Child Sex Trauma myth, a self fulfilling prophecy.
The faulty child sex trauma theory is the cause of child sex trauma.

Children generally do not get traumatized by *consensual adult/child sexual experiences. Rather the trauma is caused  by the reaction of parents, peers, teachers,  police, and, yes, therapists. Therapy is often traumatizing.

This conclusion is so drastic and shocking that even we, at Human-Stupidity.com only recently understood the profound implications. The hysterical falsification of science doesn’t just put men in prison with draconian punishments, it actually causes damage to children it purports to protect (compare also Milton Diamond) .

Prohibition of adult/child sexual contact must be justified on ethical, not on scientific grounds. In other words, don’t use false science to justify your moral rules. Disclaimer

Finkelhor (1979) proposed an ethical justification for prohibiting adult/child (defined as a prepubertal youngster) sexual behavior. The reason for using an ethical justification was that the justification based on psychological harm lacked cogency. According to Finkelhor, it was empirically weak since "it is possible that a majority of these children are not harmed" (p.693

Forcible, non-*consensual CSA (Child Sex Abuse), of course, is very different.

From the child’s point of view and from the commonsense point of view, there is an enormous difference between intercourse with a willing little girl and the forcible penetration of the small vagina of a terrified child. One woman I know enjoyed sex with her uncle all through her childhood, and never realized that anything was unusual until she went away to school. What disturbed her then was not what her uncle had done but the attitude of her teachers and the school psychiatrist. They assumed that she must have been traumatized and disgusted and therefore in need of very special help. In order to capitulate to their expectation, she began to fake symptoms she did not feel, until at length she began to feel truly guilty for not having felt guilty. She ended up judging herself quite harshly for this innate lechery (cited in Schultz, 1980, p. 39).   Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman: Politically Incorrect – Scientifically Correct

In addition to such anecdotal evidence, research with large samples clearly showed that many children did not get harmed by such adult/child sexuality. Disclaimer

But sex, in general, is not like being mauled by a dog or torture, which are always painful and traumatic. Sex is often just the opposite–the most pleasurable experience one can have. It therefore cannot be assumed a priori that a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old, for example, will react with trauma rather than pleasure just because his or her partner is older. In fact, teens of this age often do not react as the orthodoxy insists they must, as the following example illustrates. It was related by Dan Savage, in relation to the attacks on our study, in his nationally syndicated column “Savage Love” (July 29, 1999):

Why is this controversial? Speaking as a survivor of CSA at fourteen with a twenty-two-year-old woman; sex at fifteen with a thirty-year-old man–I can back the researchers up; I was not traumatized by these technically illegal sexual encounters; indeed, I initiated them and cherish their memory. It’s absurd to think that what I did at fifteen would be considered “child sexual abuse,” or lumped together by lazy researchers with the incestuous rape of a five-year-old girl.
The Condemned Meta-Analysis on Child Sexual Abuse

(The Child Sex Trauma Myth #6)

This is the 6TH in a series of articles about the Child Sex Trauma Myth
(#1 disclaimer, #2, #3, #4, #5)

Unlike Susan Clancy, who stumbled upon the truth and partially retracted:

  • Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman are the intellectual academic elite,
  • worthy of being published in the top journals of the American Psychological Association and
  • worthy of being unanimously condemned by US congress and senate

Such research and its unpopular results are absolutely taboo and verboten

  

On July 12th, this year, the United States House of Representatives voted 355-0 (with 13 members voting "present") to condemn our study entitled "A meta-analytic examination of assumed properties of child sexual abuse using college samples," published in Psychological Bulletin. The Senate quickly followed suit. To our knowledge, never before in the history of this country has a scientific publication been so treated. Over the next half-hour we will describe the sequence of events and the forces behind this unprecedented occurrence.

These studies were not meant to justify or legalize adult-child sex. (Disclaimer)

Rather the repressed memory craze had given rise to a great number of ruinous court cases and false accusations and convictions. Rind, Tromovich, and Bauserman were testing, and discrediting, the underlying theory that Child sex abuse is immensely traumatic. (Google "Loftus repressed memory" for more)

From the early 1980s through the early 1990s, day care workers at dozens of sites around the country were arrested and prosecuted on charges of such crimes as sexually assaulting dozens of children in their care, ritually sacrificing babies, torturing children with weapons, and mutilating animals to scare the children into silence. Almost all of these cases have now been discredited, viewed as the result of a system gone haywire. During the same period, thousands of patients across the country were "recovering" so-called repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse and sometimes satanic ritual abuse during therapy, resulting in numerous lawsuits against parents and other adults. Diagnoses of multiple personality disorder (MPD) were skyrocketing. The validity of these phenomena are now in serious dispute, owing to extensive research demonstrating the malleability of memory and the power of social influence in the therapeutic setting.

What these cases had in common is the belief that CSA is so traumatic that it produces severe psychopathology. In brief, the thinking goes, memories of the event are repressed as a coping mechanism, but nevertheless produce overt symptoms, which can only be relieved by retrieving the memories.

