Enduring mothers, enduring knowledge: On rape and history

Judith L. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Different terms are used to describe the intergenerational transmission of trauma. Faimberg (1988) speaks of the telescoping of generations to explain an unconscious identification process occurring across generations, thereby thickening a history that—at least in part—does not belong to the patient’s generation. Kestenberg (1990), writing about the second and third generation from the Holocaust, speaks of transposition to describe the situation in which there is reliving, without conscious awareness, of the experience of another generation as though it were one’s very own experience. What is clear is that when there is silence and absence, the past repeats in the present, and the victim—as well as future generations—are burdened. Grief and intolerable pain cannot be hidden, not from the victim, nor from the generations that follow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-311
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Psychoanalysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Sexual abuse
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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