Analecto

5 de julho de 2019

What I learned from “An Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Based on Nonclinical Samples”.

Filed under: Notícias e política, Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , — Yurinho @ 12:59

“An Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Based on Nonclinical Samples” was written by Bruce Rind, Robert Bauserman and Philip Tromovitch. Below, what I learned by reading this text.

Moral panic.

The topic of sexual experiences in childhood or adolescence became relevant from the second half of the 1970s. The concern over child sexuality is typically American and spread to other countries from United States. This concern became a moral panic which infected science. It created the idea that adult/child sex, for example, is inherently harmful. Assuming harm is an attempt to turn a moral problem into a medical problem. And now, in the clinical field and among laymen, it is commonly believed that sexual experiences in childhood or adolescence are harmful, with frequent and intense harm for both boys and girls. For most people, such experiences are child sexual abuse. Which is true… for subjects in clinical or forensic populations. Some scholars even went as far as to say that all the problems that an adult could have are caused by a sexual experience in childhood or adolescence. By working with such assumption, we may end up offering a wrong treatment to victims of abuse. When a therapist uses pseudoscience, the patient comes out worse than when he entered.

There is a “child abuse industry”: people who profit from child abuse. The fight against child physical abuse and child verbal abuse isn’t profitable, but fighting child sexual abuse sells like water in a desert. That creates a sense of alarm in the population and democratic institutions. Remember Janet Reno? As sexual abuse causes more public outrage, companies and non-profit initiatives who advocate children’s rights focus on this form of abuse, leaving aside problems that are statistically more serious, such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, and parental neglect of children and adolescents. That’s not right: you should fight sexual abuse without neglecting other forms of child abuse. Otherwise, one type of abuse will distract us from fighting other types.

Abuse as a concept.

Let’s dare to ask: is it true that a precocious sexual experience is often traumatic, whether you are a boy or a girl? Researchers are not unanimous about precocious sex being inherently harmful. Do they all deserve to be called “abuse”? Or is this label being misused? Do not underestimate the power of a label. The prevalence of child sexual abuse varies from study to study because the definitions of child sexual abuse vary from study to study: what is considered abuse, when something is sexual and how old a person has to be to be considered a “child”? If the label is inaccurate, studies who use that concept will also be. When a child or adolescent has a sexual contact, but does not suffer as a result of the contact, which may have been consented to, what has been abused: the person or the prevailing moral code? Is the indiscriminate use of that term (abuse) to describe all of these contacts objectionable? Certainly, however, the use of moral terms as if they were scientific undermines the objectivity required by science. The indiscriminate use of such term predisposes us to a negative judgment of all such experiences, even the innocuous ones. Moreover, such misuse of negatively charged terms leads us to presume that violence was made to the minor, even in cases where such violence did not occur.

This is important because violation of moral standards does not necessarily harm anyone. Something can be “wrong” and be innocuous. When a person who has had a sexual contact in childhood or adolescence develops mental problems in adulthood, we tend to think that the “loss of innocence” is to blame, but we are actually supposed to look for alternative causes as well, such family environment, which may be more plausible causes. Caution is needed before attributing such imbalance to the contact. That’s because the effect of a sexual contact in childhood or adolescence is mediated by non-sexual factors: it is not the fact that the contact was sexual, but whether or not it was voluntary, whether or not it was painful, whether or not it caused shame or guilt. The damage depends on the context in which the contact occurs (if it was forced, painful, shameful, among other conditions).

Scientifically, “abuse” is the term designed to describe conduct that is likely to harm someone. The term “child sexual abuse” should then be restricted to sexual contacts without voluntary participation of all parties or contacts in which pain or shame were factors, as these are almost always harmful, either physically or mentally. Not all sexual experiences in childhood or adolescence deserve to be labelled “child sexual abuse”, since a considerable number of such contacts are neither forced nor harmful. The term “child sexual abuse” should only be used if the experience has been negative or if the child was coerced into it.

Methodology problems.

In a qualitative research, the researcher describes his findings narratively, not mathematically. As statistical studies sometimes validate narrative studies, both types of research should complement each other. The problem with qualitative studies is that, because they are offered in a narrative way, the author’s prejudices can be transmitted to the text. This, coupled with problems such as skewed sampling, makes qualitative research results inconsistent: each researcher concludes differently from the other. For example: if you are going to study child sexual abuse, or “adult/child sex”, you are not supposed to study only subjects in therapy for recovery of abuse effects, because you are only studying subjects who suffered from the contact, deliberately closing your study to people who have a different narrative. By emphasizing only negative occurrences, the person you are talking to will only remember negative occurences. It is not possible to know the nature of sex using clinical samples, unless we want to conclude that sex is harmful.

Meanwhile, someone who studies only positive accounts of adult/child sex has incurred in the same problem. Both will have skewed results, after skewing their samples, even if they interview three million people, because, if your sample is skewed, the number of people you interviewed doesn’t matter. Such studies, therefore, are not generalizable. If you need to conduct your study with a limited population, why not use a sample of college students, instead of clinical subjects, as the number of positive and negative reactions is more likely to be fairly represented?

This is specially true considering how the contact is experienced between the sexes. The results of a study conducted with girls only can’t be generalized to boys: at least in the case of the boy, voluntary participation in sexual contact in childhood or adolescence is not related to problems in adult functioning. The boy will probably grow normal, provided that the experience was not coercive. The damage most likely will occur if the child or adolescent is forced into the contact, in which case we can safely say they were raped (even though the use of legal terms in scientific works is very strange). The same does not occur with the girl, however, as she may suffer even when her participation is voluntary. Damage becomes even more common in an incestuous configuration.

Sexual behaviors are most often condemned by morals and not by science. Yet, we must remember that there are scientists who are also moralists. Because of that, both masturbation and homosexuality have been considered diseases before. Even oral sex was once considered a sick behavior. Our attitudes both towards masturbation and homosexuality only changed after we started to look into non-clinical subjects. Back when masturbation was taboo, researchers used the fact that most people in therapy also indulged in masturbation as a proof that masturbation causes mental illness. Remember how masturbation was once called “self-abuse.” That caused a moral panic centered on masturbation. People who masturbated feared that such occurrences would cause them ills, but such evils could be caused by their own fear of developing them. Also, it is the fight against masturbation that is behind the American custom of circumcising boys on a large scale. The same process was used to justify the belief that homosexuality is a disease: you only studied homosexuals who were already in treatment to cure their homosexuality, but not homosexuals who were happy with their condition.

The same is done now with precocious sexual relationships. If we want to know the truth about sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence, we need to study children and adolescents in general, not just those in the clinical population (Arreola et al, 2008; Arreola et al, 2009; Bauserman & Rind, 1997; Carballo-Diéguez et al, 2011; Condy et al, 1987; Dolezal et al, 2014; Kilpatrick, 1987; Lahtinen et al, 2018; Leahy, 1996; Mulya, 2018; Rind, 2001; Rind, 2016; Rind & Tromovitch, 1997; Rind & Welter, 2013; Rind & Welter, 2016; Rind et al, 1998; Sandfort, 1984; Sandfort, 1987; Tindall, 1978; Ulrich et al, 2005-2006; Wet et al, 2018). Comparing studies done outside the clinical population, the reader will see that sexual contact in childhood or adolescence not often produces damage, that rarely such damage is permanent, and that boys are less frequently injured than girls. Some people claim that such contacts have had a positive impact on their quality of life. In fact, some children or adolescents who had sexual experiences with an adult patiently wait until the adult has served their sentence, só they can reconcile and continue the relationship. To say that all these contacts are rape is to distort reality.

Confirmation bias.

A therapist who firmly believes that homosexuality is a disease will look for symptoms of such disease, which will make him more likely to blame homosexuality for all the problems that the patient has. The same holds true for a sexual contact in childhood or adolescence. You need to consider the whole history of your patient, rather than paying selective attention to this or that experience. So if a delinquent teenager had sex with his mother once at the age of ten but was beaten by his father every day, do not rush to say that the the incestuous episode is to blame for his delinquency. You can not conclude much if you choose not to pay attention to much. This is a sign of confirmation bias.

Correlation and causality.

Some studies pick subjects who had a sexual contact in childhood or adolescence and say that a percentage of people with a precocious sexual history also tends to have mental adjustment problems… but this does not prove that the contact caused these problems. That does not answer how much of that damage comes from the contact and how much comes from other sources.

For example: in the United States, whites have an intelligence quotient, on average, greater than that of blacks, but blacks are generally less socioeconomically favored as well. So we can not rush to say that such a difference of intelligence quotient is due to race, when it may well be caused by economic differences: if you are poor, you have fewer opportunities for intellectual development, less opportunity to exercise logic and mathematics, necessary for the development of the IQ.

In small communities, there are fewer churches and fewer crimes; in big cities, there are more churches and more crimes. Would you conclude that churches increase the number of crimes committed? However, both things (the number of churches and the number of crimes) are explained by the population density: in a place with a lot of people, there will be a lot of temples and a lot of crime.

In the case of sexual contact in childhood or adolescence, many of the young people engaging in such practice come from dysfunctional families. So how much of the damage attributed to these contacts is best explained by family imbalance? After all, in a bad family, the kid will seek affection from someone outside of home. Interpreting the experience of another person according to your prejudices does not change the experience as the person remembers. So, you are supposed to ask the interviewee how he feels about his sexual contact in childhood or adolescence, not only if he is depressed or stressed, if you want to establish a causal link (a pleasant experience is unlikely to have caused the maladjustment). At the same time, try to seek other explanations for the maladjustment as well. Studies show that a sexual contact in childhood or adolescence cause fewer problems than an unstable family.

We need to separate third variables if we want to know exactly how much damage these contacts cause. Knowing how much damage is attributable to the experience requires probing other variables: among those with mental disorders and a history of precocious sexual contacts, how many of them also suffer from domestic abuse, which could explain both things (the precocious sex and the maladjustment)?

The numbers.

Comparing different studies, we can notice that, outside the clinical population:

  1. 11% of girls react positively to sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence.
  2. 18% of girls react indifferently to sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence.
  3. 72% of girls react negatively to sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence.
  4. 37% of boys react positively to sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence.
  5. 29% of boys react indifferently to sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence.
  6. 33% of boys react negatively to sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence.

Therefore, two-thirds of the boys do not suffer from such contacts, but two-thirds of the girls do suffer. The reaction differences between boy and girl can be explained culturally: boys see sex as an adventure or learning opportunity, but girls see sex as an invasion or something immoral. Another explanation is that girls who engage in sexual experiences in childhood or adolescence tend to have this experience when they are still far too young: a 8-year-old girl having sex with a 30-year-old man is unlikely to enjoy what happened. Plus, girls are also the most frequent victims of incestuous rape. That being said, the high percentage of negative experiences among girls could signal that girls are forced into sex more often than boys.

