There are people who believe that incest isn't all that bad, especially when it's between two consenting adults who aren't having children. Some people are able to justify their actions with the thinking that no one is hurt by incest if we control procreation.
"The law has something to say about that," says listverse.com, which cited the 2010 case of Columbia University professor David Epstein and his 24-year-old daughter.
In 2010, 46-year-old Prof Esptein "was charged with one count of third-degree incest after being accused of having consensual sex with his daughter. The daughter faced no charges because, in the eyes of the law, children are considered a 'protected class,' even when they're above the age of consent.
"The theory is that the power dynamic between a parent and a child makes consent impossible to negotiate. Even when incest occurs between siblings, the elder of the two is usually held to a higher degree of accountability (listverse.com /2014/05/22/10-incendiary-facts-about-incest).
I have not as yet encountered anyone who thinks incest is a good thing or, at least, that it's not a bad thing. Or, if I have met one of them (and I may have unknowingly–that's the insidiousness of the crime) they have not as yet confronted me with that idea. I am instead, encouraged by those who took time out to write me on the subject. The number of responders are lower, not surprisingly, because I assume most people wish we could get over this subject area quickly. But when the clergy/pastors contribute, I'm heartened.
The truth is there is no "getting over" incest or getting past talking about it. Not when every day adults violate the trust of their charges, while other adults and siblings stand by with complicity. Not when our social structure is falling apart and our most visible intervention would be helicopters hovering as a "measure" to bring calm to offending East secondary students, while the education ministry flounders on suitable mediation.
If we were to get the information, we may well find amid the reasons that our children are acting out is incestuous trauma and early life and/or continuing molestation, among our boys and girls. But I get a feeling we're afraid to find the causes and meet our charges with crucial interventions before relegating them and their stumbling parents, who themselves have never had an intervention, to Monsters Inc.
"Sexual abuse, especially incest, is a cringe-worthy subject in T&T... and is a violation of which little is said even though we know and suspect that people within a child's home/family account for more cases of childhood sexual trauma."
When I wrote that sentence recently, commenting on young women who bore their father's child, I was thinking of situations where the offending parent, (stepparent, uncle, grandfather, sibling) denies the crime and a child is borne.
What happens to the baby's identity? How does such a child function if the evidence of their beginnings is placed before them? What does a child do when his/her father is also his/her grandfather?
Some families are known to have used abortion as a mechanism to treat with the visibility of the dirty little secret in their homes that a pregnancy brings. But what about the additional psychological trauma your daughter or son is made to bear mummy? Daddy?
Yet, these scenarios deal only with the compounded issue of bearing a child from an incestuous relationship. For the most part, psychiatrist treat those who suffered the violation without the "visible" evidence.
The brute-beast ugliness of these scenarios may account for why incest is still lowered to the "hushed, shadowy outskirts of public and personal discussion" in a world that is able to be accepting and openly advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer among us; a world where very few issues remain "too controversial or taboo to discuss."
It must be the curdling that comes with the idea that a child is being raped by his/her own parent/relative, that his/her own flesh and blood is destroying their psyche, bluntly piercing their innocence with irreparable cruelty, that shames us into silence, a silence which continues to condemn us and disrupt the "happy" lie with varied exhibitions of violence and crime that we cannot explain or contain.
Ken Eisold, PhD, in his article, What's wrong with incest, says, "Children need to be protected from sexual exploitation by parents (adults, siblings), because it is all too easy for them to be abused. And we know all too well the life-long damaging effects on children who are exploited by those on whom they are dependent. Their capacity to trust others is impaired if not destroyed," (www.keneisold.com/2010/12/is-incest-wrong/).
"So we need laws and customs and taboos, whatever it takes, to preserve the trust that children need to have in their caregivers. That trust is not only the basis for their future relationships with others. It's the basis for the confidence they need to be responsible adults and citizens," says Eisold.