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Riven by LustIncest and Schism in Indian Buddhist Legend and Historiography$
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Jonathan A. Silk

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824830908

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824830908.001.0001

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Abuse and Victimhood

Abuse and Victimhood

(p.76) 8 Abuse and Victimhood
Riven by Lust

Jonathan A. Silk

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the types of experiences that the protagonist Mahādeva/Dharmaruci are depicted to have undergone. It considers issues related to sexual assault and psychological conditioning, and the applicability of modern discussions of these problems to ancient Indian society. While anecdotal evidence would support the assertion that mother–son incest is exceedingly rare, it is more common than is generally imagined. There is no reason to think that this was not also the case in ancient India. With regard to the question of violence, Indian authors fail to even suggest any connection between childhood abuse and later criminality. Perhaps their message was less subtle: this criminal, their protagonist, is simply involved in all sorts of despicable acts, including incest and murder. How he came to have such a horrible character is an issue they did not need to address, and they were entirely uninterested in approaching the question from a standpoint that might seem to us, in our Freudian world, psychologically convincing.

Keywords:   sexual abuse, mothers, sons incest, Indian Buddhism, Mahādeva, Dharmaruci

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