The problematic science defining child sexual abuse and the normalization of pedophilia

The normalization of pedophilia is being pushed to the forefront of the American consciousness. Our schools are introducing children to sexually explicit education at earlier ages and television programing is taking the issue to new horizons with shows like the Netflix production of “Cuties.” People have argued for years that the normalization of homosexuality and legalization of gay marriage would be the catalyst for such a movement. The acceptance of these alternative lifestyles was introduced incrementally through subtle suggestions, and the portrayal of gay people as being righteous and upstanding while those opposed, bigoted and hateful. The same tactics are being used concerning pedophilia. The term, “minor attracted person” is being used to take away the negative connotations of sexual abuse and pedophilia. Disturbingly, the issue is being studied from a social science perspective, and academic journals are publishing findings which no doubt, are contributing to the movements claims that pedophilia is a normal sexual orientation. One such article is entitled “A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples.”

This article examines studies from all around the globe attempting to pinpoint exactly what the effects of child sexual abuse (CSA) are on children. The common belief, which is undoubtedly true no matter what the studies claim, is that children suffer great trauma and long-lasting psychological problems from CSA. Bruce Rind, Philip Tromovitch and Robert Bauserman are attempting to make the claim that the effects of CSA are not as traumatic as commonly believed and that in some cases, based on the studies cited in the article, other factors such as family environment and relationships with adults could contribute more to the psychological problems associated with CSA, than the act of sex itself. They also suggest that many methods in which CSA has been examined may be faulty by assuming every case involving sex with an underaged person is automatically considered abuse, which of course it should be. They compare a 5-year-old girl being forcefully molested by her father to a fifteen-year-old boy who may consensually agree to have sex with an unrelated adult. Of course, the five year is more likely to have long lasting psychological harm than the fifteen-year-old; however, that does not make it right. The implication being made here is that sexual abuse through a coercive act is more likely to cause harm while a consensual agreement to engage in sex with an adult does not. The article suggests that a fifteen-year-old boy agreeing to engage in sexual activity with an adult male is more of a violation of social norms than something that can be considered CSA. In which case, the issue is not something that can be studied as a case of causality because violating social norms is not known to cause psychological distress.

The problem they are attempting to rectify lies in the moral and legal definitions of CSA. They are claiming that there is a distinct difference between the two examples, and by classifying the fifteen year old boy as a case of CSA, the waters are being muddied on what actually constitutes CSA and how to determine what harm is caused. The article argues that classifying all cases of sexual activity with children as CSA is scientifically problematic because there is a difference between forceful and consensual acts. The term abuse itself, the article claims, is problematic because it does not differentiate between the violation of social norms and acts committed against a child’s will.

This is the biggest problem with science, there is no definite. Sex with children is wrong no matter which way you look at it. Unfortunately, social science journals are filled with bias. This writer is making no claims pertaining to the authors beliefs on child sexual abuse, only that there is a possibility of severe bias in any one of the studies used in this article. In fact, the article Bias in Research by Ana-Maria Simundic claims that many journals will not be published without positive findings. This means that if a study finds results not consistent with the beliefs of those conducting the study, the results will not be made public. If this is true, it is highly possible that the people publishing these findings are supportive of normalizing pedophilia.

Rind’s study concludes in a disturbing way. Not only is the claim made that there is no substantive evidence that CSA causes long lasting harm based on the methods traditionally used to define and study it ̶ ̶ there is the subtle suggestion that meaningful results can only be obtained by examining the young person’s willingness to participate in the sexual activity. If a young person perceives themselves as being a willing participant, then the encounter should only be labeled adult-child sex and not CSA. The only way to end child sexual abuse is to have a definite method of identifying what it is and holding people accountable whether a minor may have perceived themselves as being willing or not.

Leave a Comment


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)