Every so often, a particularly important and inspirational statement is made by someone in the public eye, be it courtesy of a writer, a politician, a lawyer, etc., that everyone in the world should take heed of and which should be preserved in perpetuity. Such a quote was made in an early 2010 article/interview of British journalist David Aaronovitch, who was discussing his new book detailing some of the greatest conspiracy theories of the 20th century to the first decade of the 21st, Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History (the quote will be given down below in the summation paragraph of this essay, so be patient!). Though the book has nothing to do with the Minor Attracted Adult (MAA) community, it should be noted that it does have a lot of relevance to us. This is because it can be argued that many of the lies aimed at the members of this community, including the highly inaccurate image of us constructed by the media and since emblazoned into the mindset of popular culture, have been a litany of urban legends that could possibly be combined to include what future historians and journalists may consider a massive conspiracy theory of sorts (especially since the sex abuse hysteria includes the child porn scare, aspects of which that are commonly reported in the media may constitute an urban legend of its own). That is pushing the definition of "conspiracy theory" a bit, of course, but consider some of the incorrect beliefs that have been part of the interconnected sex abuse hysteria and "pedophile panic" that have since been totally disproven, or at least received a major challenge in a mainstream book or research paper to the point of providing enormous evidence against these dubious credences. The following disproven or greatly challenged assumptions were once accepted parts of our society's conventional wisdom that weren't challenged for many years each (listed below in no particular order):
1) Children never lie when they say they have been sexually abused. That once very popular belief, which all but doomed almost every single adult who was ever accused of this crime regardless of the fact that there may have been zero evidence to back up any given accusation, was finally disproven beyond a shadow of a doubt with the tragic McMartin pre-school incident. The above incident put the kibosh on this once thorougly accepted assumption forever after a bunch of unscrupulous female social workers with a moralizing political agenda got caught on tape bullying kids into making up extremely grotesque and outrageous stories about many bizarre types of abuse that evidently happened to these kids at the McMartin daycare center...all of which turned out to be complete fabrications. Info on the aspect of the sexual abuse hysteria that claimed that such abuse of kids was occurring in epidemic proportions in American daycare centers, of which the McMartin incident was the culmination of, can be found here.
2) Every adult who commits genuine acts of sexual abuse against kids have and are primarily motivated by a sexual attraction to kids. Some very good objective studies, many of which are quoted here with links to the full reports, have provided extremely compelling evidence that close to 90% of all cases of genuine, demonstrable sexual abuse against kids are not done by true pedophiles and hebephiles, but by what are often called situational offenders. Those who fit the latter definition are defined as adults (and sometimes teens) who sexually abuse kids for reasons that have nothing to do with sexual desire but most often due to an array of other factors, including alcoholism, power trips over these kids whom such adults have particularly heavy authority over, marital problems, heavy stress, and other personal issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with a sexual desire for underagers.
Also, the bulk of situational offenders operate within the home, boarding school, or other places where adults have the most stringent power and authority over kids. This strongly suggests that it's this element of power and not a mere erotic attraction to kids which most often acts as a catalyst for genuine non-consensual abuse of minors. FBI statistics that can be found with a modicum of research admit this (though the FBI, of course, does not distinguish between genuine non-consensual abuse and mutually consensual contact between kids and adults since all such contact is equally criminalized under the present day age of consent laws).
3) Kids have no real sexual desire. A recent collection of the Web surfing habits of kids--including pre-pubescents of both genders as young as seven years old--that was conducted by Symantic discovered that some of the most common topics searched for online by these underagers...well, let's just say that this data proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the concept of "innocence" in regards to childhood is about as realistic as a big fat man in red clothing sliding down the chimney of every house in the world on Christmas Eve.
4) Kids were being sexually abused in truly horrific and often preposterous ways in the U.S.--and possibly across the world--by groups of mysterious and diabolical cultists who worshipped Satan and were abusing these kids in "honor" of the ultimate Lord of Evil. This particularly bizarre manifestation of the ongoing sex abuse hysteria that has been plaguing Western society for the past three decades was once accepted as absolute fact by the usual suspects who benefit from all permutations of this hysteria. These suspects include child "protectionist" groups, victim feminists, politicians of both major political parties seeking brownie points with the public and any excuse to increase police powers over all society, right-wing fundamentalist Christians, prosecutors without a conscience (including the later Waco, Texas mass murderess and good friend of Hillary Clinton, Janet Reno), and corrupt social workers and therapists with a less than savory agenda and an eye for a career boost at the expense of destroying the lives of innocent people.
