By Shweta Madaan:
Incest is a term that has different meanings in law and psychology. According to Law, it entails consensual sex between two adults but they are prohibited to marry as they have close blood relationships. According to Psychology, it is a form of child sexual abuse i.e. sex between an adult and a person below the age of consent.
Stepfather-stepdaughter incest is most commonly encountered and formidable form of child abuse. In a shocking incident of sexual abuse of minors by their kin in the state of Kerala, eight people, including the victim’s father, mother and step father, were taken into custody. In another recent incident in the same state, a girl was allegedly raped by her father and seven others over the period of a year.
I get to read about such incidents every single day and I am shaken to the core. How can the morality of one fall down to the extent that he preys upon the girl who is related to him by blood? The patriarchal society and misogynistic attitude is the root. These bloodhounds often tend to commit this heinous act only in order to assert their power and masculinity. In a country where girls are worshipped and are considered to be devis, such grievous acts are a slap on the face. In incest rape cases, 90% perpetrators are close relatives and known to the child. They may be child’s own father, brother or uncle. This is how shocking the scenario is. In some cases, women are also offenders. It is a tough decision to make in today’s times- whom should we trust and whom should we not?
It is learned that in most of the cases, second-marriages and adoption of a female child gives rise to incest. However, it is not that these are the only reasons; there are some specific traits in society like alcoholism, uneducated background, mental illness, history of incest in the family and social isolation that lead to incidences of incest.
The victims develop symptoms of depression, guilt and fear. They are afraid of even opening up before their trusted ones as their trust has been breached. They do not want to come out in the open and like to remain isolated which further increases their anxiety. It is important that victims must be brought out of this trauma so as to make them feel better and bring them back to their normal lives. It may take some time. We can give back to the society if we can put smiles back on the faces of those with broken hearts. There is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment for the recovery of the victims. They can be healed by providing them with affection, care and support. The guilt factor which gets imprinted on the mind of the victim may be a hindrance in his/her recovery. Some researches show that victims, who attended workshops, sought mental health assistance, underwent psychotherapy and counselling, are doing better now. They also show that the passage of time is a key element in recovery as time heals everything.
Incest rape is the gravest sin ever and is unforgivable. I strongly feel that those illegitimates who find their worldly pleasures satisfied by blackening the lives of innocents must be given a strong punishment by law, so that they and the others can never ever think of doing something as obnoxious as this. It is our duty to provide children with a safe environment and make them aware about their safety. We need to guide them to be bold and stand for their rights.