Cultural considerations.

If you fight for the rights of children and adolescents, do not spend tax money to persecute children and adolescents, because laws against child sexual abuse also convict children who are doing libidinous acts to each other in a context of play (in Brazil, any libidinous act, whether voluntary or not, harmful or not, is punishable if one of the participants is less than fourteen years old, even if both participants have less than fourteen years, which implies that it is forbidden to date before the age of fourteen). Instead of forbidding certain forms of sex, wouldn’t it make more sense to prohibit elements that make sex harmful? One such element that favors harm is ignorance: minors are kept vulnerable because they are not informed about sex, since our society is ashamed to talk about it with them. Another reason why they are not informed is because giving sexual information enables informed consent.

“Children can’t consent” is a statement that relies on the social and legal concept of “informed consent”, that is, we are not talking about consent in the strict sense (permission or initiative), which can be issued by anyone who is able to speak. Furthermore, the presence or absence of informed consent does not predict harm or absence of harm, but the presence or absence of “pure” consent (simple permission or initiative) predicts. If they were informed, they would be able to give informed consent as well and nobody wants that. However, if you don’t talk about sex with your children, you are keeping them vulnerable to sexual advances, as they won’t be able to recognize them and tell them apart from regular affection.

However, of those who suffer from such a contact, most recover, so that permanent harm is a minority occurrence. Now: among those with a history of sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence and mental adjustment problems, how much of their mental imbalance is safely attributable to the sexual contact? Family problems and sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence are two often related occurrences: a toxic family predisposes the minor to seek love from another source. Physical abuse and parental neglect are more harmful than sexual experiences in childhood or adolescence.

Sexual contacts in childhood or adolescence are something that must be studied with reason, not with emotion. Because the sleep of reason produces monsters.

21 de junho de 2019

What I learned by reading “Abuse by definition? The taboo as excuse.”

Filed under: Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , — Yurinho @ 17:30

“Abuse by Definition? The Taboo as Excuse” was written by Frank van Ree. Here’s what I learned by reading this text.

Sexuality and eroticism.

Sexuality is not a property of a specific body part: it’s a phenomenon that has a physical, mental and social dimension. It’s something that is very dear to society, something that most of us feel, to a higher or lesser degree. Sexuality is a phenomenon that can not be ignored and is very present in our lives, even when we are asexual, as we would still have to deal with the sexuality around us.

Strangely, even if sexuality is something só present, it seems that people need mediation to discuss sex: watching a television show about sex is not embarrassing, but it’s weird to talk about sex face to face with someone. So while all media is sexualized, interpersonal relationships are almost never, as if no one wanted to talk about it, except through television, radio or the Internet. Take, for example, pornography. The porn industry makes a lot of money, so there are lots of consumers… but can you point out, for sure, who in your circle of friends consumes pornography? Although sex sells very well, people who consume sexual goods hide the fact that they consume such goods. If you ask “hey, do you watch porn?”and your friends say “no”, maybe you will think “oh, all those pageviews must be mine, then…”

While sexuality is a more physical thing, eroticism is different. Eroticism enables platonic relationships: you like the boy, but you do not want to have sex with him. While sexuality is more about sex and how we deal with it, from the physical, mental and social points of view, eroticism is more about love than sex. Both things can coexist: people have sex with those they love. But such coexistence isn’t mandatory.

Sexual taboos.

“Taboo” is any prohibition that has no rational explanation. Many taboos are sexual. It was the case of homosexuality or certain forms of sex, such as oral or anal. Each culture has its taboos: a form of sexual expression that is taboo here and now may not be in other parts of the world or in other historical periods. The most popular sexual taboo is incest: almost all cultures have restrictions on incest. Breaking a taboo causes shame, guilt and perhaps fear, if there is possibility of punishment.

The strength of a taboo depends on the spirit of the times. Again, homosexuality is an example: there used to be a time when homosexuality was considered a disease. Would not it be ironical if the psychiatrist who tried to treat homosexuality was, himself, a homosexual?

It seems that sexuality automatically brings with it feelings of guilt and shame, at least in the West. But we have to concede that taboos are learned and the child is not born with them. So, sexual shame is a “value” that is transmitted by culture, and that coexists with the unavoidable presence of sexuality, both in the person and in the world they belong in.

Relationships between adults and minors.

Relationships between adult and minor are the last frontier of traditional sexual morality, the last and greatest taboo. The attitude of facing attraction to minors as a taboo originates in United States. For the maintenance of the taboo, it’s important to treat the phenomenon in a simplistic way: it’s always abuse. Some scientists define concepts such as “abuse” before assessing the effects, which is strange, because it is by the effects that we evaluate whether something is abusive or not. However, there is no proof that minor-attracted people are all violent, just as not every heterosexual is a rapist. A number of minor-attracted people even abstain from relationships with children or adolescents because they do not want to expose loved ones to the implicit social risk in such relationships. There is a disparity of power between adult and minor, but also between man and woman. Plus, thirteen-year-old is not a three-year-old; different people have different degrees of maturity and maturing paces, só we can’t generalize children and adolescents as if they were all equally vulnerable.

Still, the media knows that news consumers prefer bad news. So for the sake of the money that comes from a loyal audience, you have to turn headlines into something sensational (sensationalism). This leaves room for exaggeration and promotes exclusion of contrary opinion. Unfortunately, it is not just the media but also scientists who foster an one-sided view of things: they are not interested in evaluating the taboo, but in validating it. Science is not always impartial.

It is difficult to challenge the taboo of relationships between adult and minor primarily because minor-attracted people are forced into silence. This was also the case for homosexuals. The only way to break the taboo is by discussing it. People should talk about it, until it becomes natural to discuss such a subject, creating ground for diverging points of view.

6 de maio de 2019

What I learned reading “Onanism and Sexual Abuse”.

Filed under: Notícias e política, Organizações, Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , — Yurinho @ 09:22

Onanism and Sexual Abuse: A History of Two Obsessions” was written by Agustín Malón Marco. Below, what I learned by reading this text.

  1. The aim of the study is to show how the discourse against masturbation, typical of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, has several characteristics in common with the current discourse against child sexual abuse.
  2. The problem here is that the discourse on child sexual abuse is falling into the same pitfalls in which the discourse against masturbation has fallen.
  3. The main similarities are in the way we deal with the problem, that is, in the means of fighting it.
  4. The problem of child sexual abuse must be understood historically and sociologically, so that our actions return to normalcy, as happened with masturbation.
  5. The greatest family taboo is incest, but it is also the most easily broken.
  6. Contemporary pedagogy is the fruit of new ideologies, new authors, new programs, new institutions, new centers of attention and new obsessions.
  7. Understanding the modern obsession with child sexual abuse requires us to understand our present concept of childhood and its relationship with the concept of family.
  8. The obsession is the result of the synergy between three concepts: childhood, family, sexuality.
  9. Childhood brings sexuality in itself, consequently, it brings sexuality to the family.
  10. We are concerned protecting the child from the sexuality of the world, but we also have the concern to protect the child from his or her own sexuality.
  11. The child has sexuality, but such sexuality can stimulate the child to contract “bad” habits, such as not looking for partners or seeking unacceptable relationships.
  12. The war against masturbation lasted for two centuries.
  13. At first, the bias against masturbation was pedagogical in nature, but then it became a medical concern and a psychological concern: masturbation as a bad habit, then as unhealthy practice, then as mental degeneracy.
  14. Some traces of the past are visible today.
  15. Just as libidinous acts before the age of fourteen are seen as sexual abuse, masturbation was once seen as “self-abuse”.
  16. The adults around the child who is known to practice masturbation are viewed with suspicion.
  17. The ills attributed to masturbation had no empirical foundation.
  18. The evils attributed to relationships between adults and minors are subject to debate .
  19. In the old days, we wanted to protect the boy from himself, but now we want to protect him from others.
  20. This is important because the child does not yet have defenses against attacks from older people.
  21. This kind of relationship is inherently unequal , even more when it occurs in an incestuous setting.
  22. Unless the boy has sufficient knowledge to understand these relationships and to defend himself, he remains vulnerable to the harm that could (not necessarely would) ensue.
  23. The fight against masturbation was a struggle against something natural and normal, but the fight against child sexual abuse is a fight against what could harm the child .
  24. Much of the damage attributed to masturbation was caused by the social reaction to the act.
  25. The same is true for relationships between adults and minors: some minors do not want to break up such relationships and only begin to suffer when others find out.
  26. The legal process in which the minor will have to participate can be traumatic in itself.
  27. But to say that some relationships between adult and minor are harmless is politically incorrect.
  28. Nobody is willing to admit that society’s response to adult/child relationships is exaggerated.
  29. Arguing that relationships between adults and minors can be pleasurable to the minor is seen as an excess of liberalism .
  30. The age difference that would be sufficient to qualify a relationship as necessarily negative varies from author to author, from culture to culture.
  31. A feminist who advocates the incest model may say that feminists who disagree with such model are not real feminists .
  32. These feminists who like the incest model (according to which libidinous acts within the family are unacceptable) are also against pornography and prostitution.
  33. They are also against BDSM .
  34. One of the similarities between the war against masturbation and the war on child sexual abuse is the attempt to prevent the phenomenon from occurring or to detect it immediately after it has occurred.
  35. The means to prevent masturbation were exaggerated.
  36. Such means were harmful in themselves.
  37. Likewise, the means we use to prevent sexual abuse are also exaggerated and even controversial.
  38. For example, we teach children to recognize signs that their relationship with an adult is or is becoming sexual, but there are so many signs…
  39. This is aggravated because we have the idea that the worst contact is incestuous, so the boy must learn to police his parents.
  40. Detection is the hardest part.
  41. Because of this, development of detection means is a fertile branch.
  42. They will detect abuse even in a child who has not been abused.
  43. Because the girl often does not tell if something sexual happened to them, it is assumed that the symptomatic girl who denies abuse is lying, as was the case of masturbation, in which, when “signs” of masturbation were detected, it was assumed that the girl was masturbating, as she would never confess that she was masturbating in secret.
  44. These signs of masturbation could be anything from bad sitting posture to the boy’s skin color.
  45. Signs of sexual abuse, what are they?
  46. Can they be safely attributed to abuse or can they also be caused by third variables?
  47. This is even more serious in the United States, where the moral panic about pedophilia has reached the heavens.
  48. Much of the investigation into sexual abuse begins with conviction, intuition, and aims to prove that abuse has occurred, even when it has not actually occurred.
  49. Such attitude also existed in the nineteenth century, when medical professionals were more interested in proving that the girl was fond of masturbation, than actually knowing if she was indeed masturbating (after all, if she were, she would not say).
  50. Such an attitude, to prove that abuse has occurred at all costs, is starting to become unpopular
  51. Many libidinous acts that occur before the age of fourteen are innocent , that is, harmless .
  52. This is because there are factors around the libidinous act that make it positive or negative, for example: age of the participants, level of education of the minor, sexual orientation, personal situation, nature of the act, previous relationship with the adult and repetition frequency.
  53. The fact that a libidinous act was pleasurable in childhood does not prevent its reformulation as abuse after the child grows and reinterprets the experience.

