My thoughts on CSA

Português (Translated by Yure!)

Introduction

Todd Nickerson (2007) writes: “[T]here are enough assholes out there who can manipulate kids into doing things they don’t want to do, perhaps causing them real distress and such, and they could easily hide behind such laws by convincing children that they had consented when they hadn’t or to pressure them to say they did anyway. In an ideal society there would be plenty of discussions and places where children could complain if they didn’t like what was being done, but we’ll never have an ideal society. Thus, I agree that children, who are especially vulnerable to coercion and manipulation, deserve speacial (sic) protections in certain areas, and I would say that sex is one of them. That, in a nutshell, is why I am against dropping the laws.”

I can concede that our current society is dangerous for children to consent in – however, I believe that there are several root causes of abuse which can be eradicated or at least their effects greatly mitigated; these include poor quality sex education, adults’ sense of entitlement over children, and shame and embarrassment in talking about sex. These have proved to be consistent inductors of CSA within cultures around the world. Not only do I believe these issues can be addressed, but it is our duty to address them, for without doing that, CSA will continue to flourish. Because of its dubious effects at preventing sex or sexual abuse, I do not believe that the age of consent laws are the most effective way to prevent child sexual abuse – awareness and openness are. The age of consent may indeed have negative effects in that it criminalizes both harmful and harmless relationships and creates an atmosphere of secrecy which may be more inductive to isolation and abuse than a visible relationship.

Manipulation

I would like to begin by addressing the idea that children are incapable of manipulating adults. This idea is simply not true. There are even books and programs created for helping people with “manipulative children”. One such book, entitled “Manipulating Parents: Tactics Used by Children of All Ages and Ways Parents Can Turn the Tables”, argues that children and adults can manipulate for good or bad reasons. The author also creates a “Parental Bill of Rights”, which explicitly gives parents the right to preside in the family, enjoy, expect service from, and manipulate their children (Robinson, 1981). While I have mixed feelings about the advice given in the book, I did like that they recognized manipulation is not necessarily harmful. They use value-neutral definition of the word manipulate – “to manage or utilize skillfully”.

Not all manipulation is “bad”. Many of our day-to-day actions could be considered manipulative. We tell little white-lies many times a day without even thinking about it. In some cases, manipulation can even be beneficial – to hide a surprise party, protect one’s privacy, to spare a person’s feelings, to stop harassment, and to avoid abusive situations (Read “A Child Called It” by Dave Pelzer for an example of a young child using manipulation to mitigate abuse), and so on. If nobody is harmed from manipulation, then it is not damaging. The issue is when manipulation allows us to do something harmful to another person. This harmful type of psychological manipulation is also known as gaslighting. It should also be known that gaslighting can happen in a variety of relationships – “with friends, family, bosses, and colleagues” (Stern, 2007). It is not exclusive to romantic or sexual relationships, and as O’Carroll (1980) writes, “It should also be realized that the danger of a child being emotionally bruised by a relationship with an adult is a possibility even if sex never enters into it”. However, it is still an important issue to consider. How can we prevent children from being gaslighted?

Who plays a role in preventing gaslighting?

Media.

There is a handful of media available for adults to help them deal with manipulative relationships. There is very little in that way for children. Children’s media, such as books, movies, TV shows, and games have long been used as educational sources for children. Media has even been credited as a source of teaching children how to manipulate 1 (Robinson, 1981). Therefore, it may be helpful to address the issue of gaslighting in children’s media to help them recognize and deal with it as well. Some helpful techniques used for adults may also be used for children, such as checklists. It is important that they learn to identify their feelings in a variety of situations. In addition, just having media that addresses the issue would be helpful in teaching them how to recognize and identify abuse, rather than shying away from the subject. I’ll explain this more in a following paragraph.

Parents.

The way parents interact with one another will be observed by the child and can greatly influence what they understand “normal” relationships to be like. Do they constantly argue and make the other feel hurt, rejected, ignored (which also allows children to play one parent against the other), or loved, respected, and listened to (Stenack, 2001)?

  • Teach children how to safely avoid and/or leave dangerous situations.
  • Have a strong support system (Leigh, 2006).
  • In addition, “insecurity can develop when [children] don’t get […] unconditional love and approval from their parents” (Stenack, 2001). Forming a healthy attachment and secure bonding is important, as it will affect a child, not only during childhood but adulthood as well. People with insecure attachment are at greater risk of being abused or abusive.

