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“So, What IS Mother-Daughter Sexual Abuse?”

by Brittany Ann on January 30, 2011

“My mother, when I was weeping,

gave me colors I’ve described

She said, “You are mine,” many times.

In these bruised moments I’ve tears, born in fear

returned to your hands

by disbelief in what they cannot see.”

© Butterfly Closures, 2011


The incidence of mother-daughter sexual abuse is unknown. Sadly, the crime of MDSA is largely unreported and intervention for the child is often low to null. This is due to lack of awareness, even a lack of comprehension. Awareness must be raised. In determination to protect our daughters, nieces, and grandchildren to name a few, we must understand that female perpetrators do exist.

A mother is typically nurturing, with motherly instincts and a confident demeanor in raising her child. But as you read this, many daughters are being abused by nature’s primary caregiver: their mother. That mother may feel untouchable, considering the lack of society’s awareness. As with a male perpetrator, mothers also abuse for control or out of perversion.

What exactly is mother-daughter sexual abuse?

MDSA can include the following:

  • Verbal harassment, concerning the daughter’s sexual development or sexuality
  • Covert incest (emotional incest): a relationship with the child that is sexualized, the child expect to fulfill an adult emotional role. This is similar to a relationship between adult sexual partners, but without physical contact.
  • Being watched while bathing or dressing, or being forced to watch her mother bathe, dress, and/or masturbate
  • Being forced to watch and/or engage in sexual acts between the mother and her partner or spouse
  • Being touched or fondled, or being forced to touch or fondle her mother
  • Giving or receiving oral sex
  • Digital penetration or insertion of objects into the vagina or anus, to include unnecessary hygiene items under the guise of “medical care”

These forms of abuse are perpetrated by mothers. They are all damaging; the impact on her daughter no lesser than the impact of abuse by a male.

Your invalidated feelings, your confusion at femininity, your difficulty in feeling whole and independent without a mother- you are a survivor, with a home amongst us. I am so sorry for your pain. If you, too, have been abused by your mother, you are not alone and there are resources.

Blogs covering MDSA topics:
Blooming Lotus
Blueorchid8’s Blog
Female Sex Offenders: Survivors Safehouse
Kate1975’s Blog
Rose Roars

Informative Resources:
Kate1975’s Blog (Thorough MDSA links)
Making Daughters Safe Again
Pandora’s Aquarium (forum with support sub-threads)
“Who Will Love Me?” Four Stories of Mother-Daughter Sexual Abuse (video)

In addition to those resources, I will be throughly covering the abuse, the emotions, and the aftermath of MDSA here at Butterfly Closures.

  
26 Comments
  1. It takes a lot of courage. Great job. Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  2. Thank you for being so brave and creating this site. I wish that there was a way that we could make people more aware of this type of abuse. My heart aches for the little girls who are going through this and have no one to turn to.

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/STOP-Mothers-Who-Sexually-Abuse-Daughters/208393325866044

    • Hey Hope,

      Thank you for such kind words. I sometimes wonder what impact my site could have, but when I see comments like yours, I know that it is absolutely worth it. Thank you for giving your time to comment, and the Facebook page is brilliant. Awareness needs to be raised indeed, and if you are the owner of the FB page, thank you for getting the word out.

      Take good care and healing thoughts,
      Brittany

  3. Heather permalink

    Thank you. Just thank you.

  4. Heather permalink

    thank you so much for making this site. I thought I was the only girl in this situation. I was disgusted by myself and have had a problem with sexual addiction and alcohol addiction. Im not the only woman this has happened to. I wish you and everyone who has went through this the best….It truly is one of the most evil things a mother can do to her child.

    • Hey Heather,

      You are definitely not alone. I have discovered that there are many survivors of MDSA who are speaking out by being amongst them in blogging or a fellow survivor on support sites. I know that feeling though, and it’s what led me to writing at Butterfly Closures essentially.

      Sexual problems and substance addiction is unfortunately something that many of your fellow survivors have gone through/are working on. It’s a huge step for you to research and reach out instead of closing it off. I wish for some healing and peace for you.

      Mothers can indeed do unspeakable evil, like any other abuser. I wish that the abuser didn’t have to be our own mothers.

      Take good care and healing thoughts,
      Brittany

  5. Michelle permalink

    thank you. i can’t take back what happened to me, but i can sure as hell prevent her from doing it to my children and my precious daughter.

    • Michelle,

      You are absolutely right. I am fighting that same battle, many of us are. It’s sad that we have to protect our children from a parent, but so be it. Be proud of you for being a mother that protects!

      Take good care,
      Brittany

  6. Sally permalink

    I thought I was alone. I thought I was the only one in the world that had ever been through this. I now have hope that I will be believed and that I can move on.
    Thank you.
    Sending all my love to all the other women who have experienced this deep pain.