  54. The same was true for masturbation in the past: when the boy grew up and learned that his experience was “actually” damaging or risky, he would, of course, repudiate what happened.
  55. Statistically speaking, a good number of relationships between adult and minor can not be called “abuse” in the strict sense of the term, although this does not invalidate the existence of destructive experiences.
  56. A harmless experience can be sold as negative by making it seem dramatic.
  57. This was also true at that time when mankind was fighting masturbation, because masturbation was seen as the worst thing that could happen to anyone.
  58. The prevalencen rates of masturbation and the prevalence of libidinous acts between adult and minor are enormous, and their deleterious effects are seen as universal (which leads us to question how such a problem was only “discovered” in the last third of the last century).
  59. The prevalence of child sexual abuse varies according to the definition of abuse, which causes some prevalence rates to be really high.
  60. If you include voluntary and harmless experiences under the abuse umbrella, of course you will get high prevalence rates.
  61. If the negative consequences (promiscuity, fear, mood swings, compulsion, hyperactivity, phobias, introversion, guilt, depression, suicidal tendency, fatigue, low self-esteem, fear of men, sexual problems, tendency to excessive alcohol or drug use, suicide, desire to prostitute, personality problems, among others) of these relationships are inevitable and if the prevalence is so high, how come I don’t see traumatized people more often?
  62. The list of symptoms of abuse is based on assumptions taken from the practice of physicians dealing with particular cases, not from studies with solid empirical foundations.
  63. There is no fixed list of signs and symptoms of adult/minor relationships.
  64. In addition, using such a list would obscure other causes for such symptoms, since several causes can reproduce such signs and symptoms (not every depressed or alcoholic person is depressed or drunk because of child sexual abuse, for example).
  65. If the guy has had sex before the age of fourteen, is marginalized, unemployed, poor and depressed, a hysterical clinician could say that the guy has depression because he had a precocious relationship, rather than blaming marginalization, unemployment or poverty.
  66. Assigning a problem to the wrong causes will lead to a wrong treatment.
  67. The belief in the necessarily deleterious potential of early relationships has been elevated to the degree of truth without evidence: it is true that a lot of these experiences are abusive, but to say they are all abusive is an exaggeration.
  68. The root of the movement against masturbation is the institutionalization of the bourgeois way of life: it all began because the rising bourgeoisie valued self-control and focus on the long-lasting pleasure gained through hard work but rejected momentary pleasure and unproductive fun.
  69. So the struggle against masturbation was, at least in the beginning, just a way of passing class values ​​to the next generation.
  70. The bourgeoisie (always active) tried to be the opposite of the feudal aristocracy (indolent).
  71. For the bourgeois could only do two things: to work or to sleep.
  72. For John Money, society’s excessive interest in the problem of adult-child relationships comes from an anti-sexual bias in our society, just as in times of struggle against masturbation (what began as a merely moral matter of class values ​​branched into things like sin, disease and degeneration).
  73. According to John Money, the child abuse industry (companies and other organizations that profit from combating adult-child relationships) is a symptom of the “sexual counterrevolution” fostered by institutions like government and church , manifesting itself in laws through politics .
  74. Whom benefits from such law?
  75. The discussion against the “moral perversion” of our children quickly degenerates into attacks against sexuality itself.
  76. For some, bathing with your own children is sexual abuse.
  77. Because, these people think, the boy can feel pleasure and think that such thing is normal .
  78. Criticism against early relationships may be based on misconceptions about child sexuality.
  79. This combat is profitable and there are people who use it only for their own benefit: if the child sexual abuse industry justifies it’s existence if there is demand for their services, then the demand needs to increase, even if it is the industry itself that has to increase such demand (through alarming campaigns and poorly done studies).
  80. In the future, we may look at our obsession over relationships between adults and minors in the same way that we look at our previous obsession over masturbation.
  81. The obsession with child sexual abuse has led to the hysteria of satanic ritual abuse in the United States and everyone knows what happened .
  82. It seems that, at least in the United States, the pedophile is as rejected as a serial killer or a terrorist.
  83. The problem of child sexual abuse can be used as a distraction , in order to turn people’s attention away from poverty, social inequality or even away from other types of child abuse, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect .
  84. The normal, sly guy can understand that he can also benefit from this moral panic: the mother who accuses her husband of abusing the children to win a custody battle and receive child support, the son who accuses his parents of sexual abuse for get rid of the family, the girl who accuses the teacher because she doesn’t like him or because said teacher does not correspond her feelings for him, it is very hard to lose this kind of case.
  85. The laws have gone too far and are endangering harmless people.
  86. We can’t fight what we don’t understand.

What I learned from “The Worst Combinations of Child Abuse and Neglect.”

Filed under: Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , , — Yurinho @ 09:22

The Worst Combinations of Child Abuse and Neglect” was written by Philip G. Ney, Tak Fung and Adele Rose Wickett. Below, what I learned by reading this text.

  1. Sexual abuse is not the only threat to the child: there is physical abuse, physical neglect, verbal abuse and emotional neglect as well.
  2. Less than 5% of these maltreatments occur in isolation: the mother who beats the daughter may well be the same mother who does not take her to the doctor when she feels pain or who lets her starve to death.
  3. The study’s question: since a child is usually subject to more than one type of abuse at a time, which combinations are the worst?
  4. The worst combination is: physical neglect, physical abuse, and verbal abuse.
  5. This is because the child who does not have their physical needs met, is bullied at home by their parents and, moreover, has to listen to all kinds of swearing and shouting, of course will grow with less enjoyment of life and with lower self-esteem than other children.
  6. Ignoring the child’s feelings and verbally abusing them are more common practices when the child is small.
  7. Mothers who neglect their children will probably abuse them later.
  8. Understanding the effects of child abuse requires understanding the synergy between types of abuse, since one type of abuse rarely occurs in isolation.
  9. Professionals who study child abuse often focus on physical or sexual abuse, so they neglect combinations of types of abuse.
  10. Neglecting a child’s needs before the abuses begin to take place boosts the negative effects of abuse.
  11. To understand the synergy between types of abuse, it is necessary to separate physical from sexual abuse, as well as abuse from neglect.
  12. This is because different types of abuse trigger different types of symptoms.
  13. Physical abuse and verbal abuse occur more often than sexual abuse.
  14. Sexual abuse occurs most in the context where physical neglect also occurs.
  15. Verbal abuse occurs more in the context where emotional neglect also occurs.
  16. The two most harmful types of abuse are physical abuse and verbal abuse.
  17. In the ten worst combinations of abuse and neglect, sexual abuse only appears once, verbal abuse appears seven times, physical neglect appears six times, physical abuse appears five times and emotional neglect also appears five times.
  18. This is not to say that sexual abuse is harmless, but that all forms of abuse are bad, with sexual abuse being only the less frequent form.
  19. Suffering only one type of abuse during childhood is exceptional occurrence, not rule.
  20. As a rule, the abused child is never abused or neglected in just one way.
  21. The child or adolescent who engages in a sexual relationship with an adult may not want to separate from that adult.
  22. The mother who has suffered physical, emotional, or verbal abuse/neglect will probably make her children go through those experiences too.
  23. The child who has suffered physical or verbal abuse thinks more about suicide.
  24. Sexual abuse alone is the least damaging of the five types of abuse, but it becomes particularly damaging when combined with emotional neglect: imagine being raped, telling the incident to your mother, only for her to take no action.
  25. If the girl is supported by the parents at such a delicate moment, she is likely to recover.
  26. Negligence enhances the effect of any abuses that may occur (presumably because the boy feels that, if he can not rely on his parents to protect him, he can not rely on anyone).

31 de março de 2019

What I learned by reading “Immediate and Long-Term Impacts of Child Sexual Abuse”.

Filed under: Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , , — Yurinho @ 21:26

Immediate and Long-Term Impacts of Child Sexual Abuse” was written by John N. Briere and Diana M. Elliott. Below, what I learned by reading this text.

