Why Is Incest A Crime? This Is What You Should Know
America is grappling with incest problems. Over a hundred thousand to a million cases happen annually. But unfortunately, only approximately 10 percent are reported.
Most siblings in incestuous relationships live in their parents’ house and engage in the act for years without anyone knowing. Several of them even have at least a child from their relationship.
Incest is a punishable crime in the United States of America, with the severity of punishment varying from state to state. Offenders could even spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
However, many believe incest shouldn’t be a crime, claiming it wasn’t centuries ago. So this leaves us with the question.
Why Is Incest A Crime?
There are many reasons. First, incest can destroy the relationship between siblings. It can also mess with one’s mental health, confidence, and life in general.
Another reason is the genetic abnormalities children arising from such relationships could face.
Incest offenders may also be charged with different offenses. These include statutory rape, child molestation, child abuse, or rape. It’s believed that either the male or female is stronger or more mature in such a relationship. That’s why he or she can play on the intelligence of the victim.
Incest is also considered a sin in most religions, such as Christianity and the Islamic faith.
Keep reading to know more about this topic.
What Does Incest Mean?
Incest is a taboo in many cultures worldwide and the same in the United States of America. It involves sexual activities between family members and close relatives.
Incest is not just about brothers and sisters having sexual intercourse. Sometimes, people related either by stepfamily; marriages, adoption, lineage, and clan indulging in sexual activities could also be considered incest.
Furthermore, incest is a crime because of the challenges children born out of such relationships might face in life. The challenges range from a genetic disease, mental retardation, and a severe congenital disability.
What Causes Incest And How Parents Can Prevent It
Incest is a big problem in society today, even though many fail to talk about it. Many young girls and boys are dealing with this problem without their parents’ knowledge. That’s the sad part.
We can’t blame parents for abandoning their supervisory duties. Most of them are already overburdened with work and meeting the family’s financial needs. Many parents assume their children have a good upbringing, and as such, they can’t think of getting intimate with each other.
Unfortunately, most of the siblings caught in the act are from responsible homes. So, what could be the primary cause of incest in society?
Here are the causes, including how parents can help.
Allowing siblings to share a bedroom:
The majority of incest cases reported is the parents’ fault. How? It’s due to negligence on their parts. There’s nothing wrong with allowing siblings, male and female, to sleep in the same room or share a bed. But you should know the right time to draw the line.
There’s no specific age for parents to stop their male and female children from sharing a bed or room. One has to apply wisdom in making such a decision.
We must understand and accept that children have emotions controlled by hormones. And when these emotions become uncontrollable, they may forget that the person sleeping next to them is their sibling or a relative.
Sharing the same room imply that both siblings may have the chance to watch each other get undress most of the time. Either of them may also sleep awkwardly and expose sensitive parts of their bodies. And from there, they may start developing unimaginable feelings towards their sibling.
That said, parents should know when to ensure both siblings don’t share the same bed. Observe your kids closely. You’ll know when it’s time to get each of them a separate room.
If any of both children start paying attention to their privacy or showing signs that they are no longer comfortable sleeping on the same bed with a sibling, don’t try to force that child to change his or her mind. Just provide another space.
Experts have warned that abstinence-only sex education isn’t sufficient. It doesn’t prevent teens from experimenting sexually. The best thing is to teach them comprehensive sex education, as this will enable them to make an informed decision.
Contrary to what many believe, teaching teens about sex education won’t encourage them to have sex. Instead, it would enable them to make sound decisions when they land in such situations.
Schools should also teach about incest to children. Teach them the dangers of engaging in such acts, including the punishment for committing a crime.
Not standing up for a sexually abused child:
When it comes to sibling incest, male children are the most likely culprits. Most of them succeed in brainwashing their female siblings into sleeping with them.
Most sexually abused kids are just there waiting for a helper. They want to speak out but fear their parents may take it the wrong way.
Parents who are closer to their kids can detect when things are wrong. In the same vein, children who are comfortable discussing sensitive issues with a parent will find it easier to speak up when sexually abused.
On the other hand, parents should be ruthless when handling issues relating to incest cases or sexual abuse. Avoid the temptation to treat such cases with levity because the victim and culprit are your children.
You can handle the issue of incest within your family if you think informing the police could land your child in jail for many years. But make your kids understand that you detest the act and educate them on the dangers of siblings getting intimate.
Kissing children on their lips:
Kissing a baby on the lips is understandable. But as the kid grows and can speak, you should avoid kissing him or her on the lips.
Most parents would say there’s nothing wrong with kissing their biological child on the lips. Some even do it to their teenage children. They call it an act of love. But this act can corrupt the kid’s mind.
Once your child starts associating hugging and kissing with romance, things can go sour from there. So stop kissing your children on their lips, whether boy or girl.
Easy access to explicit content:
The internet and media content are all filled with explicit content that can easily corrupt children’s minds. And if you think your kids won’t react after watching these contents, you’re wrong.
Children are wise, so they won’t react in your presence after watching those explicit scenes in movies, simply because you’re around. But these scenes are gradually polluting their minds. One day, they may be forced to experiment those sexual acts they watch in movies or on the internet.
When the child can’t find a stranger to experiment these acts with, his sibling becomes the target. With a lot of pressure and convincing, he might have his way. From there, the incestuous relationship might continue for years until they’re caught or one of them is bold enough to speak up.
Parents must learn to control what their children watch on the internet and on the television. You should also mind the kind of programs you watch in front of your kids.
Excitingly, you don’t need to be around your kids all the time to monitor the websites they visit. Get parental control software, website filter, add-on monitor, and internet blocker. Any of these tools can prevent your kids from accessing sites with explicit content.
Dysfunctional family environment:
Incest behaviors are common in large and or dysfunctional families. Such families are characterized by marital discord, emotional violence, and explicit and implicit sexual tension.
An emotionally or physically absent parent might employ an older sibling to assume parental duties while away. This makes it easier for the child to oppress other younger siblings, leading to sexual abuse.
Victims in such homes end up getting abused for extended periods because the environment isn’t conducive for them to speak up. The parents might be in the process of getting a divorce. And this alone might force them to abandon their parental supervisory duties.
Encouraging erotic plays by children:
Most parents do not rebuke their children when they find them playing and touching themselves erotically. Their excuse might be that they are kids and don’t know what they’re doing.
Unfortunately, these acts can lead to incest behaviors in children if not controlled early. They may continue touching themselves in sensitive areas and find nothing wrong about it.
The bottom line is for parents to learn to break bad habits in their children on time. Don’t assume they will change. Act immediately and see that your kids never repeat such behaviors.
Teach your children, particularly the girls, how valuable they are. Let them know what it means to have self-worth and self-respect.
Incest is a crime that’s punishable by law. Children born from such acts may experience genetic defects, among other health challenges.
The victims, too, are not left out. The act can lower their self-esteem, confidence and mess with their mental health. It could also lead to depression or low quality of life.
So, siblings should desist from such an act. Parents and schools should also do more to educate teens about the dangers of incestuous relationships.