Thursday, September 20, 2012

Did Valerie Spruill Experience GSA?

Most people who experience Genetic Sexual Attraction are aware of their genetic relationship, or have reason to believe it is a possibility. Others, though, fall in love with a strong feeling of attraction, build a life together, even marry and have children only to discover their close genetic relation later.

I like to point out that what matters most is how the people in any relationship treat each other. If they are right for each other, if they love each other, if they treat each other well, what does it matter what their races, genders, ages (provided they are adults), or level of consanguinity are?

Bob Dyer, Akron Beacon Journal columnist (Ohio, USA), brings is the story of Valerie Spruill and the marriage she had. It starts off with a negative approach...

Valerie Spruill (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal)

The next time you think you’re having a bad day, image how Valerie Spruill felt when she discovered that her husband and her father are the same person.

And what exactly is the problem? I know there are people going "eew!" but why? They aren't attracted to their fathers or daughters because the Westermarck Effect has repelled them. Or they hate their father or daughter. But that wasn't the case here. They were attracted to each other and loved each other. So what is the problem?

It wasn't until after her husband died that a relative told her that her husband was her genetic father and Valerie was able to confirm with DNA evidence.

Not that her life had been a breeze four decades earlier when she found out at the age of 9 that the man she thought was her father was actually her grandfather, and that a person who had been identified as a “family friend” was actually her mother.

Spruill didn’t learn until later that her mom also was one of three “night ladies,” as she terms it, who testified in the infamous 1980 corruption trial of Summit County Probate Judge James Barbuto.

Why would anyone volunteer this kind of information?

Because Valerie Spruill wants to be an example. The 60-year-old Doylestown woman wants to show other folks born into miserable situations that they can still lead good, productive, fulfilling lives.
Good for her!

Now retired, she worked for 34 years in the accounting department at Goodyear. She has three kids and eight grandkids.

Again, good for her!

Fortunately, Spruill has been working with a therapist since she found out. She praises the therapist for helping her realize she did nothing wrong.
 Of course she didn't.
The man in question, Percy Spruill, died in April 1998 at the age of 60. Born in Mississippi, he worked in Akron as a truck driver and, later, as a parking-lot attendant at Morley Health Center.

He and Valerie’s mother hooked up when he was only 15.

We’re not sure how many offspring Percy Spruill helped produce, but at one point, apparently, he figured that one of them would be a suitable spouse.

Although Valerie says she is not 100 percent certain he knew, because he never talked about it, she strongly believes he was aware of the taboo he had committed but was simply afraid to tell her.
If they loved each other, why did it matter? The article does not mention him being a bad partner.

The article does not mention other marriages or relationships or how old they were when they were married, but I would think it would have mentioned that she had all or any of her three children with him if she had.

The story was picked up by, which calls the story "horrifying." It was then picked up by and, which brought up the case of our friends James and Maura.'s Yvonne Jessey cites this story to advise people to know their family history.
Not too many people know every single person or know of everyone in their family tree. I strongly suspect that this will become further complicated when all those babies conceived by artificial insemination grow up and go out into the world, not knowing who is their biological parent or if that parent had other children. The chances for committing incest are astronomical...
Everyone points and gawks. But what was the problem, really? It is all really unnecessary. As long as they enjoyed each other, which should some lingering, outdated taboo mar that memory? Other than the stigma, there isn't anything that was actually harmful about their relationship. The stigma serves no valid purpose, so the stigma shouldn't be perpetuated.

Finally, note that Ohio does not criminalize consanguinamory between consenting adults except when it comes to parents with their adult children. In other words, siblings, uncles & aunts with their nieces and nephews... that's legal, but parents with their adult children is still illegal, presumably because of Discredited Argument #20 (power differential). But he never functioned as her father and she didn't know he was her father, so he didn't have that power over her.
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