Addressing concerns about grooming and sexual abuse

There is an unfortunate conception in society that consensual incest is impossible because of grooming. Namely, that because of family dynamics, it would be impossible to seduce a relative without there being some form of grooming taking place. Such concerns are particularly levied against non-GSA parent/offspring couples, but some believe that grooming happens in ALL cases of incest, regardless of their kinship.

Well, obviously having been a young woman in a consensual non-GSA father/daughter relationship, I think it’s about time I dispelled the myth and explained the difference between grooming and ethical seduction, and how that can play out in a relationship. If we want to be taken seriously as a movement, if we truly want equal rights, we need to address these concerns people have and demystify our lives.

Unfair as it is, the burden is upon us to prove ourselves worthy of equality and respect. People just aren’t going to listen to our cries for equal rights if we don’t answer their objections with honesty, integrity and empathy. We need to show that we take such concerns very seriously, that we have a good understanding of the issues and that we have a high standard of ethics. If we fail this task, then the movement will fail, If we succeed, then we will get these oppressive laws overturned, helping literally MILLIONS of innocent men and women to live their lives in peace and security. All I ask at this point is that all readers, both consang and regular, listen to my words and think about them carefully.

What is grooming?

Grooming is when somebody is persuaded using an unethical manner to engage in any sexual act, especially when the groomed person is a minor or young adult with limited or no experience.

We all have the mental image of the archetypal dirty old man in an anorak giving children sweets and money in exchange for sexual favors. However, it’s not usually as simplistic nor as blatant as this mental image would suggest, and sometimes it can be very subtle, so subtle that you would question whether it’s grooming or not. I think it’s worth exploring what could be classified as grooming.

Typically, people who groom others, particularly children and young people, for their own sexual gratification use at least some of the following methods:

  1. Creating situations where he or she is going to be alone with their chosen target. Usually this is achieved by gaining the trust of others who are responsible for the protection of the target. This is done solely to gain access.
  2. Buying ‘too many’ gifts for the target, again to build up a relationship of trust and make the target feel ‘special’.
  3. Plying the target with illicit substances or alcohol, thus lowering inhibitions and making it harder for the victim to come forward about the sexual abuse.
  4. Convincing the target that it’s perfectly normal but ‘people wouldn’t understand’.
  5. Convincing the target that he or she has a responsibility or duty to make their abuser happy, and of course that means sexual favours.
  6. Using relentless persuasion over a long period of time to get the target to consent to what would otherwise be abhorrent to them.
  7. Using a play on words, like ‘You love me don’t you? This is how we show love’
  8. Making the target believe he or she is doing something wrong if he or she says no.
  9. Using the guise of ‘sex education’ to lure the target.

This can happen in all kinds of settings, it’s notoriously happened in the Catholic Church with untold numbers of altar boys being sexually molested by pedophile priests, it’s happened in schools, orphanages, foster homes, and yes, some people have become victims of their own family members. It’s not nice to think about, but it can happen and it does happen and such acts should be denounced in the strongest possible manner. If there was anything that is always wrong, in ANY kind of relationship, it’s grooming.

If the double-love bond that exists in consensual incest is the strongest and most pure bond imaginable, then grooming by a family member is the ultimate act of betrayal, worse than being betrayed by an outsider, and it should be punished accordingly.

What counts as ethical?

Well first and foremost, the same rules apply to consensual incest as apply to everyone else. Rules like these:

  1. Everyone must be over the age of consent.
  2. Everyone involved must make the decision to engage in any sexual act willingly and without duress.
  3. Everyone involved must be mentally competent to make the decision, for instance, NOT half passed out through excessive alcohol or high on illegal drugs.
  4. Flirting is okay, but no means no if the flirt is unsuccessful.
  5. Stalking and sexual harassment is not allowed.
  6. Consent is renewed for each sexual encounter, consent to sex on Tuesday doesn’t necessarily mean consent on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  7. Consent to one sexual act doesn’t mean automatic consent to another, for instance consent to oral sex and vaginal sex doesn’t mean automatic consent to anal sex as well.

