Our Approach, Definitions and Guidelines
|We define incest very broadly as a sexual encounter by a family member, or by an extended family member, that damaged the child. By "extended family" member we mean a person that you and/or your family have known over a period of time. This may be any family member, a family friend, clergy, another child, or anyone who betrayed the child's innocence and trust. We believe we were affected by the abuse whether it occurred once or many times since the damage was incurred immediately. By "abuse" we mean any sexual behavior or contact with the child. Sexual contacts may include a variety of verbal and/or physical behaviors; penetration is not necessary for the experience to be defined as incest or sexual abuse.
The SIA membership has decided and current laws have made it necessary to clarify that current perpetrators of child sexual abuse are not allowed in any SIA meeting. We have traditionally defined a perpetrator as, "a family member or trusted individual who violates that position by seducing or otherwise manipulating a child with overt or covert sexual behavior."
SIA is the place to work on survivor issues. There are other programs and avenues available for help with perpetration issues. (Note: as children, some survivors were forced, either physically or emotionally, to abuse other children. Because they were forced, the SIA membership does not consider them to be perpetrators. The adults who staged the abuse were 100% responsible.)
Whenever possible, SIA policy is determined by surveys sent to all registered SIA groups.