Reckless Indifference: The Role of the Mother in Incest Cases (Part Three)

When a mother does not protect her child, it violates everything the child experienced in the womb. This is where the mother was the sole security for the child , and where she provided the shell of protection and comfort. The child would certainly expect the same kind of protection outside the womb.

If the mother is not willing to provide that safety, then the child questions their self-worth and their entire existence, and the child’s trust can be broken for life. The child may grow to trust no one, and in adulthood, they sometimes don’t even trust themselves.

Out of forty interview subjects, who were sexually abused by their father or stepfather, Judith Herman M.D. found that the participants were universally disappointed in the mothers who were told of the abuse while the abuse was still happening. Every participant in the study had mothers who reacted in a way that was heart-wrenching to the victim and most did not protect their daughters.

Herman found that, even if the mothers believed their daughters (which was not always the case), they did nothing to stop the sexual assaults. The Herman study found that the mothers were clear about who came first. Each of the mothers, directly or indirectly, told their daughter that she would have to be sacrificed if that became necessary. 1

When a Mother’s Indifference Causes Even Greater Suffering

One of the most heinous forms of child abuse is mother/daughter incest. The word, “unimaginable” is often used about a woman who would sexually abuse her child, especially her daughter, but it happens, and this must be acknowledged by ‘apple pie’ Americans.

Contrary to what the public wants to believe, the majority of female sexual offenders are not mentally ill. They might have depression or personality disorders, but most female sexual offenders are employed in professional jobs, look perfectly normal, go to church, and show no outward signs of sexual deviation. Their victims can be both boys and girls, but they abuse female children more often than male children.

Female sex offenders are often women being coerced by a male authority in the family, or by a boyfriend. These women are usually dependent on the man, fear losing him, and have a history of having been abused as a child. In addition, just like men who abuse the daughter of their girlfriend or wife, sometimes a mother’s lesbian lover victimizes her partner’s child.

In cases where a woman acts alone in sexually abusing a child, she was usually the victim of incestuous abuse herself, and deviant sexual fantasies are common among these women. They usually abuse their own children or other young children within their own family.

Mothers sometimes force oral sex on their daughter or force the daughter to perform oral sex on her mother. To the victim, this can be the same as being raped by a man.

Some women begin their descent into deviancy by not protecting their child from their husband or boyfriend, and then escalate into helping the abuser rape their daughter. Eventually, the mother can be be forced into, or stimulated by, the thought of joining in on the molestation.

In some cases, a mother might become arroused by the thought of sex with a child because of her own experience with having been sexually abused. Through repetition, the human mind can be trained into what is stimulating. The mother may be acting out what she was taught felt good when she was a victim. She might eventually feel that incest itself is arousing because this was her first experience with sex.

“I want to have sex with your daughter.”

Barbara Hazel represents one of the most extreme cases of a woman who will do whatever it takes in order to keep a man. Barbara married Bobby Hazel immediately after he was released from prison. Barabara said that Bobby represented someone who would take care of her and protect her.

When Barbara’s daughter Crystal was seven years old, Barbara Hazel asked her husband what he wanted for his birthday. He replied, “I want to have sex with your daughter.” Barbara agreed, and she and her husband both began sexually abusing her daughter.

At first the sexual acts took place when it was the three of them. There was touching, oral sex, kissing, and photos were taken of Barbara having sex with her daughter. Barbara even admitted to liking sex with a little girl. She said it turned her on.

Well, at least she’s honest. I’ll give her that.

Eventually Barbara began to feel disgusted about the incest, but it continued for several years and grew worse.

Crystal was ultimately left alone with her stepfather. He then raped and sodomized her.

In 1987, Barbara and Bobby Hazel were apprehended and Crystal became the main witness for the prosecution. Bobby Hazel was given forty-four years in prison and Barbara Hazel was sentenced to thirty-three years.

During a prison interview, Barbara Hazel said she was sexually abused as a child and that she probably complied with her perpetrator in order to show him that she loved him, thus gaining attention and affection from him.

