and phantasies of being seduced are of particular interest, because so often they are not phantasies but real memories.” (22) Furthermore, he considered the incestuous memories of such patients as Katharina, Rosalia H., Elisabeth von R.
Ever since the Greek historians first wrote about the customs of other nations, scholars have compared the habits of different cultures, hoping to discover meaningful regularities in human behavior.
Yet the only universal trait that Contemporary social scientists and historians agree has been found in every known culture is the prohibition of incest.
As one standard text puts it, “The taboo on incest within the immediate family is one of the few known cultural universals.”(1) Kroeber stated, “If ten anthropologists were asked to designate one universal institution, nine would likely name the incest prohibition; some have expressly named it as the only universal one.”(2) That “no known tribe has ever permitted incest”(3) has been a truism for cross-cultural studies ever since Durkheim and Westermarck’s early books on the subject.(4) Furthermore, the same authors go on to state that the universal prohibitions on incest are virtually always effective, so that incest itself is rarely found in any society.
Even when societies are found that approve of incest, they only “serve rather to emphasize than to disprove the universality of intra-family incest taboos,” according to George Murdock.(5) Incestuous societies simply cannot exist, since, according to Talcott Parscins, the effective prohibition of incest is “linked with the functioning of every society.”(6) The abolition of incest was accomplished at the beginning of human culture, Leslie White says, since without it “social evolution could have gone no further on the human level than among the anthropoids.”(7) As Levi-Strauss concluded, “the prohibition of incest can be found at the dawn of culture…
(24) Therefore, regardless of all that has been written about the subject, an unbiased reading of Freud’s works shows that whenever he confronted clear evidence of sexual molestation, he called it seduction, not fantasy.
There was no “great reversal,” no “suppression of seduction,” no “betrayal of the child,” no “assault on truth.” Freud’s courage in acknowledging the extent of childhood sexual molestation was not shared by the majority of his colleagues. Others, who noted that large numbers of their patients had clear memories of incestuous rape, blamed the victim, saying, like Abraham, that the molestation “was desired by the child unconsciously [because of an] abnormal psycho-sexual constitution…” (25) Analysts since Freud have routinely reported memories of seduction as unconscious wishes, while analysts of children regularly neglected to ask their patients whether their reports were real or not.(26) Psychoanalytic in-stitutes have often taught that all memories of incest were wishes. early years in psychiatry, as most of us were, to look very skeptically upon the incestuous sexual material described by my patients..
In 1905 he wrote, “I can-not admit that in my paper on ‘The Aetiology of Hysteria’ I exaggerated the frequency or importance of..
the effects of seduction, which treats a child as a sexual object prematurely…” (21) Later, he repeatedly wrote such statements as that “the sexual abuse of children is found with uncanny frequency among school teachers and child attendants..
Any inclination on my part, or that of my colleagues in the training situation, to look upon these productions of the patient as having some reality basis was scoffed at and was seen as evidence of our naivete…
“(27) Even when analysts were presented with evidence of childhood sexual and physical abuse so overwhelming they could not disbelieve it, they usually paid little attention to it in their case histories.
Incest is a popular topic in English erotic fiction; there are entire collections and websites devoted solely to incest, and there exists an entire genre of pornographic pulp fiction known as "incest novels".