It is a sordid crime committed by fathers against their own children who find themselves trapped in painful circumstances beyond their control.
Incest remains very much a silent crime, committed behind closed doors and under the noses of mothers who pressure the helpless victims not to reveal the family's dark secret - lest they send the breadwinners to jail.
But this would not be the case if members of the public and teachers were more alert to the early signs of apparent child abuse in their neighbourhoods or schools.
The sentencing in the Johannesburg high court this week of a policeman father to three life terms for raping his two young daughters should sensitise communities into breaking the wall of family silence around this crime.
The increasing number of brutalised children bodes ill for the future of our society.