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November 2 2017

Shame on Cosmo for Normalizing Incest – Again

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

In a world where society is fighting for girls and women who are molested, sexually assaulted, and taken advantage of by relatives, Cosmopolitan Magazine is – once again – trying to normalize incest.

In a controversial new article, Cosmo narrates the story of “Melissa” and “Brian,” half siblings who met as adults and immediately experienced a “connection that was instantaneous and electric.”

I’ll spare the details of the sordid and taboo relationship that reads like a romance novel. However, “Melissa” tells us she suffers from a condition (genetic sexual attraction or GSA) which occurs when two family members, who were separated early in life and meet later, experience intense sexual attraction – although they don’t act on it. That last point is critical, because "Melissa" does.

We’re led to believe it’s the typical love story that any Disney princess might find herself in. "Melissa" doesn’t think this is taboo and periodicals are right to put forward her story – as a means to change perceptions.

This is not the first time Cosmo published essays or articles that position stories of incest as fairytale love stories. In 2016, a woman talks about falling in love with her father for Cosmo UK and, a year prior, they published an interview with a girl was who lost her virginity and was engaged to her own father.

Social media is rightly pushing back on Cosmopolitan.

Even when two adults are okay with their incestuous relationship, their family members often are not okay including their own children. In the story of “Melissa” and “Brian,” her teenage kids had their life turned upside down. The family disruption is not ignorable.

There’s also good physical reasons for why incest is a taboo and illegal in all states. There’s a high chance that their offspring will be born with birth defects or die early as a study found.

But the greatest pushback is the reality of incest for children and adults who are victims.

Incest is usually not adults falling in love after being separated but older family members abusing young victims. The abuse can be leave life-long emotional, mental, and physical impacts that bear out in destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse and promiscuity.

Justice Department data tells the real tale of incest:

  • About one-quarter (27%) of all sexual offenders were family members of their victims.
  • Almost half (49%) of the offenders of victims under age 6 were family members, compared with 42% of the offenders who sexually assaulted youth ages 6 through 11, and 24% of offenders who sexually assaulted juveniles ages 12 through 17.
  • Overall, just 12% of the offenders who sexually assaulted adults were family members of the victims, compared with 34% of the offenders of juvenile victims.

Most incest is abuse against minors and unfortunately, these young victims don’t know or know how to fight back against their perpetrators – especially when it’s their brother, sister, father, uncle, mother, cousin, or aunt.

Sexual assault is a prominent issue in our society today as victims of powerful people come forward to share their stories. Shame on Cosmopolitan for using this story to romanticize incest. We do not need to give predators a greenlight to think that their feelings and emotions are acceptable and that their actions justifiable. 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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