11/26/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Mackenzie Phillips Slept With Her Dad

She called it a rape and a romance. Confusing? The messages about sexuality often are. While this is an extreme case you don't have to sleep with or have been raped by your dad to feel bad about yourself, your body or your sexuality.

Mackenzie Phillips' revelation, while shocking and disturbing, is more common that most of us would like to believe. 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998.).

It's usual that "small" sexual degradations of a father toward his daughter lead to a diminished sense of self.

I was at dinner with a dear friend of mine the other night and she said to me, "Do you know how much I've held myself back because of the way I look? I don't think I deserve to be in front of people the way I am." She is a luminous person, full of compassion and brilliance. She is "heavy" and has always worn loose fitting clothes. She is a leader in her field and has held prominent positions at large and respected spiritual organizations. She is one of us.

This wearing away at self-esteem started long ago when her father would pinch her and pit her against her mother. She got fat so her mother would be the thin one. At prom time she put on a dress and her father pointed at her breasts and said to her brother, "Look at those sagging five pound sacks of flour."

This was one of many inappropriate comments that lead her to where she is today. Holding herself back from giving her full light to the world. And hers is a very bright light.

Susan Harrow is the author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. She runs a Media Consultancy where she helps everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to celebrity chefs, entrepreneurs to authors grow their business through media coaching and the power of PR. For more information please contact Susan.