Sept. 25, 2009— -- Former child star Mackenzie Phillips' candid confession about her purported decade-long sexual relationship with her singer-father, John Phillips, has forced the uncomfortable issue of incest into the public limelight.
Since Phillips' public admission this week, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) has reported a 26 percent jump in its hotline calls and an 83 percent increase in traffic on its Web site.
It is not unusual for such a public confession to spur others to seek help, said Ajia Meux, a supervisor at RAINN, which is based in Washington, D.C.
"You know, whenever a person hears another person's story about being assaulted, that gives them the courage to come forward," Meux said. "So I imagine that hearing a celebrity disclose their abuse, that gives so many other people the courage to do it."
People are looking for support and guidance, said Meux, who has answered some of these calls.
"Anything from, 'This is the first time I've told someone' to 'I'm looking for help, resources, available counseling services, how to confront the family, how to confront the abuser,'" Meux said.
During an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's TV show this week, Phillips, 49, said more attention needs to be drawn to this issue.
"I know that I can't be the only one this has happened to," she told Winfrey. "Nobody's talking about this, and someone needs to put a face on not only nonconsensual incest but consensual incest."
The former star of the '70s sitcom "One Day at a Time" said that she was first raped by her father, the late lead singer of the the Mamas and the Papas, in a hotel room when she was 18 while passed out after a drug binge.