Thursday, February 4, 2010

Phillips Experience One Bad Example

Actress Mackenzie Phillips has gotten back into the news by revising her story about her relationship with her father.

Phillips, 49, described her sexual relationship with her father as consensual in her memoir "High on Arrival," which was published last year.

However, reported Wednesday she said on Joy Behar's HLN chat show that she didn't categorize the relationship properly in her book and that her father actually raped her.
Assuming everything Phillips has told the world is true, then the first time was rape. It sounds like both she and her father were on mind altering substances and that she was passed out. If she was passed out, she couldn’t have consented.

Although young, she was an adult. Her father’s poor parenting, including exposing her to drugs while she was very young, made him a horrible parent, and certainly he was wrong to take an unconscious woman. But sometime along the ten years of physical interaction between them as adults (such as when she woke up during the first event), her ability to say “no” kicked in – and she didn’t say “no” for ten years. She chose to be around her father, and she chose to engage in that behavior with her father. He’s dead, she’s alive. It sounds like she has been under tremendous pressure to deny that any of it was consensual.

"I'd like to reframe my word, 'consensual,'" Phillips said. "As I was writing the book, I thought, this word, it kept sitting wrong with me, but I used it for lack of a better word, and since then I've been schooled by thousands of incest survivors all across the world that there really is no such thing as consensual incest due to the inherent power a parent has over a child."
It is wrong to say that there is no such thing as a consensual consanguineous sex. Look around, and you will find happy situations.

Most parents wish they had power over their children, even as adults, in matters serious and trivial - but they don't. Also, there is almost always a power differential in sexual relationships. The strength of the physical attraction may be different, one partner has more potential partners from whom to choose than the other, they have different personalities and experiences, one has more money or power than the other.

Phillips is unlikely to be contacted by those with positive experiences in consanguineous love. She is hearing from a lot of people, most of them who has been abused or raped, especially as minors, and were hurt by their experiences, even if they were adults who were not raped or abused.

Consanguineous, adult sex can be a wonderful experience, as can loving relationships in which it takes place. However, it isn’t for everyone. You are unlikely to hear much about the good experiences because those who speak up risk persecution, derision, and criminal charges.

Unfortunately, Phillips’ experiences are likely to be used by bigots to deny the freedom to marry to consenting adults. While I hope she is getting all of the help for her bad childhood and substance abuse that she needs, I also pray she will be more careful in her public statements. Nothing should stand in the way of consenting adults who love each other.
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