    • Hey Sally,

      I’m sorry that you also know about this abuse and its emotional damage. I’m glad that you spoke out to say that you are a survivor.

      Thank you for your kind words and healing thoughts to you,
      Brittany

  7. Anna permalink

    I grew up with 4 older brothers and no sisters. My mother possessed me as her ally in a male dominated family. She also sexually abused me when I was a young child for a few years. She died when I was 16.
    It is all so confusing. I loved her. I felt responsible for her. I knew there was something creepy about her. When she died, I felt devastated and totally relieved at the same time.
    She also knew that my brother was sexually abusing me (for years) and did nothing about it.
    Now I am left to cure myself of all the damage. Just starting to get angry. It is about time.
    Thanks for your site. I am sure there are lots of us out there – it helps the healing just to know that I am not crazy and not alone.

    • Hey Anna,

      You are certainly not alone and not crazy. I think there are a lot of us indeed. It was so very helpful to find support from other MDSA survivors, and I only want to add to that chain of support with my site. I’m sorry for the pain that you’ve been through, but I am glad that you are finding resources.

      I can relate to those confusing feelings toward your mother- feeling devastated yet relieved. I’m very sorry that your brother hurt you as well and that she did nothing. Gosh, you deserved so very much more.

      Here’s to all of us fighting as adults when our origins taught us nothing good.

      • Anna permalink

        Thank you, Brittany. It is good to know that I am not alone with this.

        When you said, “Gosh, you deserved so very much more”, I cried and I keep on crying. I have to try and believe that. Thanks again.

  8. Forever Forgotten permalink

    Thank you so much for this site. I just recently found out that my mother had been sexually abusing my sister when we were younger. I am suffering through so much anger and guilt that I couldn’t save her. I am also angry that my sister still maintains a relationship with her…but I am curious, is there a name for this? I thought there was a disorder where the victim still protects the perpetrator. She is in denial that this is a “big deal” and is worried that I won’t leave my children with my mother in the future…(you’re damn right I wont!)
    Thanks again for this site, it’s helpful to know that we are not alone.

    • Hello friend,

      I’m glad that you have been able to find some MDSA resources. I know they can be scarce. I’m so sorry to hear that your sister was abused by someone who was supposed to be such a nurturer in her life. Being a secondary survivor can be tough, so do take good care of yourself. Along with being a survivor, I am a secondary survivor to my sister as well (who was abused by a different person).

      I struggle with feeling like I couldn’t protect my sister after all, which was especially painful since I felt like I raised her (given my neglectful and abusive parents).

      As far as not leaving your children with your mother, I couldn’t agree more. Please don’t leave those innocent and impressionable kiddos with who your sister says abused her. I know this is especially difficult to deal with as family feels “betrayed,” but honestly, what else are we supposed to do? It is too much to assume that your mother will not abuse again.

      I believe that what you are referring to as a syndrome is Stockholm Syndrome, where the victim has empathy and positive feelings toward their abusers and may go to the point of defending them. Stockholm Syndrome is generally related to victims of abuse who were kept in captivation, but when further researched, it is further defined as “traumatic bonding- strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently abuses the other,” not necessarily requiring a hostage scenario. I will go on to say that I feel that I have such a problem when it comes to my abusive father, and I have read about many similar accounts after childhood sexual abuse. If you were to mention to your sister that she may have Stockholm Syndrome, she might shrug it or laugh it off since it is more commonly discussed in cases of a victim being in captivity.

      As a secondary survivor to others who feel for their abusers and defend their abusers, I think that we have to give them room to feel these things. We have to protect ourselves and our own, but the truth is that a survivor won’t come to terms with the fact until they (if ever) feel compelled to. I didn’t acknowledge my MDSA until I was around 23, which was many years past the time of acknowledging that my father had abused me. MDSA is just not commonly talked about or even believed sometimes, so we are able to avoid confronting it more easily.

      Stay strong during this difficult time. Perhaps with the room to feel what your sister feels, yet with your actions of protecting your children, your sister may come to think more about what has happened.

      Healing thoughts and do feel welcome to e-mail,
      Brittany

  9. T.A.B. permalink

    I am 45 years old, female, and am struggling with whether my mother also abused me sexually. She abused me NONSTOP physically, verbally and emotionally, and I don’t mean to get all grotesque here, but literally from infancy to this day, she positively WILL NOT stop with her sexual comments, “jokes”, gynecological talks/comments/observations, menstruation comments, observations (always giving me the worst time over using pads instead of tampons which was positively none of her business) i.e. no boundaries were ever allowed. CONSTANT scrutiny and commentary as I developed, demanding to know anything sexual when I finally became sexually active; again, no boundaries were allowed and only caused more horrendous and painful physical violence and nonstop screaming. EVERYTHING was scrutinized, questioned, subsequently ridiculed; I always felt she was some sort of a perverted voyeur; she and my older brother snickered, laughed, egged me on, taunted and tormented me into discussing my private bodily functions and Mom beat me to a pulp when I refused to comply.

