6 de maio de 2019

What I learned from “The ‘Participating Victim’ in the Study of Erotic Experiences Between Children and Adults.”

The ‘Participating Victim’ in the Study of Erotic Experiences Between Children and Adults: An Historical Analysis.” Was written by Agustín Malón. Below, what I learned by reading this text.

  1. In the twentieth century, there was an increase in scientific and lay interest in relationships between adults and minors.
  2. The focus of the text is the concept of ” participating victim” or ” voluntary victim”: the child or adolescent who, when found in an relationship with an adult, does not want the relationship to end.
  3. This classification can be explained in emotional and ideological terms, rooted in the rise of the victim paradigm.
  4. Relationships between adults and minors only became a problem in the last third of the twentieth century, with the child abuse paradigm.
  5. Before that time, the adult who was in a relationship with a minor was not seen as a monster or a demon, as is the case today.
  6. It is no longer investigated whether experience was harmful or not: it’s assumed to be harmful.
  7. This reality is only sustained by the indiscriminate labelling of all those minors as victims.
  8. Such relationships are now demonized in five levels: legal (it’s crime), moral (it’s immoral), personal (it’s unwanted), existential (it’s traumatic), and medical (it’s harmful).
  9. In order to explain any occurences of adult/child relationships that may de-authorize this disapproval, it is necessary to redefine the boy who desires such relationships, to construe his experience as unwanted (even if it was wanted), and to find negative effects.
  10. So the child, in theory, would never want that kind of relationship, which is always negative and traumatic.
  11. The author questions: how can scientific literature deny the existence of children who desire such relationships, are active participants and do not want a break-up?
  12. There is an implicit political goal in the child abuse paradigm: there are things we can not say about the minors involved and things we need to presume about all the minors involved.
  13. In other words, saying that the child would want a relationship with an adult could lead accusations of victim-blaming, even when the experience was voluntary and innocuous.
  14. Thus, in the seventies and eighties, literature that was opposed to the view of inherent harm was viewed with suspicion.
  15. The author of the text is concerned only with providing a historical account of the evolution of this rejection to relationships between adult and minor: he is not interested in discussing morality , consent or acceptability .
  16. The existence of positive relationships between adults and minors is not enough to make this kind of relationship acceptable.
  17. The authors studied by Malon have vaguely used the term “minor,” without saying what age this “minor” is, if a child or adolescent.
  18. Nevertheless, the term “minor” is often used in the literature to refer to subjects between nine and thirteen years of age.
  19. In works like those of Finkelhor, the age of the participants is often omitted.
  20. Before the 1980s, child sexuality was generally considered normal , even when the child or adolescent desired adults (which does not mean that such adventure was allowed by law).
  21. The fact is that the child’s willingness to participate in these relationships was taken into account back then.
  22. In the 1970s, there were very few studies in English on adult-to-minor sex, and the growing feminist wave attempted to fill that demand using victimology.
  23. The modern Western rejection of relationships between adults and minors would not be possible without feminism.
  24. Although there were several studies that challenged the vitimological view, they were ignored as a minority.
  25. Although the vitimological view was the “standard” view in the West, both its detractors and proponents were aware of children and adolescents who made the advance or consented to an advance.
  26. When the victim paradigm came into vogue in the West, the problem of the desiring child was ignored or seen as something of lesser importance.
  27. But before, scholars tried to find out why some children desired adults and why some did not.
  28. Incest became a reason for judicial intervention.
  29. The literature that most grounded such attitude change in relation to consensual relationships between adult and minor was the clinical literature, focused on incest, while the literature of more comprehensive focus gave a central role to the child’s view of experience .
  30. Child protection services are aware that some children make the invitation, consent, initiate, accept or even seduce others (that is, they try to “seduce”).
  31. The idea that the consent of the child is invalid appears for the first time in the twentieth century, in 1969 more specifically.
  32. In the thirties, Bender and Blau’s The Reaction of Children to Sexual Relations with Adults is released: sixteen children are interviewed and the tone of their narratives is strangely optimistic
  33. The children were emphatic in saying that their experiences were positive and guilt-free.
  34. They also had an active role in these relationships, not mere recipients of adult advancement.
  35. They could either deny the advance or encourage the adult.
  36. The child is not innocent.
  37. The interesting personality of these children may have helped to seduce the adult with whom they related.
  38. These relationships only stopped after discovered, not because they could not report, but because they did not want to stop.
