By Ericka Case
Child sexual abuse from a parent, a step-parent, or a parent’s live-in romantic partner is being portrayed as an acceptable “fetish” by large companies like Amazon.
Thousands of incest-themed pornographic books are for sale and even included for free in the monthly subscription service Kindle, which is owned by Amazon. Searches by NCOSE yielded dozens of these books included in completely unrelated categories and included themes of incest, child and teen, and rape.
If one does an innocent search of “daddy-daughter” they are confronted on multiple pages with incest-themed books—not academic accounts of the harms of parental or guardian sexual abuse of children—but fictional tales normalizing and romanticizing parental/relative sexual abuse. (More proof available on the Dirty Dozen List’s page on Amazon.)
This kind of egregious abuse creates an environment of secrecy and fear within the home and causes persisting harm to the victim. Normalizing such abuse is therefore socially irresponsible and unacceptable.
Research shows that children are eight to nine times more likely to be abused when they live in a step-family structure. Children who live in a home with their unmarried mother, and boyfriend are 20 times more likely to be sexually abused. Abuse by a step-father or live-in boyfriend has become an increasingly worrisome issue amongst families, and Amazon is only fueling its growth by selling products that promote this behavior.
A case report by authors Adinew, Mekete and Adinew analyzed the abuse a young girl endured from her stepfather who was publicly regarded as a guardian and a humble man. While her mother, a hard-working nurse, worked the night shift, her stepfather would drink excessively and often became very violent. One night while her mother was at work, he threatened the young girl, entered her bedroom and raped her. The young girl became pregnant as a result of the assault. Unfortunately, his threats and her internalized victim-blaming shame (a common experience for survivors of sexual violence) only encouraged her to remain silent and carry this burden by herself. She suffered severe mental and emotional trauma as she tried to process what had happened to her. Psychological and social support available to the young woman were scarce.
Adinew, Mekete and Adinew concluded that “creates an extensive and extreme sequence of long term effects. These effects include mental health problems such as major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, social phobias and sexual disorders, and physical health complications such as unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV. These long-term effects subsequently can implicate negative self-esteem, result in difficult relationships, and could potentially cause life-threatening behaviors.
Another harm from step-father, daughter sexual abuse is the broken trust and loss of confidence in family. A child’s ability to trust any other adult that is in a position to guard and protect is completely shattered.
Further, many victims of past abuse are then vulnerable to sexual re-victimization at a later stage of life. One 2008 study noted that:
A proportion of victims of sexual abuse carry profound psychological distress into adulthood and this may create a vulnerability to revictimization and high-risk behaviour, such as prostitution. Secondary difficulties associated with the psychological impact of the abuse, such as substance abuse, may also contribute to this vulnerability and, in some situations, may remove barriers to involvement in sex work for some victims. Finally, societal factors such as social isolation, poverty and cultural attitudes may contribute to this vulnerability and facilitate revictimization.
Given the impact of trauma, terror, and exploitation that parent, step-parent, or live-in partner abuse has on a child, Amazon must stop normalizing these themes. By selling products that promote child sexual abuse, they embrace an exploitative culture and impose preventable harm on vulnerable children and families.Given the impact of trauma, terror, and exploitation that parent, step-parent, or live-in partner abuse has on a child, @Amazon must stop normalizing these themes and must stop selling incest books. Click To Tweet