Dr. Campion-Page 2

debauchery.  In other cases, incest may be the result of an alcoholic condition or specific psychological problem such as pedophilia  (intense sexual craving for young children).

Incest may be part of a general family pathology.  The mother and father could have extremely low morals and the wife could be extremely hostile and rejecting of her husband, and, therefore, actually foster incest with her daughter.  The father may also be a product of faulty parenting in that when he was growing up his father was involved in an incestual relationship with his daughters, and he began to believe that this was a typical pattern for a family.

Sexual deviation has very strong motivation because of the basic sexual drive and tendencies toward selfishness and self-gratification so inherent in mankind.   Sexual drives and appetites then can become misdirected without strong moral checks provided by the Holy Spirit.  Lack of wholesome sex education and faulty learning from our childhood may also contribute to misdirected sexual activity.  While succumbing to the unusual emphasis placed on sex, our society may be another incest incubator. The problem with identifying and treating incest is that so many times the incestual family is also an extremely disturbed family who is resistant to outside help.  Some of the danger signs, however, that could indicate possible incestual relationships between father and daughter could include a very strict father/daughter relationship, or a daughter who is very fearful of her father.

A very strict father who is overly concerned about his daughter’s involvement with other boys could be projecting his own guilt.  The father may not let his daughter date, because he fears she will become sexually involved with boys, become pregnant, and, there, disgrace the family.  He may forbid his daughter to have normal social contacts because he my be concerned about her telling somebody about their incestual relationship.

The daughter of an incestual relationship may avoid her father at every opportunity.  She may stay in her room a lot or make it a point not to be in the same room with her father if she can help it.

Some people react by blaming the daughter for the incestual relationship. They believe that if the daughter didn’t encourage it or enjoy it, she would most certainly tell her mother, minister, family doctor, or one of her schoolteachers.  The problem is that it requires a tremendous amount of trust to venture out against her father’s strict orders not to tell anybody and risk more punishment from him if the person she confides in does not actually help or protect her from her father in the future.  Most fathers threaten their daughter physically or emotionally if they were to tell their mother or anyone else.  In addition, the daughter may become confused because, after all, maybe this is the way it is supposed to be between a father and a daughter.   The father my have told her that this is how all little girls learn about sex, and all that he is trying to do is help her.  The net result, however, is that the daughter is extremely confused, guilt-ridden, and fearful.

Incestual relationships between brothers and sisters in a family do not seem to cause as much of a problem as those between a father and daughter. It may be because much of the sexual play is out of curiosity and does not produce the same reactions of guilt, hostility and fear that are found between a daughter and a father.   

The net result, however, of any incestual relationship is some degree of guilt (“maybe I caused it,” or “there should have been some way I could have stopped it”), fear, (“what if it is discovered”), and hostility (“why did this have to happen to me”). 

It is unfortunate that daughters of an incestual relationship are plagued with sexual problems as a result of the past.  They may become lesbian, frigid in marriage, or extremely promiscuous in their sexual relationships.  Sexual confusion and dysfunction appear to be natural consequences of incest unless the problem is treated.

The first step in treatment is to get the problem out in the open.  This may require the victim to report it to the proper authorities.  This appears to be more likely at present because of the openness in dealing with the problem because of the increased interest and openness of the media.