If you were making love to your brother or sister, would you advertise it publicly? If you were a father making out with your own daughter, would you put out a website to show yourself doing it, then write an article about it?
Most of us shudder at the very idea of this taboo practice. And most newspapers don’t cover the story unless it involves a sensational case. But the fact remains that incest is one of the most serious and prominent types of child abuse.
Incest is a serious problem. Dick Cheney may joke about its prevalence in West Virginia, but the problem is everywhere. Rural communities can’t hide it; it’s part of the culture in some places. People suspect, but turn away. It’s certainly in the media.
Television has usually treated incest either as comedy or something dark and forbidden. It has been on daytime soap operas like “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light.” Cartoons like “Family Guy” make jokes about it. Then there are the late-evening, edgy dramas like Nip/Tuck that dealt with it up front and personal. But YouTube?
When families get together over the holidays, bad memories can come up and take over the atmosphere. Brothers and sisters sit at the table, some knowing that their relationships haven’t always been as publicly serene as they seem. One author investigated the troubling pattern in families, noting that sex between brother and sister, that often starts in childhood, isn’t about sex but control. “When brothers press their sisters for sex, the girls are preyed on by a person who has a mandate to give them unquestioning love and support,” Randall writes.
That power and control made public should be a real concern. That’s because YouTube, and channels like them, observe that they enforce certain ethical codes. Incest creates significant emotional problems for victims, and many young girls who enter prostitution were raped by fathers or siblings. As the BBC describes the problem, it can also create problems within families that can last generations.
Technical material, investigative journalism, serious professional discussion takes place about incest, which is where most people think it appropriate. But solicited and shown on YouTube, when its standards maintain care and caution on sexual matters, is outside what many people would likely expect.