The emotional aftereffects of sexual abuse and incest are very powerful. These emotions are so powerful that a survivor is afraid to be aware of them. Emotions include: Anger, rage, sadness, fear, guilt, loneliness, shame, and hurt. These emotions vary in intensity and duration. The fear of these emotions prompts the survivor to maintain a flat affect to .hold the pain at bay.. Unfortunately, this flat affect keeps the survivor from experiencing life fully and from achieving intimacy in any relationship. Men generally need to learn that the expression of anger need not be associated with violence, nor the expression of sadness with weakness. Women generally need to learn to speak for themselves and to accept this assertion as a human right and not disguised aggression, as some want to label assertive behavior. Nearly every sexual abuse or incest survivor incorporates shame as part of his or her identity. If this issue is not addressed, the survivor usually continues to self-abuse or to remain vulnerable to other’s abuse and/or inappropriate authoritative behavior. Shame stems from neglectful or otherwise abusive relationships whereby the individual incorporates the belief she or he cannot be loved or accepted by anyone who truly knows him or her.

The case of Amy Fisher, the 16-year-old Long Island girl who was sexually abused by 35-year-old Joey Buttafuoco, is a classic example in which the perpetrator blames the survivor for seducing him. Buttafuoco contended she hung around his auto repair shop, acting in a way that was seductive and promiscuous, and he could not get away from her. Society further allows the perpetrator to portray himself as the misunderstood party in a society with .sexual hang-ups.