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Disgusting, horrific, distasteful appalling- Incest and Rape

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An article last weekend in one of our newspapers called our attention to a crime that is not unusual in our jurisdiction. A young girl, Vincentian by birth and living in Canada, was raped repeatedly by her father from the age of 12 years. This rape continued over a period of three years, and at the age of 15 years she was impregnated by him. He is now the father and grandfather of her child. What a grave situation for this young girl, the victim of a father’s dastardly behavior.{{more}} According to the judge, it was “disgusting, horrific, distasteful and appalling’. He also regarded it as a breach of trust by a parent.

Incest

Pursuant to Section 142 of the Criminal Code, “any man who has sexual intercourse with a woman whom he knows to be his granddaughter, daughter, sister or mother is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.”

Pursuant to section 143, the court, on the conviction of the person who is found guilty of incest or who attempts to commit incest on a person under eighteen years, shall divest the offender of any authority or guardianship over the minor.

Section 144 punishes a woman of fifteen years and over with a sentence of imprisonment for seven years if that person permits sexual intercourse with a man who she knows to be her grand father, father, brother, or son.

A man without reason is a beast in season

It defies all reason for a man to engage in sexual intercourse with an innocent child, for according to the English proverb, “a man without reason is a beast in season.” When a child is born, a parent automatically becomes the protector, not the abuser. Like the mother, the father is entrusted with the life of a weak, helpless and vulnerable human being. He is responsible for providing all the necessity of life until that child can provide for herself. He must teach the child right from wrong, direct her in the right path and lead by example. A man violates the privacy of the home and the trust of the child when he engages in this reprehensible behavior.

Untenable situation

A father who has sexual intercourse with his child causes all sorts of problems for the victim. He knows that it is not only wrong, but also illegal, and so he has to cover his behavior in secrecy. When he commits a child to secrecy, he teaches the child to lie and deceive. He may shower the child with gifts to obtain compliance, but then this is something that a real father does. A delinquent father could be undetected because a certain level of affection is acceptable. However, there has to be eternal vigilance. A mother should be able to recognize the signs of a father’s misbehavior. It is a sensitive situation and perhaps the child could be encouraged to report any sexual advances and inappropriate touches by her father or any other male in the home.

Incest is physically, emotionally and psychologically painful for the victim. Not only the victim suffers but her offspring who has to grow up with the knowledge that his or her father is her grand father. Fathers, there is no excuse for this behavior. A child must be allowed to grow up with the love and care of protective parents.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: [email protected]

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