The number of incest cases is on the rise
The number of incest cases is on the rise as the phenomenon of genetic sexual attraction becomes more prevalent, a sex therapist says.
This week a 32-year-old man and his 18-year-old daughter were sentenced to community work and supervision by a Dunedin District Court judge on incest charges after they had a sexual relationship and had a child together.
It was revealed in court that the pair had a genetic sexual attraction, which sometimes happens between family members united after a long separation.
Director of Sex Therapy New Zealand, Robyn Salisbury, told Fairfax genetic sexual attraction was happening more and more between siblings or parents and their offspring.
“There are more people meeting up with previously unknown family members and being completely overwhelmed with how powerful that can be,” she said.
“For some people those powerful feelings and the kind of depth of connection that can happen are most readily experienced and expressed sexually.”
In the case of the father and daughter sentenced this week, the pair had little to do with each other until the girl turned 16.
The pair began a sexual relationship together over two years from August 2010 – living as husband and wife and having a child together.
The court was told that they both had a background of abuse and neglect.
The man was 13 when he and his 30-year-old foster mother started a sexual relationship and was 14 when the daughter was born.
No matter how different are the perspectives from which the crime of incest is seen, analyzed and examined, the common denominator among all cultures throughout history is that incest is looked upon as the most repugnant, disgusting and sickening of all crimes. Father-daughter incest mustn’t be new to us, as countless stories of past times have also testified to its existence. Many victims at the time bore their poignant stories, but could never tell them.
Yet, the hypothesis that should be formed here is: If the father in these situations were religious in the right sense of the word, he would never think of sexually abusing his daughter, let alone rape her. It is not long ago when Mohamed El Aarifi, a Saudi Arabian sheikh, was scorned and harshly castigated for forbidding a daughter to wear tight clothes in the presence of her father for fear that she might tempt him into lusting after her.
In the Quran, Allah condemns and forbids the act of a father marrying his daughter, let alone the act of raping her. We all know this, but the matter lies not in knowing about the prohibition of father-daughter incest, but in the fact that our society isn’t religious enough, given that incest, which we, as responsible Muslims, must decry and do something about, is spreading in a dangerous manner.
For fear of falling into the sin of a father raping his daughter, the sheikh responded by saying that it is forbidden for a father and his daughter to stay in a secluded place when no one is present. The sheikh issued this fatwa by which many Muslims have been taken back on the basis of this hadith of the Prophet: “Whenever a man is alone with a woman the Devil makes a third.” Hadith – Sahih Bukhari, Book 25, Number 5403.
Although the prophet here referred to a Non-Mahram man and woman (Non-Mahram in Islam refers to non member of the family), the sheikh feared that if the daughter is a beautiful one and no one is present, the father might be tempted by the third Devil into raping her.
What is of greater importance is that despite receiving harsh attacks on his fatwa, Al Arifi at the very least warned against the animalistic sexual desires under whose spell some fathers are in danger of falling. It is self-evident that because of the rarity of father-daughter incest in Muslim countries and because of associating this crime with an ignominious taboo, many Muslims have received the strange yet true fatwa with scorn and disdain.
Many of us have made fun of El Arifi’s statement and come up with scornful comments in protest of his fatwa. We have even begun to distrust the credibility of his fatwa. Many of us have even accused the sheikh of being inordinately fundamentalist and unreasonable. Upon the spread of his video, we instantly deemed him backward and foolish, though he was hinting at a threatening phenomenon tearing-apart homes, that of a father raping his daughter.
Now, however, we are facing the scandal the sheikh once warned about and to which he suggested that we take precautions before it is too late. With the heinous act of father-daughter incest, we remember that El Arifi was right on about what he said. If Arifi’s fatwa was preposterous, how would we account for the shameful phenomenon in question?
If the precaution to which the sheikh raised our awareness were silly and unspeakably strange as many Muslims have described it, how would we account for the number of daughters falling prey to their fathers’ sexually abusive advances?
We are rather blaming those who still consider the issue of incest as a taboo that many think should rather be sealed than be exposed. Among them are the attackers of El Arifi, the mother who resorts to calming down her violated daughter in many cases instead of taking the rapist father to the police and the society that still shamefully turns a blind eye to this thorny issue and does nothing viable as a reaction.
As long as Islam has said a lot about the issue, the only explanation for the spread of incest is not following and obeying the rules of Islam. Perpetrators of incest can rape anyone in sight for the simple reason that Islam, for them, doesn’t restrict them.
Furthermore, silence is the real catalyst to more cases of incest. So long as, we the society, do nothing to recompense the victims and set the strict rules and punishment decreed in the Quran, it will be not be surprising if other cases are reported just as those of the cities of Safi and Kenitra have been. Reporting and disclosing the issue outright can at the very least help decrease the frequency of the phenomenon.