An Introduction to Survivors of Incest Anonymous (SIA)
We welcome you to Survivors of Incest Anonymous and hope you will find here the hope, camaraderie, and recovery that we have been privileged to experience.
We are a spiritual, self-help group of women and men, 18 years or older, who are guided by a set of 12 Suggested Steps and 12 Traditions as borrowed from AA, along with some SIA Slogans and the Serenity Prayer. The only requirement for membership is that you are a victim of child sexual abuse, and that you want to recover. There are no dues or fees.
Everything that is said here, in the group meeting or member to member, must be held in strict confidence.
We do not have any professional therapist working in our group. SIA is not a replacement for therapy or any other professional service when needed.
We define incest very broadly as a sexual encounter initiated by a family member or by an extended family member that damaged the child. By “extended family” we mean an aunt, uncle, in-law, step-parent, cousin, friend of the family, teacher, coach, another child, clergy or anyone that that betrayed the child’s trust.
We were affected by the abuse whether it occurred once or many times, since the damage is incurred immediately.
We learn in SIA not to deny, that we did not imagine the incest, nor was it our fault in any way. The abuser will go to any length to shift the responsibility to the defenseless child, often accusing the child of being seductive. We had healthy, natural needs for love, attention and acceptance, and we often paid high prices to get those needs met, but we did not seduce our abuser. Physical coercion is rarely necessary with a child since the child is already intimidated. The more gentle the assault, the more guilt the victim inappropriately feels. We also learn not to accept any responsibility for the abuse, even if they occurred over a prolonged period of time. Some of us are still being sexually assaulted.
We in SIA share our experiences, feelings, and hopes. We realize that we felt we had to protect our caretakers from this horrible secret, as if they were not participants. We felt alienated from the non-abusive family members. Often, greater anger is directed toward them since it is safer to get angry at people we perceive to be powerless. Some of us became caretakers in order to maintain an image of a nurturing family. Our feelings of betrayal by our families are immeasurable. We need to mourn the death of the ideal family that many of us created in our own imaginations.
In dealing with this pain, it feels as if we are pulling the scab off a wound that never healed properly, and it hurts. However, it is easier to cry when we have friends who are not afraid of our tears. We can be comforted – that is why we are here. Our pain is no longer in vain. We will never forget, but we can, in time, and the regretting that accompanies destructive remembering. We can learn, one day at a time, that we are incest survivors rather than incest victims.
There is, on average, a visitor to the site (www.siawso.org) every 7 minutes – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are a lot of survivors in the world.
You are not alone.
Please be gentle with the child within!
For more information, please visit: SIAWO