Just when you think you’ve seen it all, heard it all, experienced it all, that’s when you discover life can get sicker, more warped, more twisted, more disgusting than you ever imagined.
I knew my husband, Rhys, had been raped multiple times by his aunt when he was an innocent four-year-old boy. I knew his rapist had been raped by her father, Rhys’ grandfather. I hoped the incest stopped there. It didn’t.
Not long after Rhys and the mother of his children divorced, he found himself in another relationship. Although they never married, Rhys and his girlfriend co-parented his children when they came for visitation. They even called her ‘Mam’. When the relationship ended, his now ex-girlfriend remained on good terms with the children.
Too good. Too warm. Much too warm.
This week we were horrified to learn that Rhys’ second-eldest son is now in a romantic relationship with the (much older) woman he once called ‘Mam’. Is it incest? In Wales, no. As far as I’m concerned, f*ck yeah it’s incest.
An incestuous family is a family that cannot look each other in the eye.
His relationship mirrors a troubling trend in today’s culture. A push to normalize and de-criminalize incest. Just two days ago, the DailyMail reported on a father who is ‘married’ to his biological daughter with whom he shares a child.
In 2016, the DailyMail reported on a mother who married her biological son, later leaving him to marry her biological daughter.
In 2015, Deutsche Welle ran a story about Endrik Wilhelm, a German lawyer actively working to legalize incest in Germany.
One isn’t entirely shocked by the incestuous relationship of actor John Barrymore, who lost his virginity to his step-mother, or actress Gloria Grahame who divorced her husband to marry his son, after committing statutory rape by sleeping with him when he was a mere thirteen years old. But I didn’t expect incest among my step-children. I thought the incest had stopped one generation ago. Instead, I find it perpetuated in the next generation.
Incest as the setting for pornography has exploded according to Rhys, who like many rape victims, finds the virtual world of sexuality safer than real-life sex. ‘It’s shocking,’ Rhys commented disgustedly one night, ‘there never used to be so much incest porn listed on Pornhub. I’ll never watch it. I hate it.’
The categories are seemingly endless.
Step-mother / step- son
Step-father / step-daughter
Step-brother / step-sister
Brother / sister
Father / daughter
Mother / son
To an incest survivor like Rhys, such videos are off-putting, disgusting and triggering. It’s comforting to discover we’re not the only ones who find this trend worrying .
In May 2015, a Pornhub user wrote, ‘Cut out the incest porn please. As it stands right now, 9 out of the top 10 most viewed videos of the week are incest porn. I fully understand that these are fictitious stories meant to highlight what some may consider a “fetish.” I find this extremely disturbing that Pornhub would cater to the idea of proliferating such a terrible idea. This needs to come to an end or at least be dealt with. It bothers me that Pornhub only takes a stand against something once it is brought to the public eye, for example; revenge porn.Take a stand against this now. It is disgusting to think that Pornhub may in fact be perpetuating a culture of incest.’
Pornhub’s Customer Service responded promptly confirming that society is getting off on the topic of incest saying, ‘These are the most viewed videos of the week, they are not hand picked.’ That much was true.
They then went on to claim, ‘Incest is also against our TOS’ which I don’t believe for a moment.
Something is wrong in a culture where Rose McGowan is applauded for speaking out against Harvey Weinstein, while the daughter Woody Allen molested has been doubted and shamed for years for speaking out against a man who’s wife is actually his step-daughter.
Sexual abuse of any kind is the worst kind of abuse. But incest is even worse, rubbing salt in the sexual abuse emotional wound. It violates the family as a whole. Breaks the bonds of trust that underpin the concept of family, teaching the incest victim that no one can be trusted, not even mom, dad, brother, sister.
An incestuous family is a family that cannot look each other in the eye. The first time I met Rhys’ extended family was years before he told me about the incest. Seeing them together, something seemed extremely strange. When each new person arrived, the other family members ignored them. No one made eye contact with each other. No one made the new arrival welcome. No one got them a chair. People drifted in and out without acknowledging each other. It was weird!
That should have tipped me off. But I never imagined the grandfatherly man in the corner was actually a rapist. It never occurred to me that the middle-aged aunt who warmly welcomed me to the family had raped MY husband.
My step-son’s incestuous relationship with his (ex) ‘step-mother’ is just the latest incestuous relationship in a family that, apparently, all slept with each other. It’s too late to right the wrongs of the past, but I won’t condone the perpetuation of incest in future generations!
My step-son and his girlfriend are not welcome in my home. I can’t look in the eyes of a woman who once slept with my husband and may very well have committed statutory rape by introducing my step-son to sex years before he came of age, years before their ‘official’ relationship began. She must live with her conscience. I cannot condone incest and live peacefully with mine.
Let’s send our families, society (and PornHub) a strong message. #nomoreincest
Photo by jmussuto