Incest has been a taboo since the beginning of human history, and yet, sex among relatives is still disturbingly common today. According to statistics, about 1% of women are victims of father-daughter incest, making this one of the most common forms of incest in the world.
Strangely, incest between fathers and their daughters is more commonly reported than incest between siblings, although sex between brothers and sisters is more prevalent. Also, sex between fathers and their stepdaughters is more common than incest between fathers and their biological daughters.
Today, father-daughter incest is the most common form of childhood sexual abuse in the United States. However, mothers are responsible for the highest cases of child abuse, and that involves neglect.
Studies have revealed that many incestuous relationships start before puberty, and they tend to happen in secrecy for years. A large number of these sexual encounters go undiscovered.
Many people believe that incest between fathers and daughters is more prevalent than most of us realize. In some instances, more than one daughter might be part of the incestuous relationship.
Father-Daughter Incest In The Bible
Incest is also in the bible, with the earliest case involving Cain. Since there was no known unrelated woman at the time Cain married, it is believed that Cain had an incestuous relationship with either his sister or his mother, the relationship resulting in the birth of Enoch.
Abraham is said to have married his half-sister Sarah according to the Hebrew Bible.
In Genesis, Lot's daughters also conspired to have sexual relations with their father as a way to keep their lineage alive after failing to get any partners. They both got children from the affair.
Incest goes back to the dawn of human history, although it has been a taboo for just as long. For instance, descendants of Lot's daughters lost favor with God over their incestuous origin.
Consensual Father-Daughter Incest
There are cases where father-daughter incest does not always involve abuse. For instance, in ancient Egypt, incestuous relationships were legal. Egyptian kings often married their sisters. For instance, Huayna Capac's parents were brother and sister.
Incest was also common during the Middle Ages among European monarchs, but for political reasons. First cousins often married each other, especially within the infamous Habsburg royal house. Nevertheless, incest between siblings was still not allowed.
Japanese and Korean royal houses also had cases of incest.
In modern times, otherwise healthy bonds between parents can evolve into something more intimate, resulting in an incestuous parent-child relationship. In such cases, the relationship is often consensual, and those involved go a lot of lengths to avoid discovery.
So, although incest is frowned upon in most societies, there are places where incest is very common. Some countries consider it normal for cousins to marry, and in such settings, father-daughter incest might not seem as bizarre as might be the case in cultures that don't tolerate any form of incest.
Otherwise, consensual incest (among those who look favorably upon it) happens "very naturally" because the woman gets involved with someone she knows, trusts, and loves.
How Abusive Father-Daughter Incest Typically Begins
Typically, father-daughter incest is common in situations where fathers are extremely domineering. Issues of maternal disability also contribute to father-daughter incest, as well as cases where mothering responsibilities are placed on the daughter.
It is common for such female victims to take on roles such as child care, housework, and having sexual relations with the father. In cases where the mother is usually still around, the father often acts as the perpetrator, while the wife often takes on a passive role.
Victims of this form of abuse often enjoy the perks that come with being a wife and a mother, as well as special privileges from the father to encourage them to keep the situation a secret.
Due to the additional attention they get, and their eagerness to be seen as adults, many of these daughters rarely resist sexual advances from their fathers
Effects Of Abusive Father-Daughter Incest On The Women Involved
As we have seen, both consensual and non-consensual father-daughter incest exists. Usually, consensual incest goes undiscovered because such people understand that they will get demonized for having such sexual relationships.
Therefore, cases of forced sexual relationships between fathers and their daughters are more likely to come to light since the victims hope for an end to the abuse they suffer.
Such women undergo a myriad of issues. Women who had abusive incest with their fathers typically have trouble getting into intimate relationships as adults. Such women also have problems getting sexual satisfaction later in life.
Victims also tend to suffer from low self-esteem. They are also more likely to be victims of abuse despite reaching adulthood.
Additionally, when incest becomes a form of violence, the victims tend to escape from their families, which often makes them vulnerable to additional sexual exploitation.
Women who get into father-daughter sexual relationships as a result of abuse generally feel damaged and psychologically scarred. They also often feel estranged from both parents. Victims of father-daughter incest also feel judged by other people.
It is also common for this form of abuse to cause communication problems and psychological issues such as depression and complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
On their part, incestuous fathers were discovered to have undergone problems like parental separation or death. Some of these men resort to incest after suffering from psychological problems that make it possible for them to exhibit extreme rationalization of unusual behavior.
How To Prevent Father-Daughter Incest
There are a few solutions experts believe would help lower the rates of abusive father-daughter incest. For instance, strengthening the mother's role in the family may help prevent fathers from preying on their daughters.
Typical parents in families where father-daughter incest is common to have very conservative views about gender roles and family life. The fathers are typically tyrannical, and mothers (if they are still part of the family), are usually self-effacing. Some of these mothers help their daughters take over their mothering roles in the family.
Nevertheless, mothers in situations where father-daughter incest is going on are usually victims of abuse. What's worse is that their victimization tends to continue even after the illicit affair between the husband and the daughter begins. This family dynamic allows the abusive and incestuous fathers to hold on to their tyrannical hold on such families.
Incest Between Fathers And Daughters Today
Generally, a sexual relationship between an adult and someone under the age of consent is considered child sexual abuse. It is considered especially damaging when carried out by a parent such as a father. Incest between father and daughter is, therefore, a form of child incestuous abuse.
In places where it is legal, incest between fathers and adult daughters is considered a victimless crime. Nevertheless, societal alienation often follows families involved in such relationships. Even within the family, children born of such unions are often regarded as illegitimate.
Incest is usually prohibited to prevent inbreeding. Children born of incestuous relationships have a higher risk of suffering from genetic disorders such as physical disabilities, mental retardation, and even death.
Cultural experts, however, have warned that inbreeding is not a sufficient reason to ban incest, since the practice has always been part of many ancient and modern cultures. So, incest continues to be both a taboo and a serious debate subject.
While some claim incest is unnatural and disgusting, some find nothing unusual about it.
Strangely, father-daughter incest is not just something that has been observed among humans. Rats have been seen to mate with sisters, although they still had a distinct preference for non-related females. Bed bugs were also discovered to engage in incest, and without suffering the negative effects associated with inbreeding in humans and other animal species.