    IS THIS SEXUAL ABUSE on top of what I was already withstanding in terms of physical, verbal and mental abuse? I don’t find too much on this topic but no matter how many MILLIONS of times I asked her to stop asking me about these things and demanding to know specifics about my monthly cycles, making NONSTOP gynecological comments and lectures, making absolutely NONSTOP sexual commentary, whether outright and/or in terms of innuendos. It has bothered me to be her bug on a microscope slide my entire life and every time I tried to assert myself against her terror and tyranny, I was beaten, slammed to the floor, hurled against walls, my chest was smashed (because she is flat as a board, she was outraged when I developed to a 36DD by age twelve and has FOREVER made “nursing mother” and “udders” comments to me over how I look), my hair was pulled, my jaw was crushed, my hands were crushed; I endured this awful combination of abuse every day and night of my life, had witnesses and nobody intervened. But all that gynecological/menstrual/sexual ENDLESS questioning, badgering and commentary is too brutal to put into words. I’d appreciate your input. Thanks for this lovely website.

    • Hello to you, friend,

      I’m glad that you’ve found that you are not alone, but I am very sorry that you’ve had to go through so much pain at the hands of your mother. This includes the physical, emotional, verbal, and yes, sexual abuse (see above list of what constitutes MDSA). That is a list by general rule and not by my own opinion. I think that it explains it well, and by reading your story, I do feel that MDSA is something you’ve experienced.

      The most important thing though is how you feel. If you are looking to free yourself/ have a name for all that has happened, MDSA is understandable. When I found that there was a word I could put to all that I have gone through with my mother, I felt sad but I felt liberated. You deserve liberation. You have been through enough. I hope that if you are not already considering healing options (like therapy or online support communities) that your world will be open to such from here on out. The complete pain of a mother being a betrayer and an abuser in a daughter’s life will always sit with us in some way, but none of us need feel alone.

      Please feel welcome to browse my site and email me with any thoughts, comments, etc. I also recommend a support community called Pandora’s Aquarium (which has a banner link on the right hand side of this site). “Pandys” as we call it is a great, thorough community when it comes to each aspect of abuse. There is support for any aspect of abuse and there is much support for MDSA survivors. To note- in my opinion, there seems to have been an increase of late of fellow MDSA survivors. We are certainly holding our own and welcome you to the community if ever you are interested in further validation and support.

      Healing thoughts to you,
      Brittany

    • kaz permalink

      Hello

      Without the extreme physical violence but not without physical altercations, my childhood upbringing sounds very similar to yours. With extreme lack of boundaries, particularly surrounding sexual context, I have always been uncomfortable and awkward around my Mum.
      Also, throughout my whole life she has relied heavily on me emotionally within her personal life (she is gay) and her mental health problems.
      I am now sat at 4 in the morning having woke from a horrible dream whereby my Mum was abusing me penetratively and asking if it was okay.
      Could it be that I was sexually abused?

      • Rose permalink

        Hello there, my memories of my moms sexual abuse were extreemly repressed for years.. I am 34 now. My memory of being raped by a teenage boy next door came to me at 21 just after losing my verginity. Just before that I went through a few years believing I was gay. I had a terrible dream during that time. I was about 19. Dream was this. I was pleasuring a girl my age digitly trying so hard to being completely annoyed too… suddenly the girl turned into my mom, I continued pleasuring her with a wave of purpose” coming over me.. Than my mom orgasimed and I than felt the sense of relief in the dream along with her! When I woke up I was discusted and so extreemly disturbed! My mom was not a violant person but is angry. When I was pragnant I read a smallbook on incest and the mother daughter chapter rang true… But I could not discribe or understand at the time really WHY? So again I let it go. I always felt my mother to be flirtatious with me. Overbearing. Gossipy. Her always feeling entitled to crossing my boundries. Ive had awful relationships with woman. Never feel like I should initiate good things for myself. Meek and shy disposition. I really like being assertive it is different, am working on it and does feel good. At 30 a memory of my mom masterbating with me in her bed came to me. It is just the one image. But it is enough. I know. I slept in her room since I’ll never know up to about 7/8 yrs old… I know she stopped masterbating with me at an age she thought I would not be able to remember. Her emotional attachment with me is way off with what an apropriate mother should be. Go with your instincts they are never ever wrong. This type of abuse is most confusing! I plan to confront my mom on this now. I am no longer going to be quite about this.