  1. Symptoms of child sexual abuse may appear due to circumstances that have manifested after the contact.
  2. It is not always possible to make a causal link between early sexual experience and a negative symptom, which can be caused by other things.
  3. Child sexual abuse is only one problem: other forms of child abuse, such as emotional abuse and physical abuse, can also damage the child’s adult functioning as he or she grows older.
  4. If you say that precocious sexual contact is not always traumatic, you are unlikely to hear someone say “hey, I agree.”
  5. Much of the studies on children’s sexual experiences use clinical or forensic samples, which have limited generalization potential: there may be children out there who have different histories.
  6. In the case of child sexual abuse, not all children respond to abuse in the same way: it is very difficult, if not impossible, to profile the abused child.
  7. There are children who have sexual contacts in childhood and grow up perfectly normal.
  8. This is because sexual contact varies according to frequency and intensity: fondling is one thing and rape is another.
  9. The presence or absence of a particular symptom does not comfirm nor deny the occurrence of sexual abuse.
  10. The purpose of the study is to describe the symptoms commonly attributed to child sexual abuse but without claiming that all sexually abused children will report such symptoms or that such symptoms can not be caused by other conditions.
  11. Some symptoms of early forced or painful intercourse diminish over time, but other symptoms worsen over time.
  12. One of these symptoms is posttraumatic stress.
  13. The chance of a sexually abused child receiving a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress is 48% greater than the chance of a virgin child receiving the same diagnosis.
  14. One of the iconic symptoms of posttraumatic stress are the hallucinations that occur in such a way that it seems like the traumatic event is occurring again, when it is only a particularly intense memory.
  15. In the case of sexual abuse, hallucinations (which can be visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory or even tactile) can be triggered by things that resemble the abuse, such as sexual arousal itself: imagine reliving a traumatic experience whenever you feel horny.
  16. Another manifestation of post-traumatic stress is the occurence intrusive memories.
  17. Nightmares are also common in people with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  18. Another possible effect of child sexual abuse is cognitive distortion: you learn to see the world as a more dangerous place than it really is, for example.
  19. Another form of this distortion is the attempt to justify what happened, which can lead to self-esteem problems (“I was abused because I deserved it”).
  20. Another possible effect is emotional discomfort , which can take the form of depression or anxiety.
  21. The chance of a raped child receiving a diagnosis of depression is four times higher than that of the child who was not raped.
  22. Forcible or painful experiences are disruptive in nature.
  23. They undermine confidence in the justice in the world.
  24. The chance of a raped child receiving a diagnosis of any anxiety-related illness is five times greater than that of the non-raped child.
  25. In the clinical population, adults who were molested as children have difficulties in exercising their sexuality because they have associated sex with intrusion and pain.
  26. This may even prevent the subject from having orgasms during sex.
  27. Not to mention anger, which is also a type of emotional discomfort associated with abuse.
  28. Generally, victims of sexual abuse do not become abusers themselves.
  29. In other cases, the sexual experiences may be shrugged off the child.
  30. Sexually abused people are more likely to develop substance addictions.
  31. Others kill themselves.
  32. Most cases of underage sex, abusive or not, occur among people who know each other, not among strangers, so that the child probably already knew the other child or adult with whom he or she had the experience.
  33. For example, a lot of those experiences are incestuous .
  34. It is important to remember that data on early sexual relationships try to be generalizable and may not coincide with particular experiences.
  35. Quantitative studies do not take individual pathogenic or protective characteristics into account: each one judges and deals with their experiences in a particular way.
  36. Sexual relationships in childhood or adolescence do not cause “syndromes”, that is, there is no guarantee that the subject will develop all the symptoms commonly attributed to this type of incident and it may even be that the subject develops in a perfectly normal way, despite what happened.
  37. A good number of the subjects who suffer from such experiences may even recover on their own.
  38. On the other hand, the person may develop negative symptoms after an asymptomatic period.
  39. When performing a study on early sexual experiences, try looking for symptoms commonly attributed to this type of experience, and if the subject does not present any , he is asymptomatic.
  40. Certain factors increase the chances of negative outcomes: use of force, incest, frequent attacks, multiple subjects involved, age …
  41. Concomitant abuse, of course, makes things worse: imagine being raped at school and being beaten up by your mother when you get home.
  42. Parents’ reactions can cause or aggravate symptoms related to the sexual experience when such experience is revealed, so it is important for the parent to know how to deal with the situation so as not to make things worse for the child.
  43. Make it clear to your child that he can entrust you with any secrets.
  44. The child’s temperament and past experiences affect the way she handles these encounters.

What I learned by reading “Children’s Disclosures of Sexual Abuse in a Population-Based Sample”.

Filed under: Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , , — Yurinho @ 21:26

Children’s Disclosures of Sexual Abuse in a Population-Based Sample” was written by Hanna-Mari Lahtinen, Aarno Laitila, Julia Korkman and Noora Ellonen. Below, what I learned by reading this text.

  1. Most studies on child sexual abuse are retrospective (adults are interviewed about their childhood experiences) or are focused on children who reported the occurrence ( forensic samples).
  2. Because these methods are not that good, the authors of this study used data collected from children in the general population.
  3. They obtained data on 11,364 children and adolescents between the sixth and ninth year of Finnish elementary education.
  4. Of these, only 2.4% had sexual contact with subjects at least five years older.
  5. Of those 2.4%, 80% tells the experience to other people, but most tell to a friend, not to an adult (48%).
  6. Only 26% shared the experience with an adult.
  7. 12% told the authorities.
  8. 41% of those who did not tell the experience to adults did not do so because they did not think the incident was serious enough to warrant intervention .
  9. Only 14% did not report the experience out of fear.
  10. The primary evidence in cases of sex with minors is the testimony of the minor.
  11. There is no consensus on what counts as child sexual abuse and what does not.
  12. It is harder for a child to reveal that something sexual has happened to her if she does not trust her parents.
  13. Some fear being blamed for what happened.
  14. Boys talk less to adults about their sexual experiences, so a sample with several boys as subjects will have lower percentages of reporting behavior.
  15. Fear and pain increase the chances of complaint: of course the child will tell adults if something serious happens to them.
  16. If the experience is not seen as abusive, it is likely that the child or adolescent had experience with a friend.
  17. Complaint occurs most often among those who feel victimized (because some deny that the experience was negative).
  18. As adults can reinterpret their childhood sexual experiences differently than they interpreted when the experience happened, interviewing children gives us a more accurate picture of what really happened.
  19. The participants’ ages ranged from ten to seventeen (55% of the sixth year, 45% of the ninth year).
  20. Emotional abuse: silence treatment, insult, throwing or kicking things, threatening with violence.
  21. Physical abuse: shoving, pulling, slapping, punching, kicking, spanking, threatening with a knife or a firearm, attacking with a knife of firearm (yes, some parents do that to their children), other forms of violence.
  22. The definition of “sexual abuse” found in the study tries to be as close as possible to the definition used by the Finnish Criminal Code , so the text also considers “harmless” and voluntary experiences as abuse, provided that the age difference is at least five years between the participants.
  23. Despite this, the study probed the child’s impression of the act, that is, it gave the children a chance to say whether they considered the incident to be abuse or not, regardless of what the law says.
  24. The study also looked at the quality of the act, that is, whether the child considered the incident to be positive, negative or insignificant.
  25. Of the 11,364 children interviewed, 256 had sexual experiences with a person at least five years older.
  26. 45% had only one experience, 20% had between two and ten experiences and 13% had more than ten experiences.
  27. Most of the subjects who had such experiences were ninth grade girls.
  28. The mean age of the subject was fourteen years and the mean age of the partner was twenty-three years.
  29. 64% of libidinous acts were between the child and someone who was twenty-years-old or older.
  30. The mean age difference was nine years.
  31. 119 of the children who had sexual experiences with partner five years older also suffered emotional abuse perpetrated by the mother.
  32. The mother physically abuses her children more often than the father.
  33. Only 16% (35 subjects) of the children and adolescents considered the sexual experience as abuse, 51% considered the experience non-abusive and 33% were undecided.
  34. Most libidinous acts were non-penetrative contacts.
  35. The experience was positive for 71% of the boys, but for only 26% of the girls.
  36. 46% of the girls evaluated the experience as negative, against 9% of the boys.
  37. If we sum boys and girls, 34% of the subjects evaluated the experience as positive, 27% as insignificant and 40% as negative, that is, negative sexual experiences with a person at least five years older are a minority phenomenon.
  38. Force, intimidation and blackmail were employed only 20% of the time.
  39. 35% of the experiences were with strangers, 14% with friend, 16% with acquaintance, 8% with romantic partner, 6% with family.
  40. 80% of children and adolescents told the experience to someone: 48% to a friend or parents, 11% to siblings, 6% to others, 5% to teacher, 7% to police, 2% to the school counselor and 4% to social services.
  41. So, only 26% told the experience to adults.
  42. 41% did not tell the experience because they did not think it was something worth mentioning, 14% because of fear, 14% because they did not think anyone would want to listen, 14% because they saw no benefit in telling someone, 10% because of shame.
  43. 8% did not report for other reasons, including “I liked what happened“.
  44. The child who feels abused or undecided about how to feel regarding the experience is most likely to reveal what has happened to an adult.
  45. If the experience is negative, the child will probably reveal what happened.
  46. Disclosure is also more common among young children (under seven).
  47. The child who suffers emotional or physical abuse at home tends more to keep secrecy (perhaps out of fear of the parents‘ reaction).
  48. Reporting is more frequent when the partner is 30 years old or older.
  49. Other factors that encourage reporting are the use of force, violence or blackmail during the contact.
  50. Although a minority of these children and adolescents have told the experience to any adults, the total majority (80%) discloses to someone, even if just to friends.
  51. The definition of “abuse” is different between adults and children, the child does not think that a lot of things that we adults find unacceptable can be regarded as abuse.
  52. For the child, the age difference alone does not automatically turn into “abuse” a given sexual contact.
  53. In the case of adolescents, being called “hot” can be seen as compliment, not asharassment.”
  54. Thus, most cases of adult-child sexual contact may not be too serious.
  55. Child sexual abuse is not on the rise.
  56. Children with special needs are abused more often.
  57. A third of the sexual invitations done to children fail if the child says, “I will tell someone.”

5 de fevereiro de 2018

To Boris.

I received a comment a while ago, it seems, but it ended up in my spam queue. I don’t usually have to moderate comments. In fact, my configurations were set in order to make all comments available as long as Askimet (WordPress’ spam filter) doesn’t think they are spam. I think that the filter accused it of being spam because of the coarse language employed. Anyway, I decided to play it safe and reply to the comment using a post, rather than approving the comment.

As a matter of contextualization, the comment was posted in my notes about Kilpatrick’s article on child sexual abuse research. The person who posted goes by the name of Boris. I would like to start by saying that I hold no hatred towards outraged readers and the guy does show that the issue is important to him, as it should be. It’s actually good that people still have that feeling that protecting children is important, as it must be. There’s no reason to hate or rage at Boris at all. I’ll reply his comment point-by-point, removing the cursing.

Another person seeming to defend child abuse and using “tolerance” as a mechanism to try and defend it.

By no means. The notes were about an article that offers sincere criticism on child sexual abuse research. The problems cited by the author were: poor definitions, sampling problems and incorrect measures. If we want a better understanding on child sexual abuse, those issues must be addressed. The author went to great lengths to prove her point, reviewing 34 studies on the issue and finding out that only 10 of them can be taken seriously. Isn’t that awful? A researcher who aims to promote child safety must be interested in conducting a correct research. That’s what the article is about. It’s not about tolerance, supposedly to child sexual abuse or pedophilia. In fact, the author reviewed one pro-pedophilia article in her research and was honest in saying that the article also had problems and also couldn’t be taken seriously. That means that she rejected the only study about beneficial effects of adult-child sex.

I have seen a teen done that on YouTube and his life is […] since he showdd his face, because of his defense for child abuse & use of comedy on a very disgusting subject…

I have no idea who that is. Perhaps Amos Yee. But I don’t follow him.

And now you are going to do the same thing as those child rapists on YouTube omnipolitics16 and cart ograph? Who are just a couple of sick & twisted cherry picking faggots who defended child abuse on YouTube?

I know Cart o’Graph because his channel is up. It seems inactive, tho. I hear about Omnipolitics16, but he seems to be gone. A lot of people talk about him and troll him up to this day. But I never saw the figure.