  39. The disapproval of this type of relationship in the 1930s was moral, not medical: it was not feared that the girl could be traumatized, but feared that she would grow promiscuous.
  40. In the fifties, A Study of Girl Sex Victims is released: the authors tried to understand which aspects of the child’s personality predispose the girl to accept advancements from adults or to attempt seduction.
  41. This study examined seventy-three girls who, between the ages of four and sixteen, had intercourse with adults.
  42. Twenty-one were “casual victims”, that is, victims in the strict sense; forty-four were “participating victims”, that is, they wanted contact and did not feel victimized; eight could not be classified in either group.
  43. The victims participating in this study fall into two groups: those who are sexual by symptom (their sexuality is problematic because the family or the social context are problematic) and those who are sexual by personality .
  44. Is the latency period really a thing?
  45. The pre-adolescent is a sexual being, although we try to rationalize this tendency as a desire for affection.
  46. Although nothing can suppress child sexuality, its correct channeling is one of the tasks assigned to education .
  47. Because of this, we tend to treat deviations in child sexual conduct as problems of poor education.
  48. All children have impulse and sexual responsiveness , but not to the same degree.
  49. However, the fact that the child is sexual does not imply that the child can make a personal bacchanal out of his or her life.
  50. Adults can tolerate child sexuality, but seldom promote it or stimulate it.
  51. Child sexuality is normal, but it should not manifest itself in illicit ways.
  52. One of the factors that predisposes the girl to sexual initiation with others is the lack of love at home (which leads her to look for other adults from whom to receive attention) and a poor education, especially a deficient sex education (she learns in practice, which can be aided by the limited conception of guilt ).
  53. Another factor is the low self-control against particularly strong impulses.
  54. To some researchers, this is problematic, but there are those who disagree.
  55. For example, according to Kinsey, sexual initiation by an older person is beneficial to the boy, who learns about sexuality more easily and more quickly than if he had to discover them alone or with someone as inexperienced as himself.
  56. With the victim paradigm, girl sexual desire is seen as mere curiosity, search for affection or even as a bargaining tool to obtain material goods, since the girl, insofar as it is assumed that she is the victim of sexual crime, can only have a sexually passive role, being inadmissible to the victimology that a girl would want pleasure .
  57. If the child does indeed enjoy pleasure, it is still possible to rationalize that this pleasure has been “forced“, rather than spontaneous.
  58. Thus, the child who consents and says that the contact was pleasurable is still a victim of sexual crime.
  59. But some people make the distinction legal child victim and factual child victim.
  60. The child who understands that his or her parents could be held responsible for the child’s actions may seek to do illegal things to put the parents in trouble as a form of revenge.
  61. Another factor that can cause the child to seek illegal relationships is precisely the prohibition imposed on sexuality, a prohibition that incites curiosity and challenge .
  62. If you say to your child, “sex sucks, do not do it,” you may spark temptation.
  63. A child discovered in an illegal relationship with an adult may not learn the lesson and look for another adult.
  64. In such cases, admission that the act was “bad” is a false admission: the tyke will do it again at the first opportunity.
  65. Illegal relationships alone do not cause guilt in the child, who only begins to feel guilty with the social reaction to the act or upon learning the taboo.
  66. There are several reasons that take a child to not disclose what is happening or has happened.
  67. They may not disclose due to threat, bribe, desire to continue, love for the perpetrator, fear of parents’ reaction, among others.
  68. If you read a scientific article on child sexuality from the thirties or fifties, you feel as if the authors had permission insult to the children subjected to the study (calling them rebellious, disobedient, lascivious, among others things), something that would be unacceptable today.
  69. Nowadays, we accuse those papers, perhaps rightfully, to be blaming the victims.
  70. Another factor that predisposes the child to seek relationships is the need for alternative sources of affection.
  71. We generally don’t agree that children can exchange pleasure for affection.
  72. The girl may seek such affection for a number of reasons: parents may not love her enough, she may want to escape domestic stress, perhaps she wants to challenge her parents’ authority, prove to herself that she is “independent”, to be approved by someone…
  73. Some children show more interest in adults than in same-aged children, preferring adult companions.
  74. If the family is chaotic, the child will seek stability elsewhere.
  75. What does victimology do in face of the boy who flees from an abusive family, then seeks and finds the stability he needed away from home, with another adult?
