only young object of the man's desires: he had also molested his sons and foster children.

ABC News reports that over 90 percent of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attackers; about one-third of the offenders are members of the victim's family.

The New York Times had Kathryn Harrison review "Tiger, Tiger"; Harrison had experienced a consensual, four-year-long sexual relationship with her father.

She wrote that Fragoso's book is both "appalling" and "beautifully written."

Harrison's own controversial memoir, "The Kiss," dealt with the relationship that began with her minister father when she was 20 years old.

She was sharply criticized for writing that incest could include attraction and love.

Harrison, 49, gently rebuked her critics: "our sexual taboos are so strong that we shy away from acknowledging evidence of them being broken."

She said people will notice relationships between relatives but engage in "reflexive denial of what they see with their own eyes."

Harrison said more people need to be able to be open about the existence of the breaking of the taboo of sex between adults and children, and parents and their offspring.

She described her father much like the offender in Fragoso's book: a "masterful manipulator."

One child victimization expert told ABC that "judges and prosecutors have to know the victims are not necessarily pleased that the guys are convicted and sent off to prison for a long time. Therapists need to know that their survivor clients don't necessarily feel a lot of anger on top."

Not everything is as crystal-clear as people would like it to be; too many people confuse the acknowledgement that these relationships can be complex and contradictory with an endorsement of sexual abuse, incest or molestation.

Resource: ABC News: "'Tiger, Tiger' Author Shocks With Memoir of Affair With Pedophile": March 9, 2011

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