Children can’t consent, it causes harm always since a lot of reasearch proved it, imbalance of power since a child isn’t equal to an adult, it hurts the child at the time as well always, and the pornography is not only disgusting but worse!

The article didn’t touch the problem of informed consent at all. Informed consent is a moral issue and the author is bold in saying that she’s not making philosophy (morals). Because of that, she also completely avoids the power disparity issue and the pornography issue. That’s not the point of her article. The question that she asks is close to the point you are making there: “how reliable is that research?” That’s the issue. She wants to know if that research indeed proves anything. If you wish to have an anecdote, I can be called a “survivor” too, if you want to call it that way, but I wasn’t hurt at the time it happened and don’t feel hurt now. In fact, the acts were entirely non-penetrative and done in a playful context. Also, as I’m Brazilian, the acts couldn’t be prosecuted back then, because our age of consent (14) only became absolute in 2009 with the new rape law. Before 2009, the act would only be prosecuted if the act hurt the child or was forced (rape) or if the parents didn’t approve it (“atentado ao pudor”, something like “corrupting public morals”). When the new rape law went in effect, all sexual acts engaged before age 14 were declared violent by definition. Meaning that statutory rape, here, is punished just as, if not worse than, regular rape, even if the act involves two minors and no adult. That made the judges reluctant to apply sentences. There was also a recent attempt at lowering our age of consent to 12 due to the problem of two minors having sexual contacts (because the law criminalizes “libidinous acts” without explaining the term, so “libidinous” varies from judge to judge, with some convicting a father for kissing their children), but the Protestant lobby stopped the proposal. A study that was conducted in Campinas, Brazil, concludes that (quoting the study now):

Of 575 participants (85% men and 15% transgender), 32% reported childhood sexual experiences with an older partner. Mean age at first experience was 9 years, partners being, on average, 19 years old, and mostly men. […] Only 29% of the participants who had had such childhood sexual experiences considered it abuse; 57% reported liking, 29% being indifferent and only 14% not liking the sexual experience at the time it happened.

Recalled Sexual Experiences in Childhood with Older Partners: A Study of Brazilian Men Who Have Sex with Men and Male-to-Female Transgender Persons

Don’t get me wrong, Boris, I don’t think that child sexual abuse doesn’t happen. But given that, at least in my country, considering only man/boy contacts (plus transgender), sexual contacts in childhood only happen with 32% out of 575 persons, with most of it being recalled as positive, I do think that the hysteria is not proportional to the facts.

Do you not reliese the Statements made by child abuse survivors?

I do. But isn’t “57% report liking” worth being taken into account? If that amount doesn’t suffer with the sexual contact, not even after growing up, there’s no reason to prosecute every time it happens. In my country, the prison system is backed up, overloaded. Mass murders happen often in the jails, mass escapes and rescues also happen very often, it costs us more than the maintenance of schools and public healthcare and we are the leading nation in tax acquisition, most of it ends up in the pockets of corrupt politicians. We have a lot of problems here centered in our Penal Code and corruption issues. The 7th most violent city in the world is in our territory and two kids fooling around with each other may land the parents in jail for up to fifteen years and, if the judge decides to sum the jail time for both fooling around more than once, the parents will easily spend more time in jail than a murderer would. The law is effectively criminalizing too much and the penalties are too high and we are paying the price, both in taxes and public safety.

All the videos, all the everything!

I saw those. But if you are willing to listen to negative experiences, why don’t you look for positive ones and give them also a try? They exist in professional literature, such as qualitative articles, I could give you a list of links.

The proof is everywhere for proving sex with children is inherently wrong!

Then again, the point of the article was to see how much of that proof actually proves anything. It was also not concerned with “right” or “wrong”, but with “harmless” and “harmful”.

Like I said in the beginning, no one should be mad at Boris. He shows sincere worry about children. I’m sure that he didn’t mean any harm by saying those things, which were not offensive in the slightest. In fact, a lot of people should care as much as he does. But I do think that his protection is one-sided. While he cares about the ones who had negative experiences, he seems to feel like decriminalization would harm them all, including the ones who had positive experiences and had to keep them as secret. The recent Finnish Child Victim Survey has some odd data, showing that, while most of the kids indeed enjoyed the experience (a little more than half of them), they didn’t disclose it, often because they didn’t feel that it would do any good or because they felt that the incident was of small importance. If the child values the contact, don’t you think that it would be harmful to break in, make the child go through invasive medical exams to determine if abuse took place, make them answer questions to the police, maybe make them attend to trial, even if the older person (who could also be a minor) isn’t convicted?

I think that people in United States should take a look at how other nations, such as Japan, handle with the situation. A lot of nations likely speak English, even if not as first language, that’s why I like to write in Portuguese and English. But, unfortunately, that acts as an one-way filter: people are expected to know everything about United States, starting with their native language, but I don’t see much of an incentive in Unites States to learn about other nations, how they deal with sexuality, for example, or penal matters. That also makes cultural imperialism much easier. United States, in many senses, could learn a lot from other nations that are better developed, in Europe, for example, with a lot of those places having ages of consent of 14 or 15. Many of those countries are better than United States in many senses, so United States shouldn’t be the referee of all world affairs. Americans should look at how other cultures, with lower ages of consent, manage to be stable, more peaceful and more intelectually advanced with such low ages of consent. Maybe a high age of consent is not a solution for child sexual abuse, but rather a problem. If such law could really stop child sexual abuse, how come the five countries with the highest rates of child sexual abuse have ages of consent ranging from 16 to 18? United States is in the list. Brazil, Japan and Mexico are not. Think about it too.

25 de dezembro de 2017

Psychological damage.

About Psychological Damage

A short reply to Doobious Wolf.

Written by me for the readers of Analecto, in hopes of someone showing this to Doobious Wolf.

Resumo.

Em resposta a Doobious Wolf, tento esclarecer por que temos a sensação de dano intrínsceco à relações sexuais entre adultos e menores. Acontece que relações entre adulto e menor não seguem padrões de resultado, isto é, não terminam todas da mesma forma e que, portanto, é um mito sustentar que todas as crianças que se relacionaram com adultos manifestarão os mesmos sintomas. Em adição, crianças que tiveram essas relações e as descrevem como positivas podem ter uma boa memória convertida em razão de ansiedade pela necessidade de esconder o ocorrido e também pela vergonha que acompanha o ato. No entanto, esse é um fenômeno cultural que não é facilmente observado em sociedades mais liberais como o Brasil ou sociedades indígenas isoladas. Donde decorre que só há dano intrínsceco à relações negativas, mas sintomas negativos podem aparecer em pessoas com experiências positivas porque o meio em que vivem rejeita essas relações (vitimização secundária).

Abstract.

In response to Doobious Wolf, I try to clarify why do we feel that there’s intrinsic harm to sexual relationships between adults and minors. What actually happens is that adult-minor relationships don’t follow outcome patterns, that is, they don’t always have the same effect on the minor and, because of that, it’s a myth that all children who had a relationship with an adult will show the same symptoms. Plus, children who had those relationships and regard them as positive can still have a positive memory turned into a source of anxiety due to the need to hide and due to the shame that comes with the act. However, that’s a cultural phenomenon that isn’t easily observed in Brazil or isolated indigenous societies. From which we draw that there’s intrinsic harm only to negative relationships, but negative symptoms may appear on people with positive experiences because their cultural context rejects those relationships (secondary victimization).

The problem.

In a video in which Doobious Wolf replies to relevant comments that he received, he decides to reply to a comment that inquires him about his opinion on the secondary victimization1 of children who had sexual contacts with adults. In the comment, Warz asks Wolf if psychological damage couldn’t be minimized if society didn’t see sex in general as such a big deal.2 In fact, we have many sexual taboos and Warz asks if the adult-child sex taboo could be the cause of many traumas related to sexual contact between adult and minor.

Doobious Wolf then answers that, even if he agrees that children may have physically harmless sexual contacts with adults, he doesn’t discard the possibility of intrinsic psychological damage.3

Before discussing the issue in depth, the video’s author shows that he is up to discussing the subject in an unbiased manner, rather than immediately rejecting the idea of age of consent abolishment (a point defended by Amos Yee). He even did research in APA’s website, listing a number of symptoms related to child sexual abuse, that is: thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, sleep disturbance, eating disorder, poor school performance, isolation, aggressiveness, alcohol/drug abuse and anxiety. I fully agree with him, that is, that abusive contacts are harmful to the minors. However, knowing that:

  1. A fair number of those contacts do not result in harm, including psychological harm,4 often being recalled as “positive”, and

  2. A number of those contacts is not forced,5

It becomes clear that the word “abuse” or “rape” is being misused, whenever it’s used to describe all sexual contacts engaged before age of consent,6 which is fourteen in Brazil (my home country). What I’m going to try is to offer evidence and arguments against the inherent psychological harm thesis.

Argumentation.

When researching long-term effects of sexual contacts involving people below age of consent, it’s important to remember that a symptom isn’t always related to a specific cause. For example: a cough can be a sign of tuberculosis, pneumonia or hay fever.

So, when a child suffers any of the symptoms pointed out by Wolf, the child may be feeling bad for reasons unrelated to the sexual contact, specially if the sexual contact was peaceful and desired, for example, a libidinous, non-penetrative, non-forced, non-reciprocal act.7 Then, a sexual relationship, specially if regarded as positive by the minor, can not be safely assumed as cause of psychological maladjustment in adult life.8 The child may be maladjusted thanks to other childhood problems or even due to problems that only began after the child has become an adult.

When researching effects of sexual abuse, it’s important to look for other causes and to control third variables, such as family environment, psychological stress, bullying, verbal abuse, sexual repression, physical abuse (slipper hits, spanking, belting) and other data that may be relevant.9 A good way to know which variables must be controlled before offering definitive diagnosis is by talking to the minor to see how the minor evaluates the contact, what was the degree of permission given or if the minor started the contact. If the contact has been negative, it’s safer, but not completely safe, to conclude that it’s the cause of maladjustment. To conclude once and for all, it’s needed to ask the minor if the link between maladjustment and contact can be made. In short, the minor should judge the contact, not the therapist.