Child.

Identifying feelings is important. If a child is feeling troubled, here are some options (these techniques were originally proposed for adults, but can be used for children as well) :

  • Keep a journal or diary. Write down what happened and how it made you feel.
  • If you can remember them, write down your conversations, and read them at a later time.
  • Talk with a trusted friend.
  • Trust your gut feeling. If something feels wrong, don’t ignore it. (Stern, 2007)
  • Could there be something like a DA hotline for children? I will have to look up what is available for children to report abuse now.

Ideally, a child should not be alone in making judgments on an adult’s character. Similarly to the way that a parent would not approve a teacher or nanny without getting a sense of their character first, parents would have the responsibility to moderate the relationship. That way, if the child misses manipulative behavior, friends and family might see it. Adults are often the same way, and may ask their friends and family for their opinions on potential partners. If a partner tries to isolate someone from their community, it is a red flag that they may be setting that person up for abuse.

Comparing memory manipulation of children to memory manipulation of adults.

Nickerson thinks that an adult may be able to manipulate a child into believing they enjoyed a bad experience. While I also agree this is possible, in order for us to assess the liklihood and danger of memory distortion of children compared to adults, we must look at how easy both adults and children are to manipulate.

When it comes to creating false negative experiences, we know the human mind is very malleable – at any age. Children and adults alike can be manipulated into thinking they committed crimes, suffered abuse, etc. Take for example the Satanic Ritual Abuse trials of the 1990s, in which children and adults alike were convinced by therapists of having suffered elaborate forms of sexual abuse.

Loftus (1984) writes that in some cases, children are more susceptible to memory distortion, in others, they are equivalent to adults, and in yet other situations, they are less susceptible. Long-term recall appears to be poorer for young children; there is a positive correlation with age and more complete encoding. This incomplete encoding can leave them more susceptible to accepting information from another source, especially an authoritative source. However, Loftus writes, very young children are less susceptible to subtle suggestions of language, such as vocabulary usage, tone, etc. That does not mean young children are immune to it (it’s still often very effective), however, in general, this manipulation technique is more effective on adults. People tend to remember negative events more accurately than positive events, which means it’s generally easier to convince someone they disliked a pleasant experience than to convince them they enjoyed an unpleasant one (Fivush, Hazzard, Sales, Sarfati, & Brown, 2003). Negative events in particular tend to be more strongly encoded. Also, this may seem intuitive, but children and adults both “recall these events best when they have a good understanding of what the event is about at the time it occurs. Although memory fades over time, a good deal of what is retained is accurate” (Fivush, Hazzard, Sales, Sarfati, & Brown, 2003). “If an event is understandable and interesting to both children and adults, and if their memory for it is still equally strong, there may be no differences in suggestibility.” (Loftus, 1984).

According to Yoffe (2017), Harvard psychology professor Richard McNally writes the following: “Neuroscience research does not support [the] claim that high levels of stress hormones impair memory for traumatic experience.” In fact, it’s almost the opposite: “Extreme stress enhances memory for the central aspects of an overwhelming emotional experience.” There is likely an evolutionary reason for that, McNally said: “It makes sense for natural selection to favor the memory of trauma. If you remember life threatening situations, you’re more likely to avoid them.” Notably, survivors of recent horrific events—the Aurora movie-theater massacre, the San Bernardino terror attack, the Orlando-nightclub mass murder—have at trial or in interviews given narrative accounts of their ordeals that are chronological, coherent, detailed, and lucid.”

In addition, even children who have experienced only moderately stressful events tend to have fairly strong recall over time (compared to no or low-stress events) (Fivush, Sales, Goldberg, Bahrick, and Parker, 2004). In other words, an event that is stressful or negative doesn’t have to be particularly traumatic for someone to remember it.

“But what if a memory’s so horrible they’ve forgotten it?”

Sometimes memories of traumatic events are said to be hidden in the mind, and are called repressed memory. Repressed memories do exist, however, they do not work in the way that is often believed. First off, they are quite rare. Secondly, if one has repressed memories, they are usually aware that they have forgotten them (they know something is missing), and they can remember events leading up to that “blank spot” in their mind. This is thought to be an evolutionary defence to prevent a person from encountering the same situation again. In addition, sometimes certain “tics” associated with the event can trigger the memory to resurface. In other words, they do not simply lose all knowledge of the abuse, nor are they unaware of the fact that they are missing a memory. (Loftus & Ketcham, 1994).