  76. This is especially embarrassing in cases where the relationship continues even after the minor has become an adult himself, after the partner has served their sentence.
  77. The sample from the Bender and Blau study can not be generalized because the children were working class and misfits, meaning that the data collected does not apply to all children.
  78. There was a time when the victim status was not attributed by the nature of the act (whether sexual or not), but by the effect of the act (whether the person suffered or not).
  79. It is easier to absolve the girl than the boy, because one thinks that the girl only becomes sexual because of external factors, like an unfit family, but people often argue that “boys will be boys”.
  80. Thus, the sexual girl is seen as a victim of her family or society.
  81. Arguments that say that these experiences are bad because sex is bad (it is not), because the child is being precociously sexualized (children are sexual from birth ) or because these experiences are always traumatic ( demonstrably false ) are easy to debunk.
  82. The only valid argument against these experiences is informed consent: because this type of relationship is dangerous , anyone who engages in it should be aware of the implicit risks (the chil usually is not) and should be able to make a free decision about taking the risk or not (the child may have his or her freedom of decision limited by physical strength, intelligence or social position of the adult as a person of authority on whom the child’s well-being may depend).
  83. Because of this, victimology’s task is to prove that kids can’t consent.
  84. In the eighties, the book Sexually Victimized Children is released.
  85. The book assumes that in the field of victimology, the question of how to deal with children who consent and derive pleasure from experience is a “destructive concern.”
  86. This concern has been addressed by emphasizing cases of sexual abuse in the strict sense (where there is no consent, where the child suffers from the experience) and minimizing the importance of the child’s consent to the point of irrelevance .
  87. In the victim paradigm, the girl is necessarily a recipient, and no responsibility is to be attributed to her.
  88. As all subjects that can challenge the victim’s paradigm ( children and adolescents ) are absorbed by such a paradigm (through classification as “victims”), such a paradigm becomes indisputable .
  89. “Protecting” the girl from sexuality may harm her.
  90. Experiences between two minors should not be seen as abusive, provided they are consensual .
  91. Consent is what matters.
  92. The problem is that, while it is said that consent is what matters, it is also said that the minor’s consent is invalid in experiences with adults.
  93. But what if the minor starts the contact?
  94. For Finkelhor , early sexual experience can turn the child into a homosexual .
  95. The desire to repeat the experience becomes a “risk factor.”
  96. Finkelhor and the feminists admit that there are children who want these experiences and there are still people who point that out (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).
  97. This is problematic, because admitting the minor’s desire is an attack on one of the foundations of victimology: that the victim never takes any responsibility for the “abuse” suffered.
  98. If child sexuality is part of the child, attacking child sexuality is an attack on the child’s dignity .
  99. Reconciling child sexuality with the victim paradigm is done through the association between sexualization and trauma: if the child has a sexual encounter with another child, then it’s tolerable; if the contact is between child and adult, then it must be traumatic.
  100. Traumatic in the sense of directing child sexuality in a “problematic” direction.
  101. In this way, the act would be traumatic, perhaps more profoundly traumatic, if the child is a voluntary participant and if the experience is pleasurable: the child acquires access to forms sexual expression that are not age-appropriate (like a “moral trauma”).
  102. Aiming to repeat the experience, the child then looks for other children, introducing them to such practices as well.
  103. So it is not that child sexuality is a problem for victimology, but such sexuality must stay within the boundaries of age-appropriate; deviating from that is a symptom os “moral trauma”.
  104. Such deviation can also lead the boy to question if he is gay or not.
  105. With the construction of pleasant experiences as morally traumatic, sexual initiation by an older person is no longer a moral issue, but a public health issue.
  106. For Finkelhor, a child would never become interested in an adult unless the child is influenced by the environment.
  107. In this way, the victim paradigm supports the view that a sexually precocious child is such because of adult influence.
  108. The victim paradigm works with the inherent damage hypothesis (all experiences between adult and minor must be traumatic), but, at the same time, it admits that such hypothesis lacks empirical proof!
  109. Despite this, they construct their reasoning upon the intrinsic harm hypothesis, going onto identifying traumatogenic factors.
  110. The fear felt by victimologists is that children and adolescents could have their worldview altered or be impaired in their self-concept .
