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In a letter to the editor, Stewart Epstein argues for a focus on incest victims and survivors. 

As someone who was sexually harassed in the past, I know about the inner pain that victims and survivors experience. But, as someone who spent five years as a counselor and a therapist working in the fields of alcoholism, drug addiction and mental health, I want to share my observations and research findings about another form of sexual abuse.

Our country needs to start having a conversation about the plight of incest victims and survivors. It’s my opinion that these people suffer more deeply and profoundly than victims and survivors of other forms of abuse. Their self-hatred, self-loathing and self-blame are so severe and extreme that some of them constantly smile even when it’s not appropriate to do so.

Experienced counselors and therapists will tell you that they do this as a way to hide and cover up how dirty, disgusting and miserable they feel deep within themselves. They’ll also tell you that very few of them ever have a healthy, "functional" and happy romantic relationship. Incest victims also suffer from very high rates of suicide, anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Our society needs to take the next step and try to eradicate this problem from existence.

Stewart Epstein is a resident of Rochester, New York. Contact Epstein at phenom51@mail.com.