A reader sent me some links on incest and asked for my take. There are two cases she indicated that are presently making waves, one in Ohio and the other in Germany.
In Germany, a brother & sister are married with four children (two were born with handicaps) and the law is cracking down on them. Now, they didn’t grow up together. He was an adopted child who finally decided to find his birth mother when he was 23, in year 2000. He then met his birth sister, who was then 15. The particulars of their relationship weren’t disclosed in the story I read, save to say they had the four kids after he began caring for her when their mother passed away and she became an orphan. The guy’s now been found guilty of incest and a 25-month jail term has been doled out to him.
Some are calling the laws against incest legal relics and say this is a new age needing a new perspective on the engaging of sexual relations between siblings.
Then there’s the Ohio case. In that one, a 44-year-old guy’s trying to win the right to continue the sexual relationship that has begun with his 22-year-old stepdaugher.
So, the reader wants my two cents on the whole realm of incestuous relationships.
Uh, they’re wrong?
Sure, it gets complicated when the involved parties pass the age of consent. Or does it? Does the law have the right to get involved? That’s the original sticky wicket, really. Consent is consent is consent, isn’t it? See, in the scenario where “the couple” are married, you might think, “Well, they’re over 18 and kids are involved, so…” But when did it begin?
Same with the step-father/daughter relationship. Who’s to say it didn’t begin with him sneaking into the bedroom when she was 11, whispering sweet-nothings and spending the next decade of his life trying to convince her she couldn’t live without him, as some pedophiles are so slick are doing?
Bear with me on a tangent here. In the Virginia Massacre last week, there was a lot of controversy regarding the discovery that the shooter had been off his rocker for a number of years, yet no authorities had been able to successfully commit him long-term because the right of the individual was being protected instead of the rights of the many. Meaning they followed the letter of the law instead of following the essence of the law — which is that laws exist to protect the many, not just the individual, and sometimes difficult choices must be made. If you bend the laws to commit one guy who really does seem off his rocker, you make it easier to wrongly commit someone else down the road. At what point does lowering the bar leave the masses at risk? It would seem you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
This is somewhat on the same wavelength. The trouble with giving in to a few incestuous relationships because the situations are seemingly working and consensual means that the many will be left more vulnerable in the wake of a more lenient approach to those certain individuals. This is probably why nutbags like last week’s shooter fall through the cracks, because bending the law for one case would leave the average person more vulnerable to a system that’s overexerting its reach in the claim that they’re pursuing the “greater good”. Kantism is a great theory but could lead to some very questionable legal tactics in our society.
I’m sure there must be the occasional incident where it would make sense to allow incest to occur. Maybe it’s sometimes a beautiful thing. But if bending the laws and ignoring the social morals that deem it so unforgiveable means more youths will be at risk of being sexually preyed upon by family members than are at present, then I think we need to stay the course.
I’ve known far too many women and men left fragmented by their family members who thought it their right to force them into sexual unions through simple manipulation or more overt means. They’ve then spent their lives licking their wounds and trying to figure out what they did wrong to bring that abuse upon themselves.
It’s hard enough to win those battles without having the law soften its approach just because a few people have reached an agreement to engage in incest. The scars of love run deep in all of us, and family’s hard enough without throwing more sex, mindgames, and legal conundrums into the mix.
What can I say? I’m an old-fashioned gal.
But how about YOUR two cents, eh?