By not proceeding that way, we risk a wrong diagnosis and, consequently, a wrong treatment, which can cause further problems to the minor.10

Another variable to be considered is the treatment that the minor is receiving for effects. Let’s suppose that a child had a positive sexual contact in childhood, didn’t fight it, welcomed it, to the point of asking for more, but then the child grows up, feels ashamed for his or her behavior, feels that he or she was abused or manipulated. What kind of treatment should that person receive? Susan Clancy suggests that the adult should accept what happened and understand that it’s his or her interpretation of the act that is causing maladjustment and that the adult should leave the incident behind.11 However, Clancy suffered academical and popular persecution, first because there are therapists who work upon the child abuse paradigm, meaning that Clancy’s data could become an economical disturbance, and second because she proposes the acceptance of a socially hideous memory, which wouldn’t be a problem if adult-child sex wasn’t taboo.12

It’s that kind of secondary victimization that Warz is speaking about: the conflict between moral values and personal experience may lead the person to feel immoral for enjoying the “abuse” they suffered, turning a positive experience into source of anxiety. That gives the impression of inherent harm, because that means that negative symptoms can appear both in people with negative experiences and people with positive experiences. But even so, there’s a number of adult-child relationships that are remembered as positive and cause no anxiety even after the minor has grown up.

That leads me to another variable, that is cultural environment. According to Rind Report, 37% of boys and 11% of girls recall their childhood sexual experiences as “positive” (counting the four generic types13 and including child-child contacts),14 but, in a study ran in Campinas, Brazil, that number among boys is 57% (including a single type,15 including only adult-child sex).16 Plus, other cultures who don’t make a big deal about child sexuality, despite being more sexually liberal, aren’t overloaded with traumatized adults,17 with some being pretty peaceful.18 So, we need to evaluate if cultural environment doesn’t play a role in turning positive memories into source of anxiety. That data support Warz’s point, that maybe the taboo (the idea that those contacts are wrong, that all those adults are monsters, that those contacts imply the use of a minor as mere tool for adult satisfaction and other prejudices) plays a role in generating symptoms.

Last, the fact that the number of positive experiences in United States (where are of consent is at least 16) is low, but high in other places (age of consent in Brazil is 14), shows that high ages of consent don‘t keep those contacts from happening,19 but discourages well-meaning adults that could provide a minor of a experience that could even be desired by said minor.20 That’s enough of a rebuttal of the inherent psychological damage to all those contacts, but it’s not a rebuttal of the inherent damage to coerced or negative contacts, which deserve to be called “abuse”.

If we can say that the problem of psychological damage is solved, it’s also needed to pay attention to those symptoms when they spawn on children who were not sexually abused, nor had any sexual contact, even if non-abusive, even with other minors. If we persist in the belief that those symptoms are necessary, at same time that society seems to willingly ignore other possible causes when they start suspecting that abuse took place, we might open the possibility of false accusations of molestation. But truth is that childhood sexual contacts don’t follow outcome patterns21, turning useless any attempt at constructing a fixed list of symptoms to be attributed to every child, specially if the child regards the contact as positive.

The moral panic towards pedophilia is leading us to overprotect our children, causing a rupture between generations: children grow suspicious of adults and adults flee from children. The deprivation of affection between generations harms the minors, who become alienated from adults even in dire situations.22 In the current climate, a false accusation could destroy a person’s life.23 That discourages healthy interaction between adults and minors.

Conclusion.

If positive relationships, which result in non-symptomatic adults, who can function just like any other adults, exist, then the inherent psychological damage thesis is false. However, a person with positive memories can have his experience turned into a source of stress thanks to social reaction to the act, causing feelings of shame and also guilt, if the minor has started the contact. But that’s an environment reaction, meaning that the taboo has a role in the development of negative feelings even in people with positive memories.

I propose that people with positive experiences should have their judgment respected, just as much as those who had negative experiences. In fact, if an experience was positive, it’s pointless to discuss damage; we should discuss the extent of the benefit. Stigmatizing a person with positive experiences, to make them feel bad for what happened, is, also, abuse, because the symptoms wouldn’t appear without someone “interpreting” the experience with different criteria. That also explains why more liberal societies have less sexually traumatized adults. A child with positive experiences, in contact with a society that sees those experiences as taboo, start to feel shame and to hide what was done, maybe finding themselves forced to publicly admit that the experience was abusive, despite their own inner judgment saying it was not. That can’t be healthy. A child with a positive experience was supposed to be able to speak out about those experiences without suffering because of it, just as much as those who report their own negative contacts and receive emotional support.

Finally, that shows that age of consent laws are unable to stop those relationships from happening, but discourage minor-attracted people who mean no harm, as well as positive contacts between minors themselves. Age of consent is supposed to measure a minor’s degree of maturity, but how? How come the age of consent varies from country to country? Is it because children mature faster in Japan or Mexico, compared to United States and United Kingdom? If age of consent doesn’t measure maturity, what does it measure? If it’s a legal concept, it doesn’t have to be included in a debate about psychology, unless we are talking about social impact (like I am doing). If there’s no social element, it would be better to discuss “maturity”, rather than age of consent.

Since I don’t have an YouTube account, I can’t personally show this text to Doobious Wolf. So, if you are reading this and has an account, I would be thankful if you could show this to him.

References.

CARBALLO-DIÉGUEZ, A. ; BALAN, I. ; DOLEZAL, C. ; MELLO, M. B. Recalled Sexual Experiences in Childhood with Older Partners: A Study of Brazilian Men Who Have Sex with Men and Male-to-Female Transgender Persons. Available at: <https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-011-9748-y>. Accessed at: 12/25/17.

CLRESEARCHBLOG. Society’s Stigma of the Act May Account for Large Portion of the Harm. Available at: <https://clresearchblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/08/societys-stigma-of-the-act-may-account-for-a-large-portion-of-the-harm/>. Accessed at: 12/25/17.

D’AGOSTINHO, R. Tribunais Absolvem Acusados De Sexo Com Menor Apesar De Nova Lei. Available at: <http://g1.globo.com/brasil/noticia/2012/05/tribunais-absolvem-acusados-de-sexo-com-menor-apesar-de-nova-lei.html>. Accessed at: 12/25/17.

DOOBIOUS WOLF. Comment Response Time! (12/07/17). Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw5cIBhQ940>. Accessed at: 12/25/17.

IACCINO, L. Child Sexual Abuse: Top 5 Countries With The Highest Rates. Available at: <http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/child-sexual-abuse-top-5-countries-highest-rates-1436162>. Accessed at: 25/12/17.

IPCE. Hysteria is Dangerous: Did Pedophilia Hysteria Cause Child’s Death?, in Ipce Newstletter, n° 30. Available at: <https://www.ipce.info/newsletters/newsl_pdf/Ipce%20Newsletter%20E%2030.pdf>. Accessed at: 25/12/17.

LEAHY, T. Sex and The Age of Consent: The Ethical Issues, in Social Analysis, n° 39. 1996.

LISBOA, F. S. Resenha do Filme “A Caça”. Available at: <https://psicologiadospsicologos.blogspot.com/2014/08/resenha-do-filme-caca.html>. Accessed at: 25/12/17.

O’CARROLL, T. Paedophilia: The Radical Case, in Contemporary Social Issues Series, n° 12. Londres: Peter Owen, 1980.

PEDOSEXUAL RESOURCES DIRECTORY. The Sexual Interest of the Pedophile, in Archive.org. Available at: <https://web.archive.org/web/20071219095524/http://www.paedosexualitaet.de:80/pedo/interest.html>. Accessed at: 25/12/17.

PRESCOTT, J. W. Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence. Available at: <http://violence.de/prescott/bulletin/article.html>. Accessed at: 25/12/17.

RIND, B. ; BAUSERMAN, R. ; TROMOVITCH, P. A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples, in Psychological Bulletin, volume 124, n° 1, pages 22 to 53. American Psychological Association, 1998.

RIVAS, T. Positive Memories: Cases of positive memories of erotic and platonic relationships and contacts of children with adults, as seen from the perspective of the former minor, 3rd Edition. Ipce, 2016.

ZUGER, A. Abusing Not Only Children, but Also Science. Available at: <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/health/26zuger.html>. Accessed at: 12/25/17.

1Secondary victimization: a type of psychological damage that isn’t caused by an act per itself, but by environment reaction to the act (in this case, a child who has a sexual relationship with an adult and enjoys what happened, but ends up suffering with parent reaction, with the feeling of shame that is attributed to the act, with the medical exam for detection of abuse signs or by legal intervention). See Paedophilia: the Radical Case. Chapter 3: The ‘Molester’ and His ‘Victim’. https://www.ipce.info/host/radicase/chap03.htm

3Comment Response Time! (12/07/17). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw5cIBhQ940

4A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples. Results > self-reported reactions to and effects from CSA. https://www.ipce.info/library_3/rbt/metaana.pdf

5Positive Memories: Cases of positive memories of erotic and platonic relationships and contacts of children with adults, as seen from the perspective of the former minor. Boys with women > BW-10 – Vili Fualaau. https://www.ipce.info/host/rivas/boys_women/vili_fualaau.htm

6A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples. Summary and conclusion. https://www.ipce.info/library_3/rbt/metaana.pdf

8A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples. Previous literature review > qualitative literature reviews. https://www.ipce.info/library_3/rbt/metaana.pdf

9A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples. The four assumed properties of CSA revisited > causality. https://www.ipce.info/library_3/rbt/metaana.pdf

10Positive Memories: Cases of positive memories of erotic and platonic relationships and contacts of children with adults, as seen from the perspective of the former minor. Boys with men > BM-16 – Chris. https://www.ipce.info/host/rivas/boys_men/chris.htm

11To be fair, Clancy doesn’t believe that adult-child relationships should be allowed, because, in her view, a child is unable to give informed consent. But others question the very notion of informed consent. See Sex and The Age of Consent: the Ethical Issues. https://www.ipce.info/library/journal-article/sex-and-age-consent-ethical-issues

12‘The Trauma Myth,’ by Susan A. Clancy. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/health/26zuger.html

13Boy/man, boy/woman, girl/man, girl/woman.

14A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples. Results > self-reported reactions to and effects from CSA. https://www.ipce.info/library_3/rbt/metaana.pdf

15Boy/man.