Barbara explained that what she did to her daughter would be a way for her husband to know how much she loved him. She also admitted that she needed a man who would protect her. This falls in line with her experience as a victim in childhood.

However, once a previous victim of child sexual abuse victimizes a child, they, by the very fact, become a child sexual abuser and can no longer count themselves as a victim. Children are the only victims. Adults make choices.

In order to break from the past, Crystal changed her name and says of the abuse, “It tore my whole world apart, because no matter what she would ever do, I loved her, she was my mom.” 2

Part One

Part Two

Part Four


Further reading on women who sexually abuse female children: Click here


1. Father Daughter Incest Judith Lewis Herman with Lisa Hirschman Harvard University Press Cambridge Massachusetts 1981 Page 89

2. The Ultimate Betrayal MSNBC Investigates 2001

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7 Responses to Reckless Indifference: The Role of the Mother in Incest Cases (Part Three)

  1. mary says:

    i grew up knowing, feeling, and believing that the bond and love between a mother and child is the strongest purest love on earth. When I read or hear about these cases, it really breaks my heart thinking about what these children have to go through experiencing a betrayal of that bond. I have zero sympathy and respect for women who put their men before their children and nothing but contempt for the ones who knowingly join in the abuse. It wasnt their choice to be on this earth, it was the mother’s choice to have them, they do not deserve all that hate Or indifference. :/ I’m curious though what effects do CSA have on a woman’s desire for children? Even if they are not abusers themselves or marry an abuser, how does affect their ability to love their child? Many csa survivors I know say they do not want children. For ex, Oprah decided not to have children bc she was “not mothered well.” Jane Fonda reported from a young age never feeling a sense of love from her troubled mother who went through csa.

    • Alethea says:

      Mary, your situation is uncommon, not the norm. You are lucky to have had that experience with your mother.

      I have never wanted children, and I am certain there are plenty more like me, Oprah, and Jane Fonda.

      • little nel says:

        Hi Mary,

        I never wanted children either. I suffered from depression and self hatred, so I “over achieved” to prove that I was worthy of love. Children would have interfered with that agenda.

        I was very afraid of men, even though I craved the love and acceptance of a man. I got into therapy and my attitude changed as I learned that I was emotionally damaged by the abuse I experienced in childhood.

        I never married until I was 33, after years of therapy. I had to learn about motherhood and child rearing from teachers and books. It was difficult but rewarding. My husband and children are still a source of great joy and comfort for me.

        Thanks to all those smart caring people who understood my problems, my life went from misery to happiness. I could not have learned how to give and receive love without them.

        • little nel says:

          I need to add that because of what I learned, my children did not suffer childhood abuse as I had.

          To me, it’s amazing that I am the only child, of four, who did not repeat the behavior, by the grace of God.

  2. little nel says:

    Hi Tiffini,

    I’m so sorry for what happened within the family court to your family.
    This happens all too often and it makes me angry.

    Yes, the courts coddle the offenders too many times and give them “entitlement” to continue abusing within the boundry’s of the court system.

    I know of a child that was raped. The rapist was her step-father. He was convicted and jailed. She was forced to visit her rapist while he was in jail because the judge wanted her to visit him in jail. Her reluctant mother had to comply or face “contempt” charges.

    So she and her mother were victimized again by the “system.”

  3. I tried very hard to protect my children within family court and the abuser was catered to, he was made the victim and gained custody. The kids and I have had to deal with an antisocial, narcissist, abuser for too many years now.

    • little nel says:

      “Most mothers do not believe or protect their children, nor attempt to keep them safe.”

      Do you mean most mother’s of sexually abused children?

      I would agree, Serieve.

      I have heard about mothers who come home to find their daughters bleeding, crying, and distressed, post rape, but don’t call the police or get medical help for their daughters. Those women make me sick.

      You are precious, Serieve. You have my respect and admiration.

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