Thursday, September 24, 2009

Consensual Incest?!?

Mackenzie Phillips went on Oprah yesterday to discuss details published in her latest book “High On Arrival.” It was evident on Oprah’s face that she was stunned (perhaps horrified) at Mackenzie’s openness about one subject in particular….her incestuous relationship with her father, the late John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.

I use the term relationship loosely because what viewers heard Mackenzie share was that she and her father had consensual sexual encounters for nearly ten years! It apparently began when she was eighteen years old and continued until her late twenties. Here’s my sound off America! I vehemently disapprove of romanticizing incest because there is ABSOLUTELY nothing loving about it! There is no such thing as consensual incest because these acts do not occur in a vacuum. As with any form of sexual abuse, the victim is groomed by the abuser. Now perhaps in Mackenzie’s case, the grooming took years (18 to be exact), but don’t be fooled into thinking that it merely happened on a whim one night.

Although incest is defined as sexual intercourse between people too closely related to marry legally, its true ramification cannot be captured in these few words. Do you think it’s by accident that Mackenzie has had so many low moments in her life…arrests, numerous stints in rehab, plummeting career? Absolutely not! Although an adult when the abuse began, Mackenzie’s response was characteristic of what younger children experience. The repercussions are too many to list, but include addiction to alcohol and other substances, depression, and self-destruction (just to name a few).

Everyone in this country knows that intimacy between parents and children, and siblings is ethically and morally wrong. However, did you know that France, Spain and Portugal do not prosecute consenting adults for incest, and that Romania is considering following suit. In the United States, all 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit consensual incest, although a few states impose no criminal penalties for it, according to the Harvard Law Review.

What is wrong with us as a collective nation if we send the message that sex between parents and children can ever be deemed consensual? What if Mackenzie was fifteen or sixteen when it began? Would it make a difference? Should it make a difference? It’s all the same to me, because child abuse of any kind is wrong….regardless of chronological age.

If you or someone you know is being abused, please do not be afraid to tell others and ask for help. Although your abuser my try to convince you that what they are doing to you is okay…IT IS NOT, and you are entitled to make it stop…whether you are eight or twenty-eight.

Happy Parenting,

1 comment:

  1. My mouth is wide opened!! Thanks for that! I hardly ever watch television so this was an eye opener that this craziness is still going on. Great write up!!