16Recalled Sexual Experiences in Childhood with Older Partners: A Study of Brazilian Men Who Have Sex with Men and Male-to-Female Transgender Persons. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-011-9748-y

17Paedophilia: the Radical Case. Chapter 2: Children’s Sexuality: What do We Mean? https://www.ipce.info/host/radicase/chap02.htm

18Body Pleasure and The Origins of Violence. http://violence.de/prescott/bulletin/article.html

19Child Sexual Abuse: Top 5 Countries With the Highest Rates. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/child-sexual-abuse-top-5-countries-highest-rates-1436162

20In Brazil, a twelve-year-old girl asked for sex to a twenty-nine-year-old man. The mother reported the incident, but regretted. The adult was declared innocent. See Tribunais Absolvem Acusados De Sexo Com Menor Apesar De Nova Lei. http://g1.globo.com/brasil/noticia/2012/05/tribunais-absolvem-acusados-de-sexo-com-menor-apesar-de-nova-lei.html

21A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples. Child sexual abuse as construct reconsidered. https://www.ipce.info/library_3/rbt/metaana.pdf

22Ipce Newstletter #30. Hysteria is Dangerous: Did Pedophilia Hysteria Cause Child’s Death? https://www.ipce.info/newsletters/newsl_pdf/Ipce%20Newsletter%20E%2030.pdf

23To have an idea of how, see The Hunt (2012). Resenha do Filme “A Caça”. https://psicologiadospsicologos.blogspot.com/2014/08/resenha-do-filme-caca.html

10 de novembro de 2017

“A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples”, by Rind, Bauserman and Tromovitch.

“A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples” was written by Bruce Rind, Robert Bauserman and Phillip Tromovitch. Below are some statements made in that text. They may or may not reflect my opinion on this subject. Questions about my personal opinion can be asked in the comments.

  1. The allegation that intimate relationships in childhood and adolescence always cause intense harm despite the minor’s gender do not find empirical base.
  2. Media gives the sensation that relationships involving minors are always harmful, no matter if it’s an adult-child relationship or a child-child relationship.
  3. Many researchers agree with that media’s view on things, saying that majority, or even all, of the relationships involving minors are harmful.
  4. Some researchers go as far as saying that all mental health problems that appear in adulthood are consequence of child sexual abuse.
  5. But is it true? People’s imagination dictates that all relationships with minors, be child-child or adult-child, are intensely harmful all times they occur, no matter the “victim’s” gender (if boy or girl). The purpose of the report made by the authors is to verify if that belief is correct.
  6. We have the habit of saying that all relationships involving minors are “child sexual abuse”, that all those minors are “victims”, that all those adults are “perpetrators”, but the use of those terms in scientific literature is problematic, because there are adult-child relationships that aren’t negative. In those cases, there’s no victim and, if there’s no victim, there’s no abuse. Thus, there’s no scientific reason to label all those relationships as abusive. Plus, the use of negatively-charged terms harm the neutral appraisal of those events.
  7. The attack on social values doesn’t necessarely constitutes abuse. Masturbation and homosexuality were once considered socially wrong (with masturbation being even regarded as “self-abuse”) and, however, neither practice causes damage, nor can you say that they are abuse most of the times. That way, there’s no causality between attacking social values and harm to the involved parties.
  8. An immoral act isn’t necessarely harmful.
  9. It’s different when a father forcefully penetrates his five-year-old daughter and a thirteen-year-old teen who kisses his fifteen-year-old girlfriend on the lips. Does it make sense to punish the second case? Can we really say that the second case constitutes “rape”?
  10. When science labels as “abuse” all adult-child intimacy, whenever it happens, even when there’s no damage, even when the minor claims that the act was beneficial, it reveals that science is working with moral or legal concepts. But science, if it tries to be neutral, can not give moral judgement. Let the data speak; the reader will say if it’s abuse or not.
  11. Before, all “immoral” sexual acts were considered abusive, but, today, relationships with minors (adult-child, for example) are the last frontier of traditional sex morals. It’s one of the very few sexual acts that are still labelled as “always abusive”.
  12. Even if there are researchers who say that intimate child-child or adult-child relationships are always harmful, there are also researchers who disagree. So, scientific literature isn’t agreeing in this point.
  13. The problem with some research is the lack of variable control. For example: an eight-year-old boy who has some exploratory sexual games with his brother who is ten years older, but this same boy receives daily beltings from his father. He then grows up psychologically disadjusted. Some researches would wholeheartedly ignore the father’s acts and accuse the brother of being the cause of disadjustment, for having sexually abused the minor, even if the boy claims that those games were harmless.
  14. Intimate adult-child or child-child relationships, even if the child is prepubescent, aren’t necessarely negative and not always result in harm.
  15. Some researchers reason that the result, if negative or positive, is more influenced by extra-sexual factors. It’s not the act per itself, but the conditions surrounding it (for example, if the act was forced by a stranger or violent, if the parents found out and made big deal out of it, and others).
  16. And for other researchers, the damage caused to minors is overestimated because researchers, by interviewing people who are already in treatment for consequences, try to guess how many minors are harmed. It’s like going to a hospital to gauge the percentage of ill people. Of course you would get a number close to 100%. So, clinical individuals aren’t a reliable demographic to study the impact of adult-child or child-child intimacy in the general population.
  17. For disagreeing researchers, the fact that there are people who had intimate relationships in childhood or adolescence, but say that the experience wasn’t bad nor harmful, only indicates that the symptoms had no time to appear. Before 2009, in Brazil, relationships with people under age of fourteen would only be criminal if the minor didn’t approve the act, if the minor’s parents didn’t approve the act or if the act ended in damage to the minor. A relationship which met the safety and approval criteria wouldn’t even be consiered “pedophilia”. I doubt that there’s a single man of my age in Northeast who didn’t “fool around” with their very father. Are we all waiting for symptoms to occur?
  18. Those researchers use those samples for generalizations, despite clinical and legal samples not being fit to be used for generalizations outside of clinical and legal spheres, that is, they can not be used as representative of the whole population.
  19. People who had intimate relationships in childhood or adolescence, but didn’t report, nor sought treatment, did neither thing because they didn’t feel the negative effect. So, there’s a population os “victims” who didn’t suffer with the “abuse”. It’s hard to call it abuse that way. Think about it: at what age did you lose your virginity and how was your partner? Are those relationships that uncommon?
  20. When it comes to gender equivalence, there are researchers who say that relationships in childhood and adolescence cause equivalent effect in boys and girls, but there are also researchers who say that boys respond better. It’s important to remember that “sexual relationships” here doesn’t include only sex in strict sense (phallic penetration to mouth, anus or vagina). Of course, penetrating a child causes pain, disgust and trauma most of the times. So, if we were discussing only sex in strict sense, it would be impossible to conclude that there are children who do not suffer with those relationships. The researchers are also including in that group of sexual relationships the “libidinous acts” (kisses on the lips, intimate fondling, genital tickling, mutual nudity and other non-penetrative acts).
  21. The authors of the study found out that, in the college population and the national population, men who had sexual experiences in childhood, yes, react way better to them than women do.
  22. Other researchers, however, conclude that the apparent fact that boys react better is a myth.
  23. There’s another problem with some studies: the researcher tends to pay more attention to negative experiences, despite positives. They exclude, diminish or abstract the positives, making them look meaningless.
  24. Traumatic events are a statistical minority in the population of individuals who had relationships in childhood or adolescence. For the reason why only negative relationships appear in media, see MAP Starting Guide.
  25. Even traumatic events may be a comorbity: besides having intimate relationships, the child was also neglected by parents and abused in a non-sexual manner. Is the “molestation” the only thing to blame for the trauma?
  26. Several children who had trauma not only had intimate relationships, forced or not, but also suffered bullying, emotional pressure, neglect, among other things, in a way the trauma could very well be a combination of factors, with the relationships, specially if not forced, nor painful, having a minor role.
  27. Many researches are in agreement that it’s not the intimate relationship that causes the damage, but “third variables”, such as degree of willingness, degree of pain and family dynamics.
  28. Those who research child sexual abuse must take non-sexual aspects in consideration while considering judgement.
  29. Even non-traumatic, but still negative, events are minority.
  30. If you are recruiting people who had relationships in childhood or adolescence, don’t make an ad asking if there are “molested” people around, because, that way, people who had positive experiences and don’t feel victimized won’t attend to the study, harming neutrality. After all, people who had positive experiences, such as myself, do not feel “molested”.
  31. Not only the damage of those relationships is not frequent, but is also rarely intense.
  32. How can some researchers say that adult-child intimacy has equal impact in boys and girls… if they aren’t willing to include more boys in the samples?
  33. Studies done before the nineties have subjectivity, imprecision and sampling problems, which leads them to contradict each other.
  34. To solve that problem once and for all, the study authors conducted a meta-analysis using neutral samples: college students. In the college population, there must be a good number of individuals of both genders who may or may not have liked the experience, thus, who may or may not have disclosed or sought treatment.
  35. To be fair, the authors did that meta-analysis by means of literature review. They took studies that were already available and did the math, rather than doing direct interviews. However, their results are validated by other studies done with better methods, one of them, by the way, conducted in Campinas, Brazil.
  36. On United States, half of the population is exposed to college in some way. So, the college population is perfect for that kind of study, in terms of generalization.
  37. Strangely, studies about child sexual abuse using college samples are rare… Why?
  38. This study will only use college samples.
  39. Before anyone becoming “irritated”, this study doesn’t take only forced acts into account. If it did, it wouldn’t conclude the way it concluded. It takes in account “degrees of freedom” and the presence of elements such as penetration and force. Thus, not all cases analyzed in the college population involve violence or coercion, but they also include sexual acts in which the minors engaged willingly.
  40. The study also looks for somatic problems, such as sleep disturbances or gastrointestinal problems, which could be linked to the experience of childhood intimacy.
  41. What’s child sexual abuse? Depending on your doctrine bias, it can be any intimate contact between adult and child, regardless of absence of damage and the kid’s willingness to participate, or it can be only unwanted experiences, since the “abuse” label should only be assigned to cases in which harm is done.
  42. What’s a “child”? For most of the studies revised by the authors, “child” is anyone below age sixteen. For Brazilian law, “child” is anyone under age twelve. However, more than half of the revised studies also claim that situations involving two minors are also abuse, as long as the age gap between them is five years or more (example: thirteen-year-old boy and eight-year-old girl, or twelve-year-old girl and seven-year-old boy).
  43. If we take in consideration all possible definitions of abuse, the amount of cases that can be included in all those definitions is very small.
  44. The cases analyzed by the authors vary in intensity. A simple invitation to do something intimate would already count as abuse. The scale would be: invitation, exhibitionism, fondling, masturbation, oral sex, attempted intercourse and completed intercourse. Putting things that way, one can see how the study can conclude that many cases of abuse end in no damage, because everything under masturbation generally cause no pain or suffering, unless the subject is forced into it.
  45. Damage varies according to intimacy of the act and degree of closeness between the two. An intimate fondling done by someone who’s trusted probably causes no harm, while penetration done by a complete stranger may cause a trauma.
  46. About half of the people who had intimate relationships in childhood or adolescence repeat the experience before adulthood.
  47. Use of force in adult-child relationships or in child-child relationships doesn’t occur even in half of the cases. More than half of the times, the minor isn’t forced.
  48. If a relationship ends up causing harm (by force or penetration, for example), the degree of disadjustment caused by the act per itself is small. The violence associated with the act causes most of the damage.
  49. It’s important to remember that this data refers to general population, not to those who sought help for sexual abuse consequences (who are a minority of the population and whose experiences can not be generalized).
  50. The authors verified the study subjects looking for any of the following symptoms: alcoolism, anxiety, depression, dissociation, eating disorder, hostility, interpersonal problems, sensation of not being in control of their own life, obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia, phobia, psychopathy, low self-esteem, sexual disadjustment, social disadjustment, somatization, suicidal tendency.
  51. Two factors that contribute for disadjust are force deployed (rape) and the fact of the victim being a girl (penetration, probably). So, boys tend to suffer less or even not suffer at all in sexual experiences in childhood or adolescence, as long as there’s no force deployed.
  52. The number of forced relationships with minors is small, compared to the number of consented relationships, be it with adults or other minors.
  53. Truthfully, what causes harm to the minor is the violence in the relationship, not the relationship per itself. Eliminating the violent element, there’s no victim. If you are a boy, however.
  54. Boys don’t differ from control group if there was no violence in the relationship they had. But girls, strangely, manifest problems even in consented relationships.
  55. Unwanted intimacy is always harmful.
  56. The chance of harm is higher is there’s penetration. Even more if the act is repeated or if it’s long-lasting. Even more if forced and done by an authority figure, such as the father.
  57. Out of the samples studied, 72% of the girls and 33% of the boys agree that the sexual experiences they had in childhood or adolescence were “negative”. However, 37% of the boys and 11% of the girls agreed that their experiences were “positive”. From that information, we draw that sexual encounters in childhood or adolescence aren’t always negative, which means that it’s not the relationship per itself that causes the damage, but elements that are associated. Plus, that shows that boys react much better.
  58. One of the studies reviewed by the authors made the interviewees classify their sexual experiences in childhood and adolescence in a scale that went from 1 (very positive) to 7 (very negative), in a way that a lower number indicated a better experience. The mean rating for boys was 3.38, while the mean rating for girls was 5.83. So, yes: boys tend to react much better to intimacy with adults or other minors during their childhood and adolescence. That also shows that intimacy before age 18 doesn’t necessarely result in harm.
  59. On one hand, the experience might have felt good when it happened, but how those children see the act after they grow up? 59% of 514 women see those experiences as negative, even if they felt positive at the time they happened, but only 26% of men (118 samples) have the same sensation. On the other hand, 42% of men see those experiences as positive even after reaching adulthood, while 16% of women keep positioning themselves positively towards the positive experiences even after maturing.
  60. It’s very unlikely that relationships before age of consent could harm sexual performance in adult life.
  61. Those who were harmed by the act get over that in some time. That means that permanent damage is also uncommon. That’s equivalent to saying that, when there’s harm, the harm is not typically intense. Traumatic sexual experiences are a very small minority.
  62. After all that was seen, it’s clear that child-child and adult-child intimacy doesn’t cause harm in a lot of times that it occurs. So, therapists who work with minors who had sexual play or relationships shouldn’t assume that those experiences were negative and must ask the minor how do they feel about them. The psychologist mustn’t treat a problem that doesn’t exist. Analogically, parents shouldn’t take their child’s romance as an automatic bad sign.
  63. But one thing is still unclear: if there’s positive and negative relationships, what causes the damage? Of course, factors such as penetration, pain and coercion influence the result negatively, in a way that the sexual experience without those elements may very well be harmless. But how can one explain the disadjustment in people who only report positive experiences?
  64. It seems that the answer resides in family. Besides the minor’s sexual experience, which was positive, family problems unrelated to their sexuality could have caused the disadjustment. So, disadjustment in people with positive experiences can be explained by other factors, such as neglect (letting the child starve or ignoring their cry) and nonsexual abuse (spanking, belting).
  65. That way, if a person had positive sexual experiences in childhood or adolescence, but still shows some sort of psychological problem, it makes more sense to attribute their problem to other factors, rather than the sexual experience.
  66. Some adults were asked if their emotional problems have those relationships they had as minors or current family problems as source. Many report that the relationships no longer affect them, but the family continues bad.
  67. The authors conclude that, in the college population, around 14% of men and 27% of women had sexual intimacy in childhood or adolescence. However, if any of them had any psychological problem, it rarely had roots in that intimacy.
  68. Thus, traumatic involvements are a statistical minority.