So this is simple and straightforward common sense, stuff everyone should know already. It’s what I call sexual ethics, it’s based on the morality of everyone doing what they’re comfortable with and not doing what they’re not comfortable with, and what’s more not being pressurised into doing something that they do not want to do.

Yes, that all sounds great on paper, but is that really possible within an incestuous relationship, especially parent/offspring relationships?

I understand well the concerns that people have about parent/offspring relationships, they think that because we were raised by somebody, we can never give consent without there being some kind of pressure or duress, thus violating point 2 on the above list. I can see why people might think this, most people, even as adults do not like to let their parents down or upset them. The parent/offspring dynamic doesn’t just magically vanish because you’ve hit legal age. However, what must be understood is that there is a world of difference between the relationship you had with your parents as a child is radically different to the relationship you have with them as an independent adult.

When you are a child, your parents are legally responsible for looking after you, and making decisions for you. They provide your clothes, your food, your shelter… everything. This means that when you’re a child, your parents have an enormous amount of power over you.

Contrast that to the relationship you likely have with your parents as an adult, your parents do not make decisions for you, you buy your own stuff and rent or buy your own home, you’re responsible for yourself (at least this is what SHOULD happen in a normal healthy family). Your parents are now your peers, they’re more like older friends that you sometimes ask advice from. They typically have very little if any actual power over you, although they may retain some influence on you because you respect their opinions, this is normal and natural.

The question in peoples minds is this: is the residual influence enough to render true consent impossible? Well, no, and here is why: Most people have a sufficiently strong Westermarck Effect to say no to a parent that they aren’t interested in dating, AND in a situation where the parent has made their feelings clear, the offspring now has enormous power in their hands. Since even attempting to date a family member is illegal, the offspring who isn’t interested could land their parent in jail potentially. Adult offspring are therefore far from powerless and CAN say no if they want to. If one is able to say no, then one is also able to legitimately say yes.

But what of when the offspring is consenting, how do we know that it’s for real? Well first of all, the offspring who said yes clearly don’t have much of a Westermarck Effect, if they did, the answer wouldn’t have been yes would it? It’s also pretty difficult to argue dubious consent when the offspring is the one who initiated the relationship, as happens sometimes.

But what if the offspring were groomed to accept it once the age of consent has been reached?

I’m not saying it can’t happen or never happens, and when it does it’s a terrible thing, these are the sort of abuse stories we sometimes hear about on the news. They disturb us as much as they disturb regulars, because they are disturbing, unethical and immoral.

There is a world of difference between somebody being groomed to be their parents partner, and a relationship spontaneously and naturally occurring once the offspring is old enough. Anyone who grooms their children to become a sexual partner at any age is guilty of an offence. Such grooming is a form of brainwashing and it’s never acceptable.

However, what I am saying is that incest doesn’t need to include grooming. When there are two people in the same family, who happen to be parent and offspring, who happen to both lack Westermarck and be appealing to each other because they love each others personalities and have common interests, and then they fall in love… well then that’s where consensual incest happens.

Would legalization encourage grooming?

Some of the regulars reading this article may by now be beginning to realize that it is possible for consensual incest to happen, however they may still fear that if incest were to be legalized, then it may encourage more of the grooming type of activity. I disagree here, because whether or not somebody is going to engage in grooming depends on what kind of person they are, somebody who is amoral and unethical will violate the usual high standards for acceptable behavior regardless of the legislation. For the record, grooming, sexual harassment, stalking and similar crimes would all remain crimes regardless of whether incest is legal or not.

My point is that inappropriate and harmful behaviour is already illegal, there is no need legally, or morally to discriminate against innocent incest couples in order to prosecute people who commit such offences as grooming, sexual abuse or rape. Such behaviours are very wrong regardless of whether the victim and perpetrator are related or not.