Some perspective on positive false memories and negative false memories.

Porter et al. write, “a valence by veracity interaction also suggested that false negative memories were more detailed than false positive memories, reflecting an exacerbated susceptibility to distortion of memory for negative events.” In other words, negative false memories are easier to implant than positive false memories. They are also more enduring and tend to become distorted and magnified to greater extents.

“Further,” Porter et al. write, “false negative events were more than twice as likely as false positive events to be falsely recalled, with 90% of participants recalling at least one false negative event and only 41.7% endorsing at least one false positive event.” Therefore, if you believe in protecting children from distress caused by false positive memories, you should also believe in protecting them from the distress caused by the more enduring and common false negative memories, which may result from disclosure of otherwise positively experienced relationships.

Now, let us return to the root of this discussion – how age of consent laws relate to all this.

History of age of consent laws.

Age of consent (AoC) laws were originally created to prevent a child (usually female) from consenting to something that they were not believed to be mentally capable of understanding. We see these laws replicated in Western Europe and the United States until the latter part of the 19th century – and so the AoC ranged from 7 to 12. At the end of the 19th century, however, there were efforts to raise the AoC to 16 in England. The main reasons for raising the AoC were to prevent child prostitution (which we now have separate laws for) and to preserve a girl’s virginity until marriage. However, rates of premarital sex continued to increase into the late 1900s. There was a debate about whether or not the laws were truly effective, and some people scoffed at the laws, joking it should be raised to 80 (Cocca, 2004).

Although laws against sexual activity before 18 exist, that doesn’t seem to stop it from happening. A majority of people in the United States have full penetrative sex before reaching the age of consent (one estimate is 66%) (Cocca, 2004), and many have non-penetrative sex play with other partners before even reaching adolescence (70% of pre-adolescent boys interviewed admitted to sex play with others and 57% of adults recalled such incidents. The percentage is lower for girls; only about one-fifth of girls recalled such incidents) (Kinsey et al., 1948).

Miranda Sawyer (2003) writes, “The stark truth is this. Though the age of consent can frighten teenagers into not seeking help when they need it, it doesn’t stop them having sex. Cross-European comparisons of sexual health, carried out by Rox Kane and Kaye Wellings at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, show that the age of consent has no bearing on the age of first sex.2 […] If we want teenagers to delay their first sexual experience until they are ready, so that they’re not forced into it, so that they won’t get pregnant, so that they’ll enjoy it safely and, vitally, won’t regret it – then the age of consent is no help at all. What does work is sex education.” 3

The fact that the age of consent laws seem to have little to no correlation to one’s age at first sexual activity makes me question how effective it is at preventing that. It appears that minors generally have sex at ages irrespective of what the law says. However, is it effective at preventing sexual activity between minors and adults specifically, or child sexual abuse? Let’s see.

(*Worth noting: Megan’s Law, aka the public sex offender registry, has no reported effect on reducing sex crimes, yet costs millions of tax dollars annually.)

How effective is the age of consent at preventing CSA?

The prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to measure because of methodology issues and differing definitions of three terms: child, sexual, and abuse (Frederiksen, 2000). Like other types of abuse, there is also reticence to report (though likely even more so because of sexual abuse being an especially taboo subject). However, Stoltenborgh et al. (2011) took a meta-analysis of over nine million subjects and attempted to get a vague understanding of the prevalence of CSA in six different continents. Stoltenborgh and her colleagues controlled for different definitions of “child” by only including sexual abuse of subjects under 18, and controlled for “sexual abuse” by specifying how the abuse reported related to the NIS-3 definition.

The rates for 6 different continents were:

rates

(image from: Stoltenborgh et al.)

