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General Education Studies
James Roffee

Blurring the distinction between the offender and the victim: incest Incest  Loosely understood as sexual activity which may be consensual or not between kin.  Definitions come from a multiplicity of sources. o Medical. o Dictionary. o Legal/civil. o Legal/criminal. o Social.  Components of definition: o Sexual activity. o Kin. o Age. o Consent. o Marriage. Incest taboos:theories  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 jealousies.  Expanding social alliances – marrying outside the family creates a wider network of interfamily alliances.  Preventing psychological gratification – Oedipus, need to look for an exogamous partner.  Inbreeding – mating between close kin produces a higher incidence of genetic defects. 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. Problems today  Identification of the victim.  Discrimination – who is a victim. o Sex. 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. Decriminalisation
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