So it IS possible to make consensual incest perfectly legal, while protecting vulnerable youngsters from abuse. Actually, it is beneficial all round to do so, as it enables our community to encourage victims of sexual abuse to come forward to the authorities and bring their abusers to justice. It also allows us to show young people what healthy consanguinamory looks like versus their experiences, so that they are going to be better able to judge whether or not they’ve been a victim of grooming, a kind of reality check. This is why it’s so vital that we expose grooming for the abusive practice that it is, and encourage victims to seek help.

Concerns over sex education and it’s possible impact on young people

Some regulars may be worried that if we’re legalized, then it would lead to young people being taught about us in sex education classes. Some may even be so paranoid as to fear that we’re trying to ‘turn our young people consang’ or some other such nonsense. I can assure you, if you’re a regular reading this, that is not our intention and we wouldn’t want that. Actually, anyone attempting such would be guilty of grooming and we reject that in all it’s forms.

What we want in the classroom is simply for teens to know that we exist, and the following:

  1. If the teen has feelings for a relative, then they are understood and accepted, there is nothing wrong with them and they need bear no shame.
  2. A short term crush on a relative as a teenager doesn’t necessarily mean that their adult orientation is going to be consanguinamory.
  3. If they do turn out to be consang as an adult, there is a community out here that cares about them and will accept them.
  4. Consanguinamory isn’t something one chooses, it’s something that occurs naturally. Some people just ARE consang, in the same way that gay people do not choose to be gay, they just are.
  5. Underage sex is to be discouraged, the age of consent protects young people from grooming and sexual abuse.
  6. If it’s their parent or another older relative they’re interested in, they must wait until they’re old enough before pursuing the matter, and that it would be wrong and inappropriate for their parents to accept any advances from them (or make any advances of their own) until they’re of age.
  7. That because of the social stigma, life isn’t easy for consang people. That in many countries people are thrown in jail for it.
  8. That if they’ve been abused by a relative, they should not fear to come forward about their abuse, because abuse is always wrong and never their fault.
  9. Education about the risks of consang pregnancy: cousins 4%, 2nd degree relatives around 7%, 1st degree relatives around 9%. Give them the information which they can mull over and thus make sensible choices as adults.

What such education would be aimed at doing, is helping consang teens to understand themselves, the minority to which they belong, and helping regular teens to understand them and accept them as part of normal life. It would also underscore the difference between abuse and consent, the importance of the age of consent, and encourage any victims of sexual abuse to come forward. This is by far a better approach than ignoring the issue of consanguinamory, as currently happens. These young people need to know this information, so that they can identify attempts at grooming them, in addition to feeling more ‘normal’ if they have any consang feelings themselves. As with all sex education, it’s explaining what’s healthy and what isn’t. In an educational classroom setting, this kind of teaching will be very beneficial to these young people.

What I am advocating here is the very opposite of grooming, it’s real unbiased raw data education. Present the information to the young people and allow them to think about it for themselves. Offer empathy and understanding to those who are consang, while vehemently opposing grooming or underage sex of any kind. We are not going to corrupt their morals, we are advocating a natural continuation of existing relationship ethics by applying them to consanguinamory too.

Conclusion

We take the protection of young people very seriously, we take any issues surrounding consent seriously, we advocate values and morals based on ethics which empower and support individual growth whilst protecting those who need protection. We do not seek to impose ourselves on society or make others consang, nor do we seek to redefine the function or structure of the family. We seek only understanding, empathy and acceptance, we seek the same rights everyone else has. We are not to be feared, and we want to build bridges with other communities for mutual benefit and support. We hear your concerns and we will listen and address your concerns, all we ask is that others do the same for us in return. You may not agree with everything I have said here, and if you don’t then you’re welcome to debate me or ask for clarification if there is anything you don’t understand. I am approachable, and I will always give an honest answer.

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