The top 5 countries with highest rates of child sexual abuse have the following ages of consent:

1. South Africa: 16

2. India: 18

3. Zimbabwe: 16

4. United Kingdom: 16

5. United States: 16, 17, 18

All 5 of these countries have AoCs of 16-18, the UN Standard. While I couldn’t find information on the specific countries with the lowest rates of CSA, the Asian continent has the lowest overall reported rates of child sexual abuse. While correlation does not equal causation, we should pay attention to patterns we see with regard to how sexuality is handled in these countries. Perhaps the key to preventing abuse may not be an age of consent, but other factors, such as not seeing sex as something shameful or embarrassing, sexual education and awareness.4

She concludes the following about CSA rates: South Africa may be responsible for high CSA rates because men in such societies feel that they have authority over women and children (Madu and Peltzer, 2000). The socialization of African children to unquestioningly obey older people puts them at risk for sexual abuse by people to whom they are expected to pay their respects (Lalor, 2008; Mbagaya, 2010). Urbanization causing children to become isolated from their families was also cited as a possible factor (Mbagaya, 2010). Perhaps, then, we should take steps to change the notions that children must unquestioningly obey older people, men have authority over women and children (and all adults have authority over children), and keep families connected, not isolated.5 6

Does the AoC stop minors from being pressured?

How are age of consent laws going to keep adults from pressuring kids to lie? The only difference is with the age of consent laws, instead of the adult pressuring the minor to say they enjoyed aspects of their relationship, they are pressuring the minor to keep the whole relationship a secret. Keeping the whole relationship a secret may be more dangerous because 1) if a relationship is consensual, it may confuse and distress the child it by saying it was abuse and putting it in the same category as acts of rape and molestation, and 2) if nobody else is aware of it, there are less eyewitnesses to detect an inconsistency in what the child is saying, and someone from the outside cannot as easily intervene. Secrecy and isolation are contributing factors to gaslighting and other forms of abuse (Stern, 2007). If the caregivers and community are aware of the situation, they will be able to monitor it. If the relationship isn’t even known about, parents might not be looking out for sexual abuse symptoms or mistake sexual abuse symptoms to be something else.

If a child feels unsure about things, they should be able to ask for help from a trusted friend or community member who knows about the relationship so that they can obtain advice from a different perspective. However, if it’s kept in the shadows because it’s illegal, this may not be possible. Open communication is key.

But at least the AoC doesn’t harm kids…does it?

Michael M. v. Superior Court of Sonoma County. A 16 year old girl and 17 year old boy were perfectly within the legal age-span limit, but there was forcible sexual abuse involved. When she told him to stop, he hit her and continued. The judges didn’t want to convict as they said “the closeness of their ages” made it seem to the judge she was not an “unwilling participant” and that was a “factor that should make this case an unattractive one to prosecute at all”. This is just one example. As we saw earlier, age of consent laws have no relation to when minors have sex. Some of those cases will inevitably involve partners whose ages aren’t protected by an age-span provision. Another problem is that there are extremely harsh sentences; a person can be sentenced to life or hundreds of years in jail, or listed on a sex offender registry for life. These sentences may make judges hesitant to convict if there is a crime committed but punishment is disproportional to the crime. There are also homophobic7, racial, age, and gender biases, among others, and certain groups of people are unfairly profiled. The same crime may have different punishments, dependent only on any of the previously mentioned factors.

Only now, this activity, which Nickerson (2007) describes as something that on its most basic level shouldn’t be any different from “a massage” is hidden in the shadows of illegality.

Destigmatizing and decriminalizing such relationships would allow them to be “in the open”. This would not only create a new outlet for those involved to speak out, where they don’t have to be afraid of their relationships automatically being reported, but it would also mean such relationships may be more easily monitored by family and community and there would be a better chance at detecting foul play if a partner is indeed manipulative. Because everyone becomes more involved and aware of the situation, there’s less reason for dangerous secrecy. By making clear distinctions between love and abuse, not lumping the two together, abuse is more likely to be identified and avoided. When a child is in a potentially risky situation, community involvement is key.

As mentioned earlier, the adult must not only earn the approval of the child, but also the child’s network of support, which includes more experienced adults, such as the parents or guardians. This community should be involved in helping the child make decisions as well. Note, that this does not mean absolute authority over the child, as this can be inductive for manipulation. Rather, it means openly discussing and monitoring relationships (depending on what is developmentally appropriate for the child), providing guidance, letting them make appropriate mistakes, and intervening if there are serious potential dangers detected.

