The question "why is incest illegal" is complicated, though the incest taboo is generally universal it's imposed differently in different societies. There is contradictory scientific evidence that inbreeding increases the risk for genetic disorders. No one study is definitive, and most do not take compounding — continued breeding within the same family line — into account.
"Incest" is the sexual relations between persons who are so closely related their marriage is illegal or forbidden by custom, or the statutory crime of sexual relations with such a near relative". Father-daughter and stepfather-daughter incest is the most commonly reported, but mother/stepmother-daughter/son incest is not uncommon.
There is research which suggests that forty percent of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members, and possibly 20 million Americans alone have been victims if incest. Incest as a from of child abuse is still one of the most under-reported crimes in the nation, and the world. It is still one of the least talked about, despite the media attention it has gotten over the last few years, the spread of internet forums where people often speak of their experiences anonymously, and celebrities who have spoken publicly of incest from their past.
There are a variety of Web sites available via search engines for questions on sexual abuse, or child abuse and incest. Should you feel you are being sexually abused, or know someone else who is, please consider reporting it to local authorities or social services or child protective services.
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