Why It Takes A Whole Village To Rape A Child
by Andrew Vachss
A classic illustration of devolution is our laws against incest. What is the difference between sex with a child of another and a child of one's own? We all know—and the data prove—the truth. When a male (note: I do not say a "man") has sex with a neighbor's child, prison is a likely possibility. But should such a creature have sex with his own child, we euphemistically deem it "family dysfunction" and call in the therapists.
Incest laws were enacted to prevent the birth of biogenetic defectives. But why do such laws apply to children? Children do not have the biological capacity to reproduce. Laws prohibiting sex or marriage between closely related adults protect the species. But incest prohibition as to children has no such value.
Simply put, we as a nation consider children to be the property of their parents. And we provide a special immunity to sex offenders who grow their own victims. Which is more destructive to our species: the random sexual assault of a child or the sexual assault of a child by the very individual whom all laws command to protect that child? What is the moral, social or ethical justification from distinguishing sexual assault by blood relationship of the victim to the perpetrator? We can come to but one conclusion: The laws against incest exist not to protect children but to protect predators.
Yes, our human race remains the only one that tolerates nonprotective parents and same-species predators. The incest laws make that point, written in the blood of innocents. This is the question about incest laws for every legislator in the land: Explain it or change it. And unless we, as a society, start asking that question, we will continue our "evolution" until we have lost our humanity.
© 2000 Andrew Vachss. All rights reserved.
Andrew Vachss has been writing for Parade since 1985. In response to endless requests, we have collected all his past Parade articles here.
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