Conclusion

I believe that children should be able to explore their sexuality, just like any other topic, with a peer or an adult (who may provide scaffolding) if they so wish. I don’t believe there should be a blanket ban, especially when negative experiences are in the minority (Rind et al, 1998)8. “Late bloomers” and those who otherwise wish to abstain from sex will still be protected. They can choose not to have sex, and those who are ready can likewise choose to have sex. People break the law regardless of how high the AoC is, how hated pedophilia is, and how harsh the punishments are. Blanket bans lump together positive or neutral, non-abusive instances, with instances that really are abusive. When they’re lumped together, this causes confusion, stress, and other iatrogenic harm to the child, unjust persecution of the adult, and extra work for law enforcement, which slows down the stop of actual abuse.

When the real causes of trauma and exploitation are identified and addressed, there will be even less risk and even less reason for a blanket ban. Maybe as Nickerson says, “We’ll never have an ideal society”, and never completely get rid of child abuse. The risks might always be there. However, nothing in life is truly risk free. Think of how life would be if we waited for everything in life to be risk free. None of us would drive cars for fear of a car crash. None of us would play sports for fear of getting hurt. None of us would cook for fear of getting burned. We tend to act this way even more so with children. It’s impossible to keep our children’s lives 100% risk free. I’m not saying to live without regard for safety, but taking some risks, and knowing how to navigate them, is a necessary part of life.

You want to lower that risk? Consider the advice from the previous paragraphs, and consider how most psychological damage and distress comes from other’s reactions after disclosure (Henry, 1995). We can do what was suggested in the previous paragraphs and be respectful of the views of people who had firsthand sexual activities as a minor – specifically, we should respect their right to view their experiences as negative or positive.

I hope that Nickerson will be able to see that for most of us who believe the AoC to be unhelpful in preventing child abuse, we don’t see it so simply as just “dropping the laws” in society just as it is today and seeing what happens. That would be much like letting someone drive a car on their own without training them first. Much progress would need to take place, which Nickerson believes we will never have, but that I believe is possible with hard work and perseverance, just in the way that other types of social progress have been achieved in the past.

References

Cocca, C.E. (2004). Jailbait: The Politics of Statutory Rape Laws in the United States.

Eysenck, H. (1976). Sex and Personality. Open Books, London.

Fivush, R., Hazzard, A., Sales, J.M., Sarfati, D., & Brown, T. (2003). Creating coherence out of chaos? Children’s narratives of emotionally positive and negative events. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 17, 1-19.

Fivush, R., Sales, J.M., Goldberg, A., Bahrick, L., & Parker, J. (2004). Weathering the storm: Children’s long-term recall of Hurricane Andrew. Memory, 12, 104-118.

Frederiksen, A. (2000). Pedophilia, Science, and Self-deception: A Criticism of Sex Abuse Research. Retrieved from

https://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Library/frederiksen_text.htm

Henry, J.A. (1995). Societal System Intervention Trauma To Child Sexual Abuse Victims Following Disclosure. Retrieved from

https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/handle/1811/36826

Kinsey, A., Pomeroy, W.B., Martin, C.E. (1948). Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Retrieved from https://www.ipce.info/sites/ipce.info/files/biblio_attachments/sexual_behavior_in_the_human_male_1948_-_chapter5_-_early_sexual_growth_and_activity.pdf

Lalor, K. (2008). Child sexual abuse and HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. Child Abuse Review, 17, 94-107. doi:10.1002/car.1020.

Mbagaya, C.V. (2010). Child maltreatment in Kenia, Zambia and the Netherlands. A cross-cultural comparison of prevalence, psychopathological sequelae, and mediation by PTSS. Leiden University, Leiden

Michael M. v. Superior Court of Sonoma County 1981: 484-486 fn* and 483-485.

Leigh, D. (2016). How To Prevent, Recognize and Recover from Gaslighting. Retrieved from  https://www.iheartintelligence.com/2016/05/20/prevent-gaslighting/

Loftus, E. (1984). Distortions in the Memory of Children. Journal of Social Issues. Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 51-67

Loftus, E., & Ketcham, K. (1994). The Myth of Repressed Memory.

Madu, S.N., & Peltzer, K. (2000). Risk factors and child sexual abuse among secondary school students in the Northern Province (South Africa). Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, 259-268. doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(99)00128-3.

Ney, P.G., Fung, T., & Wickett, A.R. (1994). The Worst Combinations of Child Abuse and Neglect. Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 18, No. 9. pp. 705-714.