Source: The clash of media, politics, and sexual science: An examination of the controversy surrounding the Psychological Bulletin meta-analysis on the assumed properties of child sexual abuse. Paper presented at the 1999 Joint Annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, St. Louis, MO

The Rind Study, a scientific meta-analysis, arrived at politically very incorrect results.

Our basic conclusion was that most previous reviews had overstated the scientific evidence of CSA’s negative potential. In particular, we concluded that:

(a) the causal role of CSA in producing harm was unclear because of consistent confounding with other variables;

(b) the intensity of negative correlates was [page 212] weak on average;

(c) negative reactions and effects were far from pervasive, and

(d) the experience of CSA was not equivalent for males and females (only a minority of males reacted negatively, whereas a majority of females did).
Science versus orthodoxy: Anatomy   of the congressional condemnation of a scientific article

And had amazing effects:

In July 12, 1999, the United States House of Representatives took an historic step toward censorship of scientific findings when it voted 355 to 0 to condemn and censure a scientific publication because the members disagreed with the findings and believed that they would have a negative effect upon citizens’ thoughts and actions.

The paper, published a year earlier in the American Psychological Association’s journal Psychological Bulletin (July 1998), by Bruce Rind of Temple University, Philip Tromovitch, and Robert Bauserman was titled, "A Meta-analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples." This paper was basically a review and analysis of fifty-nine previous research studies of the consequences of sexual molestation of children.

The congressional members found some of the findings personally repugnant, particularly the conclusion that some molested children grow up to be normal and a small portion are seemingly little affected by this experience. The members, especially Rep. Salmon (an Arizona Republican and a sponsor of H. Con.Res.107) believed that the findings would not only encourage pedophilia among United States citizens, but the findings could not be true. The Representatives’ thinking appeared to be a demonstration of what Donald Watson (1993) called "Autistic Certainty" ("I would not believe something that was not true; I believe this is not true, therefore this must be untrue").
The Congressional censure of a research paper: Return of the inquisition?

 

 

[...]First, the blanket statement that the sexual abuse of children is harmful to its victims is false. And its falsity has been attested to since the "discovery of child sexual abuse." For example, in 1975, David Walters identified as one of the major myths surrounding CSA was that it caused lasting psychological harm. He asserted that what harm may be experienced by the child was due to factors extrinsic to the sexual abuse itself:

 

Most of the psychological damage, if any, stems not from the abuse but from the interpretation of the abuse and the handling of the situation by parents, medical personnel, law enforcement and school officials, and social workers (p. 113).   Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman: Politically Incorrect – Scientifically Correct

Is it a sign of our days that science needs to be manipulated to justify our moral ethical feelings. Adult child sex may be prohibited for ethical moral reasons, without needing to resort to scientific psychological reasons.

Four years later, Finkelhor (1979) proposed an ethical justification for prohibiting adult/child (defined as a prepubertal youngster) sexual behavior. The reason for using an ethical justification was that the justification based on psychological harm lacked cogency. According to Finkelhor, it was empirically weak since "it is possible that a majority of these children are not harmed" (p.693).

 

 

Of significance is the fact that the weight of the evidence, when objectively considered, has supported the notion that CSA is neither necessarily nor typically harmful. For example, Constantine (1981) reviewed 30 studies. He found that

20 report at least some subjects without ill effects; 13 of those conclude that, for the majority of subjects, there is essentially no harm; and six even identify some subjects for whom, by self-evaluation or other criteria, the childhood sexual encounter was a positive or possibly beneficial experience (p. 224). [...]

Similarly, Browne and Finkelhor (1986) reviewed 28 studies. They found that among adults who had experienced CSA less than 20 percent evidenced serious psychopathology. They noted with concern the efforts of child advocates to exaggerate the harmful effects for political purposes because of its potential to harm the victims and their families: [...]

the empirical evidence gives no reason to consider CSA as necessarily or even usually harmful.

Second, based on their findings, Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman made the important recommendation that the scientific community use more neutral terms to study the phenomena of adult-child and adult-adolescent sexual behavior. In their view, abusive sexual behavior would be reserved to situations involving an unwanted sexual encounter with negative reactions
Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman: Politically Incorrect – Scientifically Correct

. Human-Stupidity alone assails the feminist and politically correct language manipulation that purposefully obfuscates terminology such as *child, *rape, child porn, *consent in order to make any rational discussion impossible.

See the recommendations in

Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman: Politically Incorrect – Scientifically Correct

Why, then, might many in the scientific and professional community take the position that CSA is harmful and ignore the suggestion for the use of more neutral terminology in the study of CSA? Part of the answer, I believe, is the effort to avoid being vilified by the victimologists. Their attacks on anyone who seeks to bring a measure of rationality and objectivity to this problem is well known (Okami, 1990; Neimark, 1996). Consequently, anyone who calls for rationality and objectivity with respect to CSA will typically preface their remarks along the line taken by Seligman (1994): "So this preface: I believe sexual abuse is evil. It should be condemned and punished" (p. 232).

