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Consensual? Really, Mackenzie?

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Dr. Michelle Golland: I have worked with many women who have been abused sexually by family members: brothers, fathers, and uncles. For some of them, the abuse started when they were little, for some when they were older. For many of them, the abuse went on for years, and for some, well into their twenties. Sexual abuse by a person who inherently has emotional power over you is simply that: abuse. There is an emotional power differential inherent in the father-daughter relationship at any age. Drugs and alcohol can help create a dangerous environment where boundaries of all types can be crossed.

mackenzie phillips consensual sex with father john phillips

I was saddened and disturbed when I read the way Mackenzie Phillips framed the original sexual abuse by her father, and then went on to call future sexual contact "consensual." She reports having woken up from a drug blackout to find her father, John Phillips, having sex with her. He was raping her in her sleep, and she still hasn't defined the act for what it was: rape. Mackenzie then calls the future sexual encounters with her father consensual. Consensual with a "dad" that shot heroin into his young daughter's veins, and with her in a drugged and drunk state, took advantage of her sexually.

She never emotionally had a chance to consent to any of this obviously abusive behavior on her father's part. She appears to still be protecting him in the way she talks about the sexual acts. This is classic victim behavior; in some way, she needed to make what he did to her OK by now couching it in terms of consensual sex. It seems she is also unsure if there had been sexual contact before even that time.

It is clear that Mackenzie Phillips has been struggling for much of her life with drug addiction and celebrity. Most of this was brought into her life by the lack of early intervention by her parents, and the active drugging behavior from her father beginning at a very young age. The Phillips' home was a quagmire of dysfunction just ripe for abuse to occur.

With these revelations, it seems even clearer that Mackenzie had a dark, shameful secret that she was trying to withhold for a very long time. Often, drug and alcohol abuse is used to numb one's feelings, to stop experiencing the pain and shame of one's life circumstances.

Mackenzie Phillips' father, John Phillips, was a narcissist who was only interested in gratifying his own needs, even at the expense of getting his daughter addicted to drugs and having sex with her. What has me concerned now is the still numbed experience Mackenzie appears to be having in regards to this inappropriate and abusive behavior by her father.

next: Single Mom Visits 'Cougar Town'
30 comments so far | Post a comment now
Saddened September 24, 2009, 9:14 AM

I just don’t see how she went off and got married, had a son and still kept sleeping with her dad. Where does the word abuse end and consensual, ilicit affair begin? Heck yes her dad raped her and is an evil man but why is the pregnancy she aborted the time she decided to stop sleeping with him? Why did she wait for the pregnancy to stop it? Why not much earlier? Why not her marriage or birth of her son stop her earlier? Something isn’t right and I don’t think she is your typical victim at all. The beginning while drugged up yes? 10 years later and I just don’t know what to think anymore. This is a unique case to me. She had places to run for help like her husband. And the nonchalant way she commented on what Mick Jagger said was gross. I feel really bad for her and hope she is seeing a therapist. She is a victim in a wild and crazy way. Too bad her dad isn’t still alive to answer to this.

Lee September 24, 2009, 9:27 AM

I appreciate this article because many people hearing this story will find a way to blame her. Thank You!!

ThatGuy September 24, 2009, 10:41 AM

Man… Imagine a double date with her and that girl from Different Strokes!


vetgirl September 24, 2009, 2:35 PM

Mackenzie, Your a brave woman. The truth will set you free.

Morning September 24, 2009, 4:03 PM

It is amazing how seemingly capable adults can be lulled into childlike behavior when they are in unhealthy relationships. I am saddened by the “normal” that Mackenzie had to adapt to as a child and carried with her as an adult. Hopefully, her book will give other people (young or older) the courage to speak out about their abusive relationships.

ame i. September 24, 2009, 4:57 PM

I feel bad for a comment I made on another post about her book. I said I would have kept my mouth shut & she must need the money to have put such info in her book. I doubt she reads momlogic, but I appologize for the comment. I had no right to judge. Nothing like what she writes about has ever happened to me.
We need to think about what the word “normal” means. “Normal” parents don’t introduce their children to drugs or use drugs with their children.

Dianne Lindsey McClung September 24, 2009, 5:09 PM

I don’t know how I feel about Ms Phillips talking and writing about what her father did to her - except that, who am I to decide, or how does anyone decide, whether there is a ‘right’ thing to do in this incredibly wrong situation? I watched the Oprah interview and, seeing Mackinzie’s face, the pain in her eyes, I believed her. I don’t know how she can have any peace in this life but I pray that she will, somehow. It’s easy enough to look at her as just another Hollywood crazy, but she is a human being and one who has been hurt beyond what most of us will ever endure. I think she needs care and prayers, not judgment. I feel sorry for her family. No matter what they each believe, or know, this is a horrible thing to deal with.

Anonymous September 24, 2009, 6:22 PM

she just wants to sell a book.

jo September 25, 2009, 1:43 PM


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