Nickerson, T. “Markaba 2.0”. (2007, April 24). Checking In and an Unpleasant Confrontation. Message posted to http://web.archive.org/web/20111121032020/http://www.mwillett.org/Debate/viewtopic.php?p=121929#121929

O’Carroll, T. (1980). Paedophilia: The Radical Case.

Pelzer, D. (1995) A Child Called It. Health Communications Inc.

Porter et al. (2008). Memory for media: Investigation of false memories for negatively and positively charged public events.

Prescott, J.W. (1975). ‘Body pleasure and the origins of violence’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, pp. 10-20.

Rind, B., Tromovitch, P., & Bauserman, R. (1998). A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples. Retrieved from

Click to access metaana.pdf

Robinson, P. W. (1981.) Manipulating Parents: Tactics Used by Children of All Ages and Ways Parents Can Turn the Tables. Prentice Hall Direct.

Sawyer, M. (2003). Sex is not just for grown-ups. Retrieved from

https://www.ipce.info/library_3/files/sawyer.htm

Stoltenborgh, M., Marije Stoltenborgh, Marinus H. van Ijzendoorn, Eveline M. Euser & Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg (2011). A Global Perspective on Child Sexual Abuse: Meta-Analysis of Prevalence Around the World.

Stenack, R.J. (2001). Stop Controlling Me! New Harbinger Publications.

Stern, R. (2007). The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulations Other People Use to Control Your Life. Crown Pub.

Yoffe, E. (2017). The Bad Science Behind Campus Response to Sexual Assault. Retrieved from

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/09/the-bad-science-behind-campus-response-to-sexual-assault/539211/

Further reading

Jane Gale – Paedophilia

“It must be remembered that the adult, if he has a greater propensity for evil; also has a greater propensity for good. If a relationship should be deemed unacceptable because of the unequal distribution of power, then most heterosexual adult relationships are unacceptable. The greater life experience of the adult may be more beneficial to the child than a relationship with someone of his own age.

Judith Viorst – Imperfect Control

We are never truly “perfectly autonomous beings” in “perfect control” of our lives, and that’s okay. To be human is to be at least somewhat dependent.

Lenore Skenazy – Free Range Kids

Talks about how we can’t live our life afraid of taking risks. How parents have become overprotective of children, climate of fear in United States. Also talks about SOR hysteria.

Pelzer, Dave – A Child Called “It”

How a young child uses manipulation prevent his mother from abusing him further.

Susan Clancy – The Trauma Myth

Among the people she interviewed about their “CSA experiences”, less than 10 percent of people reported experiencing the situation as traumatic at the time – the negative perception often developed later on.

Titus Rivas – Discussion on IPCE

Discusses why parents should be involved.

Unique Types of Abuse in Sexual Minority Populations (These all focus on LGB populations but some of it can be applied to other sexual minorities):

Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 674–697.

Poorman, P. B., Seelau, E. P., & Seelau, S. M. (2003). Perceptions of domestic abuse in same-sex relationships and implications for criminal justice and mental health responses. Violence and Victims, 18(6), 659-669. doi:10.1891/088667003780928026

Seelau, E. P., Seelau, S. M., & Poorman, P. B. (2003). Gender and role-based perceptions of domestic abuse: Does sexual orientation matter? Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 21(2), 199-214. doi:10.1002/bsl.524

Stanley, J. L., Bartholomew, K., Taylor, T., Oram, D., & Landolt, M. (2006). Intimate violence in male same-sex relationships. Journal of Family Violence, 21, 31–41.

Stiles-Shields, C., & Carroll, R. A. (2015;2014;). Same-sex domestic violence: Prevalence, unique aspects, and clinical implications. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 41(6), 636-13. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2014.958792

Footnotes

1 This author also cites media as contributing to young children’s ability to manipulate, as they learn manipulation tactics and “ways to cope with parents” from movies and TV shows. There are books created for adolescents that teach manipulation – see “How to raise your parents”.

2 If you want to test this yourself, compare the Durex 2005 sex survey with age of consent laws in 2005 and it will reveal a similar trend.

3 Do minors want the AoC? In Miranda Sawyer’s interview, she found some minors wanted it raised to 18, some wanted it lowered to 12, and some wanted it abolished completely. Percentages were not given. A few had had partners past the age-span provision and expressed concern that they wouldn’t be able to get assistance.

