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Incest- A serious issue

Incest- A serious issue
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ALSO READ: Is sex with step-daughter incest?

Incest is a serious public health issue but it's usually ignored in order to protect involved families. Father and daughter incest is common in many African countries and as Allan Kimani, a counseling psychologist at Nairobi Counseling Services explains, many incest victims suffer from Stockholm Syndrome where they develop irrational empathy for their assailants.

"Whether the girl is a minor or an adult, consented or not, the girl remains a victim because the father has the upper hand in the illegitimate relationship", says Kimani.

Section 20 and 21 of the Sexual Offences Act stipulates that if two adults of close relation get involved in sex, the two are guilty of incest and can face a jail term of not less than ten years. Consequently, in the case of an adult daughter and the father, the two can be charged in court.

Dr Kevin Wamula, a psychiatrist at Mathari Hospital points out that incest is more of a criminal than a mental illness. He however notes that in extreme cases between a father and daughter, mental evaluation is paramount. "The evaluation can determine whether any of the two is suffering from schizophrenia or any other mental illness," he said.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves. Dr. Wamula advises that should a person detect that they are sexually attracted to close relatives, they should seek either counseling or mental health services to prevent regrettable situations.

Scientifically, a baby conceived out of such a relationship is likely to inherit genetic defects and terminating the pregnancy would be the safer option.

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