Everything is certainly wrong with a father sleeping with his blood daughter. It is repugnant apart from the fact that it is a taboo in our custom. Are these signs of the end times as predicted in the Bible?
Ordinarily, it is believed that in family relations, the fathers have stronger bonding with their daughters while mothers and their sons stay biologically closer. There seems to be some truth in here watching it closely as a daughter and also as a mother with three sons.
Mothers are naturally over-protective when it comes to their relationship with their sons. They would even pamper them into adulthood and continue to see them as “mother’s small boy”, sometimes to the irritation of their daughters-in-law.
In the Ashanti way of life which I am familiar with, it is not uncommon for mothers or grandmothers to refer intimately to their sons or grandsons as “Barima ye na”. Loosely translated, it means that a man is a rare human being. Men are the ones who provide for the material needs of the family (it is increasingly no longer true though), they go on to become the heads of families and when there is a problem in the house, it is the men that one would shout for.
The converse is true in father and daughter relationships. Normally, fathers tend to be protective of their daughters especially when they reach young adulthood. They are eager to know who their daughters are dating. It is always the proudest moment in any father’s life to walk his daughter down the aisle to symbolically hand them over to the next man in their lives on their wedding days.
However, when a father’s love for his daughter straddles beyond parental love veering off to lust, to the extent of sexual abuse, it becomes horrendous. There certainly must be something wrong with such a father. What sexual attraction does a father see in his daughter to want to sleep with her, sometimes, not once but many times and goes on to impregnate her. It sounds revolting but sadly, this is happening in our society today.
On Saturday, 28 January, the Daily Graphic published on its front page, the story of two men, both in their 40s who had sexual intercourse with their teenage daughters. One of the girls was only 13 and the other one was 18 years old.
Always finding the devil to carry some of the shame and disgrace in such instances, the father who slept with his 13 year old claimed at court that a spirit had entered him and on two occasions, had sex with the daughter. He claimed that the first time it happened, he had dreamt that he was having sex with his late wife only to wake up to find her 13 year old daughter’s leg on him. The girl missed her period for three months and suspecting that the girl was pregnant, the father gave her some tablets probably to abort the suspected pregnancy.
In the second case of incest, the Graphic story said that for over one and a half years, the father had subjected his daughter to sexual abuse, living under the same roof with her.
The two incidents reminded me of an incest case that raged on for sometime in the international media some two years ago. It was somewhere in Europe where a father kept her daughter in an appalling condition in his basement home for over 12 years and continuously had sex with her. He fathered children with her and she lived with her children in that dreadful basement room with no contact whatsoever with the outside world. The girl was in her teens at the time the father started sleeping with her.
Happenings of such nature get one upset. Indeed such acts can only be perpetrated by individuals who cannot be considered as normal human beings. That is why when proven guilty; one would wish that they are quarantined and cut off from society for the rest of their lives. Their actions are simply sickening.
Perhaps, the onus now lies on us as members of the community to fish out for intolerable and offensive anti-social behaviours. We live in a morally corrupt society these days and it is no longer tenable to close our eyes and ears to what goes on in our neighbourhoods simply because we want to mind our own business. Of course somebody’s business could one day become another one’s concern.
For example, somebody’s delinquent child who dropped out of school and hanged around with area boys is the one who comes around with his gang at a time one is sound asleep to rob. We need to wake up and recover our lost communal values where sometime ago; somebody’s child in the neighbourhood was everybody’s child and could be disciplined as such.
The poor victims of incest may be too frightened to come out and talk about their ordeals especially where they live under the same roof with their criminal fathers with no motherly figure around. That is where a watchful community could be of help.
But sometimes too, it may not just be fear. They may be too ashamed to reveal their torments even to a close friend. These children need society’s help, especially, the school. If they are still in school, does the school look out for changes in a child’s attitude and behaviour that need probing especially in the case of girls? Where there is regular absenteeism, does the school follow up with the home?
Normally, a traumatised child would show some outward sign such as sudden withdrawal symptoms, timidity, shabby dressing, unwilling to go home after school and general looks of unhappiness. People around such a child should be able to pick up the change in his or her demeanour and call for help. Such victims of incest should be counselled and not to be left on their own, stymied by public perception. Instead, they should be encouraged to seek help by talking to an adult they can confide in such as a teacher.
In other environments where the eyes and ears of the community are wide open and child welfare is of greater concern, it does not take long for the plight of abused children to come to the notice of someone, a security agency or a child welfare department. If the child is still in school, education welfare authorities will pick up the case with such speed and begin to cause investigations working hand in hand with child psychologists.
It is bad enough for a father to neglect his parental role by refusing to look after his child. However, it becomes sacrilegious and unpardonable if a father goes on to sexually defile his own daughter and physically attack her when she refuses his advances. What future is ahead of a teenage girl whose father has constantly slept with her? The past will definitely come back to haunt her.
Nothing but wickedness will drive a father to sleep with his biological daughter. Only a sick mind will commit such an abomination and unfortunately, there seems to be too many such minds walking about in our communities. The incongruous behaviour of the few must be fished out and exposed by all of us. I believe we can if we are vigilant in our neighbourhoods. Despicable acts like incest should not be contained for the sake of our future.