4 We know that negative views toward premarital and youth sex are positively correlated with general violence. (Prescott, 1975). What about sexual violence specifically? We also see that in a study of 186 patients at a mental institution, those who commit sex crimes were more likely to have conservative views towards sexuality, including towards child sexuality (Eysenck, 1976).

5She also speculates that collectivism may contribute to the low reported rates of CSA in Asia. However, two of the top 5 countries with the highest reported rates of CSA are generally considered collectivist countries (India and Zimbabwe). In addition, there are also individualist countries with lower reported rates of CSA, such several European countries. So-called “collectivism” has also been argued as both contributing to and mitigating sexual abuse. To say a “collectivist” culture causes people to withhold accounts of CSA is not specific enough. Cultures would need to be examined in further detail to identify what specific “collectivist” (or “individualist”) practices contribute to CSA.

6There appears to be little to no correlation between higher AoC and lower CSA rates. However, correlation does not equal causation. I would prefer to find definite impact of AoC on CSA rates. I do believe however, there is some preliminary research on the impact of CP on CSA rates. I will have to search for more info. In addition, teenage pregnancy lower in countries with lower AoC’s such as the Netherlands vs the USA. Rate of teen pregnancy had little to no correlation with age of first penetrative intercourse. Determining Correlation vs. Causation: use Hill’s Criteria.

7 The sexual offender registry was created for gay bashing. See SOL Research’s “Origin of Registry”.

8 Once again, we see a discrepancy between male and female sexual experiences: Negative experiences were in the minority for male children, whereas a majority of females reacted negatively.

16 thoughts on “My thoughts on CSA

  1. “… the Asian continent has the lowest overall reported rates of child sexual abuse.”

    I would be rather wary of any comparison made between the continent of Asia and any Anglosphere continent. The former mostly comprise countries with zero or minimal welfare safety net for its citizens; the latter comprising nanny state countries saturated with laws that compensate those that make false accusations of child sexual abuse, both current and historic.

    One day I was invited into a community of several families in a town in Myanmar. About 12 people were sitting in a circle outside the community house. The group comprised four generations. As we chatted with one another, a four- or five-year-old boy with just a T-shirt on came to sit on the lap of a twenties-something lady relative. Within a few minutes the boy laid back in a relaxed way and allowed himself to be placated by the lady. The placation took the form of gentle masturbation … in full view of the group as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I smiled at the lady and she returned the smile as the boy was being pleasured.

    It does not take too much imagination to see the marked contrast in the way a consensual ‘sex’ act involving a minor is treated in Asia, and a consensual ‘sex’ act involving a minor is treated in Western allied countries. This difference has massive implications for CSA research across continents.

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  2. Adolescents are not children!

    Puberty is largely responsible for adult sexuality. Puberty begins around age 9, not 18.

    Adult sexuality begins with puberty. Adulthood begins in adolescence.

    Child sexuality = pre-pubescent, in general, before the age of 9 years.

    Adult sexuality = pubescent, generally, from the age of 9 years.

    Children are those who do not reach puberty, in general, those under 9 years of age. Child pornography is before age 9. Child prostitution is before age 9.

    The UN itself classifies as children only those who are under 10 years old. The UN does not respect its own official classification and calls the adolescents “children.”.

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    1. Hi “Stop Ageism”,
      I agree with you that there should be some sort of dividing line between prepubertal and pubertal/postpubertal people as their experiences can be quite different. The definition of “child” varies so much depending on the context and who you ask. Perhaps it would be more clear if, when possible, I defined people under 18 as “minors”, and divided that into prepubertal, pubertal and postpubertal minors. Problem is, puberty begins at different ages for everyone. One child may be prepubertal at 8 and another may have already started menstruating. So when I don’t know the specifics, I might simply say “minor” or “child”.

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  3. > 7 The sexual offender registry was created for gay bashing. See SOL Research’s “Origin of Registry”

    Oh come one, are you telling me that the history of the Sex Offender Registry had a basis of blatantly bigoted, homophobic purposes? This is just like the history of gun control, in the USA, where its explicitly racist purpose was to legally disarm blacks so they’d be easy targets of harassment from the Ku Klux Klan, and others!

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