Blurring the distinction between the offender and the victim: incest
Loosely understood as sexual activity which may be consensual or not
Definitions come from a multiplicity of sources.
Components of definition:
o Sexual activity.
Natural aversion – there is a natural aversion to sexual intercourse among
those who have grown up together.
Family disruption – mating between family members would create intense
Expanding social alliances – marrying outside the family creates a wider
network of interfamily alliances.
Preventing psychological gratification – Oedipus, need to look for an
Inbreeding – mating between close kin produces a higher incidence of genetic
Missouri – criminal code
A person commits the crime of incest if he marries or purports to marry or
engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a person he
knows to be, without regard to legitimacy:
o His ancestor or descendant by blood or adoption; or
o His stepchild, while the marriage creating that relationship exists; or
o His brother or sister of the whole or half-blood; or
o His uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the whole blood.
Sexual intercourse means any penetration, however slight, of the female sex
organ by the male sex organ.
Deviate sexual intercourse – any act of sexual gratification between persons
not lawfully married to one another, involving the genitals of one person and
the mouth, tongue or anus of another.
Incest is a class D felony. The disappearance of the incest taboo
Rules far more relaxed in those societies that do not depend upon
intermarriage among different extended kinship groups as a means of survival.
As population increased within human societies and as businesses,
governments and other non-kin-based institutions became increasingly
responsible for the social, economic and political functions previously
performed by kinship relations in lineage-based societies, the social
importance intermarriage between lineage groups declined.
This led to the gradual disappearance of the incest taboo and along with it a
reduction in the very definition of what constitutes incest.
Identification of the victim.
Discrimination – who is a victim.
o Sexual orientation.
o Sexual autonomy.
Movement to greater criminalisation to protect victim,
Does labelling an incest victim help or hinder.
Overt assertion of what the public wants.
o Not evidence based policy making.