Beyond Belief

The Reluctant Discovery of Incest
  • Roland Summit
Part of the Women in Context: Development and Stresses book series (WICO)


As recently as 1962, there was no climate of belief for the fact that children are at substantial risk of injury at the hands of their parents.While the reality of child battering has emerged as inescapable, a corollary discovery is still largely ignored: children, especially girls, are at substantial risk of sexual exploitation at the hands of their parents and trusted caretakers. As Suzanne Sgroi (1978) wrote after years of frustration as a physician trying to encourage protective intervention:

Sexual Abuse of Children is a crime that our society abhors in the abstract, but tolerates in reality those ... who try to assist sexually abused children must be prepared to battle against incredulity, hostility, innuendo, and outright harassment. Worst of all, the advocate for the sexually abused child runs the risk of being smothered by indifference and a conspiracy of silence. The pressure from one’s peer group, as well as the community, to ignore, minimize, or cover up the situation may be extreme. (p. xv)


Sexual Abuse Child Abuse Sexual Victimization Child Molestation Oedipus Complex 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roland Summit
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Harbor-UCLA Medical CenterCommunity Consultation ServiceTorranceUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California at Los Angeles School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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