But there is an additional reason – money. As noted by Dineen (1999), the psychology industry (which she defined broadly to include psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, clinical social workers and psychotherapists) needs victims to justify the expansion of its domain and, thus, it "manufactures victims." A similar point was made earlier by Tavris (1993) with respect to the incest-survivor recovery movement. CSA is a problem widely exploited by professionals according to Costin, Karger, and Stoesz (1996): [...]

 

Recommendations

Rather than distancing itself from the Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman study, the APA as well as the scientific and practice communities could have used the opportunity to:

1. Educate the community about the myths surrounding the problem of CSA. This includes laying to rest the myth that because a sexual activity violates a moral and/or a legal code that it is thereby necessarily or even usually psychologically harmful. In other words, it is time, as suggested by Rind and Tromovitch (1997), to stop equating wrongfulness with harmfulness in sexual matters.

The perpetuation of this myth is unethical and has possible iatrogenic effects, as noted sometime ago by Schultz (1980). He wrote:

We seem to arbitrarily create "norms" for minors and then justify departures from them as traumatic. Such fabrication is professionally unethical and possibly damaging to minors involved in sexual behaviors with others. What inappropriate trauma ideology does is to pit the professional (true believer) against the child or the parents who may feel differently. The risk is that a type of self-fulfilling prophecy emerges that manages to produce the problem it claims to abhor, but which it, in fact, must have in order to sustain the ideology it is based upon (p. 40).

An example of this "pitting" of the professional against the child was provided by Germaine Greer in 1975. She wrote of the experience of one of her school friends:

 

 

 

 

2. Undertake research in the area of adult/nonadult sexual behavior that is shorn of the ideological bias that has contaminated much of the research in this area. A beginning move in this direction necessitates limiting the label "child sexual abuse" in the scientific literature to those instances where the sexual behavior is abusive. Abusive sexual activity can be defined as an unwanted sexual experience that may involve coercion, threat, and/or demonstrable harm.

3. Stop automatically referring the sexually abused for therapy. CSA is not a psychiatric disorder or a syndrome (Finkelhor, & Berliner, 1995). Rather it is an event or series of events in a person’s life. Treatment is indicated only when there is a currently demonstrable harm. To treat the asymptomatic child/adolescent is comparable to a physician treating child/adolescent for bicycle accidents. Many who have a bicycle accident do not require treatment. When they do need treatment, it is for the clinical condition rather than the event responsible for that condition. In other words, the asymptomatic child or adolescent should not be treated.

However, even when there is demonstrable harm, treatment should be recommended only with caution since it may, as pointed out by Seligman, only worsen the harm by interfering with the natural healing process. According to Seligman, the overreaction of parents and police, and early therapeutic intervention to undo "denial," and later therapeutic intervention to recover the "repressed" memory and then reliving the experience may do more harm than good. Thus, he recommended to parents whose child has been abused or who were themselves abused that they "turn the volume down as soon as possible" (p. 235).

The excessive and unnecessary provision of CSA treatment also takes resources from other victims and other victim needs (Costin et al., 1996). Lastly, and most importantly, it also makes the accurate evaluation of treatment effectiveness impossible since the treatment pool is contaminated by including those who do not need treatment in the first place.

4. Advise prospective clients of the risks of serious side-effects associated with therapy. They have the right to know the probabilities of a successful outcome versus a non-successful outcome, i.e., of getting worse and of not improving. Prospective clients have a right to know whether the treatment they are to be exposed to is empirically validated, is still experimental or has been discredited by sound research. With this information, prospective clients can make an informed decision as to whether or not to subject themselves or their children to the risks associated with therapy.

Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman: Politically Incorrect – Scientifically Correct

Thomas D. Oellerich
Sexuality & Culture, 4(2), 67-81 (2000)
©2000 by Transaction Publishers.

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4 Comments

  1. Eric says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    “It is a sign of the times that science must be amended to justify our moral and ethical feelings.”

    That’s exactly what science was during the Mediaeval period. Further proof that we are closer socially to the 11th century than the 21st.

  2. Lara says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation. ” -Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler, Publ. Houghton Miflin, 1943, Page 403

    Everything that surrounds those that commit sex crimes or crimes against the state come from this basic truth about the collective mind of the public. For if you can make one group precious and one expendable because of that. The in-fighting that will commence will shadow the sinister moves and outright destruction of our human and civil rights until there is nothing left.

  3. admin says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    nice blog, http://www.wisconsinreform.org

    Liked your link here

    Keep visiting and commenting here.

  4. george says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    why dont we hear much about child psychical abuse any more. maybe that does not sell so many papers to the masses who lust for titillating stimuli that they can disavowal into paedo hunting hysteria.the original age of concent law was drafted to combat pre marital sex not because it caused some sort of a trauma.if sex at a young age always causes trauma i feel sorry for the girls who used to marry at 12.

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