  111. What if the child, because of this experience, starts to see the world in a different way?
  112. If there are no traumatic elements in the experience, can it still be considered traumatic?
  113. Finkelhor never answers that question.
  114. On the other hand, external factors reduce the importance of traumatogenic factors: if you have a family that supports you, for example, you will recover more easily from abuse, than if you had parents who don’t care about your suffering.
  115. This point, though mentioned by the victim paradigm, is not discussed in all its depth: victimology makes no mention of what factors could mitigate traumatic sexualization ( the adoption of adult sexual behavior ).
  116. For victimology, child sexuality has no influence on the continuation of the relationship (implying that a child who had a sexual contact would be always unwilling to repeat it).
  117. The child who takes the lead in libidinous acts only has his agency recognized if the other participant is a same age peer.
  118. The “children who molest” phenomenon is only recognized as such if the victim is another minor.
  119. Taken to it’s last consenquences, such argument implies that, when a minor rapes a woman, the woman is to blame (or, at least, someone else who “corrupted” the tyke, but never the minor himself).
  120. This is because, according to victimology, a normal boy would never want anything to do with sex, when it comes to adults.
  121. If he enters into a relationship with an adult, he never enters or stay by his will, says victimology.
  122. The legitimate desire of the boy is then construed as the result of something that has gone wrong, a type of “brainwashing”, which means that the boy is never responsible for any sexual involvement with an adult: it’s never his fault, according to victimology.
  123. Thus, since teleiophilia is excluded from child sexuality in an axiomatic way, it does not make sense to ask why the child or adolescent would want such contact, why he initiated, why he would he want to maintain such relationship, none of that matters.
  124. Thus, for victimology, to say that the minor “consented” or “advanced” is the same as blaming the ” victim .”
  125. It is important, for victimology, that the child or adolescent has been threatened or intimidated, in order to validate itself as a paradigm.
  126. It follows that vitimology can only admit two hypotheses:
    1. The child or adolescent was forced.
    2. The child or teenager had his or her consent purchased by bribery or threat.
  127. Victimology takes this as reality, and its mission is to make the population “identify” this reality.
  128. Thus, because it is assumed that the child or adolescent will resist, the question ceases to be “what leads the child to initiate or accept a libidinous act?” to become “how the child’s resistance was violated?”.
  129. This is a reflection of the reluctance to attribute responsibility to the minor: to say that the minor can consent, although not directly attribution of responsibility, can be seen as such, which is contrary to the spirit of the times .
  130. Thus, the friendship between child and adult, when it takes a sexual aspect, becomes grooming: sexual friendship is never legitimate, but always a trap.
  131. The fact that a child would want to repeat the experience is not explained, unless one takes the assertion “if it was repeated, the repetition had to be forced” as an explanation.
  132. Okay, and why do some repeat the experience with other people, even after the first partner was arrested and jailed?
  133. Strangely, vithmology admits child sexual agency only in cases where the child is a boy: victimology even admits that boys may be less affected by such experiences .
  134. That is why studies on child sexual abuse generally have an overrepresentation of girls in a given sample: if we make a distinction between boys and girls in data analysis, the universal aspect of the trauma will be more easily questioned, and it will be easier to point out that positive experiences happen.
  135. That impairs the study of positive experiences that, because they were positive, were repeated instead of reported.
  136. In the West, the child was seen as a potential enemy of the state: all education was explicitly intended to instill the social values ​​in a child’s mind so that the social order would not be challenged (see note 111).
  137. Now the child is seen as the savior of the state: all education has the veiled aim of instilling prevailing social values ​​in the child’s mind, so that the social order is maintained (see note 111).
  138. Our society says that the girl should exercise critical thinking, but also that she should not exercise critical thinking in every matter!
  139. There’s a need that the child’s concept of abuse mirrors society’s concept of abuse.
  140. For victimology, a society that thinks that relationships between adult and minor are not always abusive is a society that is insensitive to the suffering of the child.
  141. That means that a victimological society immunizes itself against change: seeing things differently equals “being insensitive”, which automatically casts a bad light upon the dissident and encourages self-censorship (in media, research, art, news, everything).
  142. Observe how society is always accused of being a facilitator of child sexual abuse, even when it does everything right, within it’s capacities.
