June 29, 2017

Incest exists among us

On a steamy web site often called the “YouTube of porn,” visitors can watch any of 44,963 videos showing graphic sexual activities claimed to be performed by fathers with daughters, brothers with sisters, mothers with sons and other intimate family members.

Or they can view or download any of 187,690 photos of explicit sex showing the same theme.

The site brags that the incest group has 5.14 million visitors and its slogan is: “Go ahead.  This isn’t looking!”

“Intimacy between step-relations is very taboo in contemporary U.S. culture, and yet many people live in step-blended families,” says Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, author is “Encore: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment.”

We see sexual abuse cases involving relatives in Floyd County:  Examples include a grandfather molesting his granddaugter when she was a child, sexual contact between brother and sister and a prolonged affair between father and daughter.

“The problem, your honor, is that I love my granddaughter,” said the grandfather to the court.  “I guess I just loved her too much.”

He’s one of 31 registered sexual offenders living in Floyd County and listed in the Virginia State Police online database.

HBO’s popular series, Game of Thrones, featured physical love between twins.  MTV’s Happy Lands, featured a brother/sister incest plot.

“Incest if hot, and we’re going to have fun,” said Happy Lands star Bianca Santos.

Hannah Louise Cartwright, author of Healing Sibling Sexual Abuse: A Very Personal Story, disagrees with any thoughts that incest is fun.

Those TV shows, which depict incest themes are made for entertainment value only to be provocative and clearly written by those who have not experienced incest. It’s nonsense. Yes, we all have a biological imperative to procreate and connect with someone. Of course it is possible to fall in love with your relations, it happens with first cousins and step-siblings all the time. But, as a psychotherapist, I have never seen it among blood related siblings, we simply don’t have the right cultural context for it to occur.

Cartwright knows about the terror of incest.  She was a victim of abuse by her brother.

Most of my abuse began when I was about five or six. My brother was six years older than I was. The most significant abuse occurred when I was about eight and continued until I was about 12. The abuse, like most abuse, began with gentle touching and expanded to much more forceful touching and digital penetration and was not a full rape. The first time I told my mother I was 15 years old. She responded in the best way she could. She believed me, comforted me, but then that was the end of it and that’s a common problem. It wasn’t until years later when I got into intensive therapy that I was able to confront my parents on a deeper level.

Shame within a family can lead to continued abuse and explains why many cases of incest are unreported. Cartwright explains:

It’s about a whole family dynamic that plays into it and is increasingly difficult for parents to respond to. For example, if I’m a mom and I find out my little boy has been molested by a child next door, I can automatically make a decision about what is right to do for my son i.e. call the police. But if my 10-year-old son molests my five-year-old daughter, how am I going to protect my five-year-old and at the same time make sure my 10-year-old is okay? Parents are often forced to make a ‘selfish choice’ between the children that can often tear families apart.

A sexual molestation case involving an adult woman and a 15-year-old boy played out in Floyd County Circuit Court this week.  It did not involve incest but was abuse of the child of the woman’s fiance. Others cases are coming and, yes, some involve incest.

Incest is not just popular pornography.  It is a problem that exists among us.

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