  69. So, the affirmation that sexual experiences in childhood or adolescence, specially if not painful or forced, are always harmful is prejudice. They can be harmful, but, statistically, they usually are not and, when they are, the damage is usually small. Trauma caused by sexual experiences are rare.
  70. One third of studied men report that experience was negative, but two thirds say it was not (that is, it could have been positive or neutral). With women, it’s the opposite. However, when damage occurs, it’s normally overcomed.
  71. On the other hand, three in every eight men who had intimate experiences in childhood or adolescence report that the experience was positive. With women, the number is one in ten.
  72. The reason for that is cultural: boys see sexual experiences like an “adventure” or a way to satisfy natural curiosity, but girls, because of social standards built around the female gender, tend to see those experiences as immoral. That’s specially bad if penetration occurs.
  73. Minors can feel pleasure.
  74. Girls tend to feel shame over those encounters, but boys see them as a proof of maturity, specially if interacting with the opposite gender, specially if the woman is older. When the experience isn’t positive, the boy is usually indifferent.
  75. Another reason for the boy to respond better to those encounters is that his body needs less stimulation to feel pleasure. They get involved with the act quicker. It seems that the male gender is more active.
  76. The reactions to the act, when it’s not painful or violent, can easily be attributed to gender roles traditionally attributed to men and women. Men learn in adolescence that they must be manly, libidinous, dominant, in movement. Women are taught to be passive, chaste, sexually reticent. But the world is ridding itself of social roles based on gender.
  77. Why is the number of negative experiences with girls so high? Because, for some reason, they are a more common target of forced sexual experiences. So, it’s not the act per itself, but the pain and violence that causes the harm. Women who respond positively or indifferently didn’t experience nor pain, nor violence.
  78. If on one hand the reactions to sexual experiences were very different between boys and girls, on the other they are very alike, if we only take in consideration the experiences in which the minor was forced. Because the effects are almost the same when coercion is present.
  79. Many people who had sexual experiences in childhood or adolescence and have some sort of emotional disadjustment already had said disadjustment before the experience.
  80. Negative sexual experiences happen more commonly inside the family.
  81. Sometimes, it’s not the father having intimate relationships with children, but children between themselves. Siblings can force each other.
  82. Sexual experiences rarely affect family structure. Usually, it’s family structure that makes those experiences easier to happen. For example: a child who is sexually involved with an adult, hiding in plain sight from their parents, is, certainly, being neglected in other areas as well. Their parents do not care. That’s why the child grows disadjusted, even if the relationship is positive: a relationship like that, in the current society, is a sign of parental negligence.
  83. If your child is going bad at school, there’s a good chance that he is being physically, emotionally or verbally abused, rather sexually abused.
  84. Verbal abuse is more harmful than intimate relationships in childhood or adolescence, according to the study. That’s because verbal abuse is more common and is always violent, while sexual experiences aren’t so common and can be willingly engaged in.
  85. If the relationship happens within family, the chance of harm is higher. It wasn’t my case.
  86. Many times, everything goes well… until someone finds out.
  87. Child-child and adult-child relationships were usually analyzed from a legal and moral bias, rather than empirically.
  88. If there’s no harm, it’s not abuse, from a scientific point of view. So science should not label harmless relationships as abusive. To deserve the “abuse” label, there must be damage somewhere.
  89. Label everything as “abuse” induces the researcher and the reader to presume that the act was negative, even if it was not.
  90. On 18th century, masturbation was immoral. On 19th century, homossexuality was immoral. On 20th century, relationships involving minors are immoral. In this century, maybe people will no longer see them as immoral. I’m sure that it was this clue that sent the conservative Christian right into overdrive.
  91. Treating masturbation like an illness spanwed treatments that caused more harm than benefit, as they treated a problem that was not there. Treating relationships with minors as “sick” makes up for the same effect, if there’s no harm in those relationships. Of course some minors may suffer with the act. But if the minor didn’t suffer, doesn’t need treatment.
  92. Some of our medical definitions have bounds with the laws, which in turn have bounds with customs and, of course, religion.
  93. Masturbation, promisuicity, oral sex and homossexuality were all behaviors once taken for “sick”. Now they are treating child sexuality as sick.
  94. A socially unnacceptable act isn’t necessarely sick.
  95. “For these male college students, 37% viewed their CSA experiences as positive at the time they occurred; 42% viewed these experiences as positive when reflecting back on them; and in the two studies that inquired about positive self-perceived effects, 24% to 37% viewed their CSA experiences as having a positive influence on their current sex lives. Importantly, SA men across all levels of consent (i.e., both willing and unwanted experiences) did not differ from controls in current psychological adjustment, although SA men with unwanted experiences only did, implying that willingness was associated with no impairment to psychological adjustment.” How can “abuse” bring benefit?
  96. If the act isn’t forced, the chance of harm is way smaller. Negative sexual experiences in childhood and adolescence, even if the partners were adults, are statistical minority.
  97. To tell a child “you have been abused” when they don’t feel abused will simply make them ignore you. The experience remains the same. If you try to force the abuse idea through the child, the abuser is you.
  98. Many minors who had those relationships refuse to be called “victims”.
  99. It’s the minor who should judge the experience.
  100. According to the authors, if a minor willingly participated in an act and the act resulted in benefit, the correct term to be employed is “child-child sex” or “adult-child sex”, saving the term “child sexual abuse” for forced or negative experiences. I, however, think that the term “sex” should be replaced with “intimacy”, because “sex” delivers the idea of penetration, which doesn’t always occur.

  101. Another problem is that the current definitions treat children and adolescents as having equal maturity. A five-year-old child is different from a fifteen-year-old adolescent.
  102. Relationships between adult and adolescent are more common and were socially accepted in the past.
  103. There’s no need to presume violence in relationships with minors below age of consent. But that doesn’t imply that the researchers want a change in the laws.
  104. Cases of sexual experiences which occur outside of family before legal age can affect the family if found out, because of judicial intervention. However, the number of minors who tell the secret represents less than ¼ of the cases. Which means that ¾ of the cases are never found out.

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