  10. Theresa R permalink

    I am glad I found this site! I am so worried about my grand daughter right now… I believe that my daughter has sexually molested my grand daughter in her sleep. I lived far away from them since my granddaughter was born but because of things that happened during my daughters adolescence I have worried and even talked to my daughter about getting help for her own sexual abuse suffered as a child. When I did get a chance to see my granddaughter I noticed when she was a toddler that she was constantly touching herself when I would change her diaper.. again I tried talking to my daughter and she would always become very angry and deny .. I would always end up feeling guilty for considering it. A few months ago they had to come live with me.. and a few weeks ago my granddaughter told me that when they were still living in Texas she dreamed “That I had sex with my mom.. I KNOW, that’s gross.. I mean SHE is my mom!” My granddaughter is 8. I confronted my daughter who became VIOLENTLY angry and denied VERY LOUDLY that she would EVER do that to her daughter.. Very long and sad/confusing story later.. they are now homeless and I have a protective order against my daughter. Events that took place after this confrontation were so bizarre and confusing that it took me awhile to recognize that things went REALLY crazy after I confronted her. I have reported to child protective services and they are trying to find them now.. I am waiting and hoping that the damage that might have been done to my granddaughter can be neutralized!

    • (((Theresa)))

      I can only imagine what you must be/must have gone through in suspecting abuse of your granddaughter. The things that you’ve written could definitely be a child abused by her mother. Though I couldn’t say (and some children do act out sexually without having been abused), I commend you for reporting your suspicions to child protective services.

      Even though it has been a while since you’ve written this, if you do visit Butterfly Closures again, just know that my thoughts are with you and I hope there has been a resolution and healing if necessary.

      Take good care of you, too,
      Brittany

  11. Kandise permalink

    Thank you for putting this site up, I have been searching for quite awhile for any information on mother daughter incest.

    As a caretaker of a six year old girl, it is clear she has been sexually molested and by her mom. At first I didn’t catch on to the child’s behaviors as a result of molestation, but I knew it wasn’t normal having three sisters, cousins and nieces.

    Her mom often talks about her own molestation when she was a child and I suppose that made me believe she would never subject her daughter to the same trauma. Unfortunately as time went by it was clear she had personality disorders with psychotic traits.

    The child is very emotionally immature for her age, wasn’t toilet trained until she was 5 yrs old so is a bed wetter. This I attributed to negligence. Then as she spent weeks at a time with me, she began call out come and get, or a few other phrases and be waiting for me,
    naked and in sexual postures beyond the scope of any 6yr old. She told me that she took showers with her mom and showed me where she touched her. When I would go to pick her up, she would be in the living room masturbating in a chair watching tv while her mother was playing games online.

    I tried to speak to her mother about it, not accusing her but gently insisting that the child needed therapy, and was met with hostility.

    She then began making sexual advances toward her baby sister and I knew I had to do something so I gave a statement to a court mandated reporter.

    The mother was furious, she got a copy of my statement, cut, pasted and copied it onto a letter in a mass email, declaring that I was a monster and look what I did to her daughter, accusing her of deviant behavior…. can anyone here see how that in itself a violation of the child ? I hope so, because not many other do.

    I was interviewed last Friday afternoon by social services, it was the last day of the investigation and it was fairly brief. I’m hoping that I was composed enough, quite a task as this has been very emotional.
    At this point I don’t know what to expect, they live across the street from me but I haven’t seen the children around at all.

    It was a great relief to find this has been addressed. It is an enormous taboo around here to even discuss this so I have been searching for any information available. Once again, thank you for making this site.

    Kandise

    • Hey Kandise,

      It sounds like you’ve been in a very delicate, difficult, and indeed taboo situation concerning this 6 year old girl. It sounds like you have stayed strong and stayed the course until your concerns were heard.

      I can only hope that social services was able to provide intervention or services especially to help this innocent little girl and her baby sister.

      Thank you for raising awareness to Mother-Daughter abuse within your own inner circle and community. If I can be of any further support please let me know. I couldn’t run this site without supporters like you!

      Take good care,
      Brittany

  12. Elosine permalink

    Τhere can also be a mother-son abuse.

    Don’t overlook that just because the victims are young males.

    • Hello Elosine,

      There is absolutely Mother-Son abuse. It deserves and needs awareness just as Mother-Daughter abuse does.

      I do believe that slowly people are coming to accept that a daughter or a son can be sexually abused by a mother. I do not write specifically on the topic of Mother-Son abuse because I haven’t survived it.

      If you are a survivor of Mother-Son abuse or you know someone who is, perhaps look into blogging on the subject to raise awareness of what your personal experiences have been.

      Thank you for your thoughts,
      Brittany

  13. Rose permalink

    Thank you so much for this site giving people a voice and share with one another while it is so often shunned and seen as taboo in sociaty. Peace be with you All

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