An Analogy on Faulty Child Sex Abuse Research
As to the question of trauma…
Imagine a group of people, chosen for a research study…
For simplicity’s sake, let’s say there are ten of them.
– Tom was approached by a stranger when he was nine. The stranger proposed sexual activity, but Tom declined and walked away.
– Sue had a crush on a classmate…A boy of about thirteen…One day, they decided to sneak off some place private, and share a sexual experience with each other…Sue was eleven.
– Brad was abducted while walking home from the store…He was brutally raped, and strangled into unconsciousness…and left for dead…A stranger found him, and called an ambulance…Brad has never psychologically recovered from this, and is haunted by nightmares and panic attacks.
– Wendy had an uncle, who enjoyed having her set on his lap while his hand explored her body…She experienced sexual stimulation repeatedly, over a span of years…During her teens, long after this had ended, Wendy discovered that this was considered socially abnormal. She now lives with the stigma, and believes it is right to attribute all personal anxiety or shortcomings to this experience.
– Bob at the age of nine, came to an understanding with the twelve year old boy who lived next door…that it was extremely fun, wonderful and exciting, to have someone with whom to share regular sexual relations…This mutual arrangement continued on for three years…Both grew up, and thought nothing bad of it.
– Angela at the age of twelve, was forced to go to bed with her stepfather…The rapes occurred weekly, sometimes two or three times a week, until she turned eighteen…and she left home…She has lived with the stigma and the sense of betrayal, ever since.
– Ray was at home, chatting in an online chat room for teens…when someone privately messages him, and tries to get to know him…Eventually, the conversation goes to whether he has a web cam, if he’s willing to take off his shirt…and Ray ends up naked, masturbating in front of his web cam, for the $50 some stranger just put into an account of his. Ray decides this is lucrative and fun, and becomes a BIB-Cam boy…[that’s “boy in bedroom”].
– Betty at the age of five was abducted and brutally raped. She was kept tied up and blindfolded in a closet, for days..repeatedly taken out to be raped…Betty has needed professional help, ever since. As an adult, she remains in a support group. She suffers greatly from anxiety, nightmares, suicidal tendencies and depression.
– Arnold had a crush on his junior high science teacher…Mr. Smith initially kept his distance, and turned away all hints of sexual attraction between them…until one day, when Arnold approached Mr. Smith, after school hours…Mr. Smith is a pederast…Arnold is gay…They shared a gentle and intensely enjoyable, sexual encounter…They met again, several times there after. Arnold looks back on this, as a simple matter of growing up gay.
– Tammy was “the loose girl”, in school…She even had a reputation, beginning back in elementary school…She spent years, going through most of the boys in her class, as if they were some “flavor of the month”. Tammy discovered early on, that she enjoyed sexual stimulation and encounters.
All of these cases, no matter how diverse and how different the outcome, qualify as child sex abuse.
Now…Let’s suppose, that I take from this pool of individuals…Brad, Wendy, Angela and Betty…
…Let’s say that I put these four onto a pedestal, and proclaim them as being prime representatives, of the group I just studied.
I’ve just chosen the four most extreme cases, with the worst set of factors, and the worst levels of trauma…and made them representative of the entire group…
While these four might make up a very considerable percentage [40%] of the population studied, they also fail to give an accurate understanding of the remaining majority [60%] in this particular study.
I have intentionally made a decision, to ignore data collected from the majority…and to manipulate the study in such a way, as to make the experiences of Brad, Wendy, Angela and Betty appear being the norm.
Despite that the majority in this example are being disenfranchised from the summary conclusion…they are still going to be used as token pawns, when they are included in the official numbers of the study…This artificially pads the numbers, and dumps those who are clearly not traumatized into the group considered to be traumatized.
This is a simplistic, yet soundly accurate analogy on how child sex abuse [CSA] studies have been conducted, over the last several decades.
This state of CSA research was well understood and discussed within the professional research field, long before the Rind, Tromovitch and Bauserman meta-analysis of 1998.
That is the study which caused such an uproar, and led to a U.S. Congressional censure…while anyone with a working knowledge of modern CSA research already understood, that a methodologically sound study was guaranteed to render results of substantial difference from most CSA research.
…It is because most CSA research today, doctors and manipulates the numbers in order to strengthen social constructs…It has nothing to do, with understanding the real picture.
Again…My example is simplistic, and I want to stress this point…At only ten examples, this gave me a limited number in which to represent a wide range of credible experiences…and I could never account for every conceivable variable.
My numbers in this analysis, are not necessarily parallel to actual research findings…Though based upon my own reading and research on this matter, the people who make up both the positive and neutral groups, do genuinely tend to make up the majority, when getting samples from the general population.
Without devaluing their experiences in any way…it is important to note, that the genuinely traumatized who suffered through severe circumstances, still make up a minority.
The primary reason for this, is because decades have been spent pulling a wider and wider range of normal human sexuality, into the stigmatized and prosecutable category of child sex abuse. A large portion of what gets studied in this research, is non-violent and consensual activity…much of it even enjoyed by “the victim”.
Common sense has got to eventually prevail here…and tell us that a large portion of these cases, are simply not going to experience trauma or ill consequence, in connection to their own experience…certainly not, if they are respected and left alone.
Most modern CSA studies, are designed so as to disallow this type of common sense honesty…And that is the problem.
One last point…
In some “child sex abuse” cases, trauma is artificially caused after the fact by outside influences…and these cases find themselves included in research studies.
I would personally suggest, not only that these cases are being included in the wrong studies…but that in regards to their particular species of trauma, they would be better served by participation in studies, which look at living under social stigma and experiencing one’s sexuality in a hostilely prohibitive culture.
At the very least, I think these would be far more honest studies…They would examine the body of present factors and variables, and likely point towards the more probable sources of trauma.