  143. The two employers of such rhetoric are child protection organizations and feminism .
  144. Both sources influenced Finkelhor.
  145. For victimology, a child who does not report what occurred must be motivated by fear and bribery.
  146. That is: silence becomes a sign of violence, not reporting is a sign of violence.
  147. It is assumed that nonviolent relationships are statistically unlikely .
  148. A child who says “I did not suffer from what happened” or “I liked what happened” is not believed.
  149. The desire for affection, attention and approval becomes a “risk factor”; the affection-starved child is a child at risk.
  150. Thus, the desire to participate in the relationship is converted into an inability to resist the relationship, due to the affection implied or promised.
  151. The emphasis on the libidinous act as object of study distracts the researcher from other factors that could explain any negative symptoms presented by the child: an unstable family can be just as harmful or even more.
  152. Researchers would rather study the libidinous act isolated from it’s circumstances , since such circumstances , if studied, could jeopardize the dominant narrative (sexual contact between adult and child is always bad, always profoundly traumatic and is equally bad for boys and girls).
  153. Most of the explanations given by victimology are hypothetical .
  154. If the victim is the passive part, then, for victimology, all guilt must necessarily fall upon the active part.
  155. Finkelhor says that all research points to the fact that the child or adolescent never initiates sexual contact with an adult, but that’s not true.
  156. The problem is that victimology does not know what to do with minor’s willingness to participate.
  157. This creates another problem: secondary victimization.
  158. Secondary victimization is the harm that arises not from experience itself, but from the reaction of others to experience: imagine if your relationship is desired and you want to maintain it, but you have the bond suddenly destroyed by the legal system, the mental health system, and the social rejection.
  159. Researching this implies recognizing that intervention must not always take place.
  160. If the process begins, the boy who says that the libidinous act was not violent will have his testimony ignored.
  161. If the boy insists that the contact was not violent, he will be stigmatized .
  162. Victimology does not want to save the child only in physical or psychological sense, but also in a moral.
  163. This causes collateral damage.
  164. Victimology has an ideal of childhood that may not apply to concrete children.
  165. If the child has sexuality, a purely ideological denial of his or her interpretation of a particular experience may be psychologically traumatic, especially when such denial employs the legal and therapeutic apparatus.
  166. Showing only negative cases is essential for maintaining this paradigm.
  167. This is because non-violent contacts, seen as exceptional, may be numerous enough to invalidate the paradigm (they could be the norm, rather than the exception).
  168. Classical studies that show the existence of children and adolescents who feel, desire and seek for libidinosity have been forgotten and are seen as outrageous today.
  169. The criticisms delivered on such studies, however, are often based on a forced interpretation of what is being said in the text.
  170. This forced interpretation is enforced by the child abuse paradigm, according to which no child or adolescent would ever desire an adult.
  171. Victimology keeps the business of mental health.
  172. Sexual victimology is the elevation of victimhood to the degree of convincing pseudoscience, so that studies sharing victimology’s view receive funding for scientific development.
  173. Because it is popular, victimology can not be contradicted with impunity and studies that contradict it have to be independently funded.
  174. Victimology funds campaigns against researchers who contradict it.
  175. In a world where babies masturbate or even have orgasms still inside the mother’s womb, there are still people who say that it is impossible to orgasm before puberty.
  176. Victimology may be more interested in condemning the adult than acting according to the minor’s best interest.
  177. Challenging this paradigm can cost you your career.
  178. Relationships between adults and minors have become a public problem, not a private occurrence that can be resolved by listening to both parties.
  179. Consent and innocuousness are the only parameters by which we can judge any sexual relationship, so to keep relationships between adults and minors forbidden, it is necessary to invalidate the consent of the minor or to show that such contacts are harmful as a rule.
  180. Society has recognized child sexuality as something that exists, while denying such sexuality any mutual expression.
  181. In the case of relationships between adult and minor, this is possible through the application of feminist power rhetoric on the problem of child sexual abuse.
  182. As this is done in the field of social sciences, which claim to be the moral compass of the whole society, this view is easily imposed as scientifically correct (from the point of view of social sciences).
  183. This is a sign that social sciences no longer see the world as it really is, but are rather invested in shaping the world in the way they see fit.
  184. This makes their “absolute” findings questionable.
  185. When the American Congress condemned the study A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples, congressists demanded that science stopped studying positive relationships between adults and children.
  186. But this undermines the scientific understanding of the phenomena of these relationships in general.
  187. The author is not in favor of legalizing these relationships because there are several things to take into consideration before changing the age of consent.
  188. By acting according to victimology, society does not know exactly what it is doing.

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