Following a few totally unsubstantiated rumors that began early in the 1970s, the satanic ritual abuse hysteria began in earnest with the 1980 publication of the book Michelle Remembers by psychologist Dr. Lawrence Pazder and his patient (and later wife) Michelle Smith. Thousands of innocent people, including numerous daycare center workers, were victims of this twisted tomfoolery, and as usual, people who were truly and wisely skeptical of this atrocity were too afraid to speak out for the risk of being called names that may have led to them losing their jobs as a result of questioning the hysteria.
This aspect of the hysteria was finally (and thankfully) totally disproven in the extremely important book Satan's Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of A Modern American Witchhunt by the uber-courageous journalist Debbie Nathan and the uber-honorable lawyer (yes, there are a few of those!) Michael Snedeker, both of whom should be hailed as heroes. A page of links leading to many important articles on this particular manifestation of the sex abuse panic can be found here.
5) Innumerable people who were sexually abused in their childhood were so traumatized by the alleged abuse that they repressed the memory deep into their subconscious, which could subsequently be retrieved at any point in their adulthood by deep hypnosis. The "repressed memory syndrome" was another major component of the sex abuse hysteria that was considered a scientifically valid concept despite no real evidence to support it when ignorant and outright unscrupulous therapists with (often questionable) talent in hypnosis claimed that individuals who showed any number of emotional problems in adulthood may have these symptoms as a result of experiencing extreme trauma in their childhood after being sexually abused, but which, according to this pseudo-scientific theory, these alleged victims would repress and thus no longer consciously remember the events.
The "repressed memory syndrome" also got its start in the infamous book Michelle Remembers (discussed above), which claimed that the horrific memories of an alleged victim of severe sexual abuse via her mom's non-existent satanic cult was repressed until retrieved by her therapist (and later husband) Dr. Lawrence Pazder by way of hypnotic regression. As one might expect, many other individuals with less than altruistic intentions soon exploited this newly recognized "syndrome" to further their own moral or political agenda. For instance, this phony psychological condition got a further boost towards popular acceptance in the notorious book The Courage to Heal by agenda-ridden victim feminists Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. The latter two "victims' rights activists" jumped on the sex abuse bandwagon so popular with members of their specious ideology to spread the word to their many readers that just because they don't remember being sexually abused doesn't mean that it didn't happen. Bass and Davis not so sagely asserted that any number of personal issues that can be caused by any number of non-traumatic factors in the type of society that we live in today were often indicative of forgotten sexual abuse during their childhood.
Two particularly telling quotes from the book that are representative of the typical statements made within its pages make it quite clear how devoted to scientific validity and objective reason its authors weren't in the original edition of the book: "If you are unable to remember any specific instances like the ones mentioned above but still have a feeling that something abusive happened to you, it probably did" (p.21). And if that wasn't indicative enough of the type of chicanery which filled the pages of this book, behold this utterly anti-scientific gem that is also found within this charming little tome: "Demands for proof are unreasonable" (p. 137).
So according to the authors, it's more important to be "kind" and "considerate" to the feelings of the alleged victim of the alleged abuse than it is to call for an investigation or any type of inquiry into the truth if the evidence doesn't back up the allegations of this supposed victim. Obviously, the faux social science of "victimology" certainly doesn't fit well into a society that is supposed to be based on democratic principles, nor a legal system that purports to be based upon the notion of innocent until proven guilty. Just imagine if this ideology was allowed to infest our entire system of jurisprudence without challenge. Excuse me, but I would like to think that anyone who is devoted to the truth and the simple concept of social justice would gladly risk being "insensitive" to the feelings of the alleged victims by demanding evidence of their claims before taking the risk of prosecuting someone who may be entirely innocent.
A book review of The Courage To Heal that is courtesy of therapist Ralph Underwager can be found here. Ignore some of Underwager's psychobabble in regards to various psychological theories he expresses in the review (including the rather unproven contention that psychopathic tendencies have a genetic basis according to one of the theories he seems to support), and you will find a cogent and not overly long critique of the type of "theories" that Bass and Davis push in their book to support their anti-male, anti-heterosexual, and anti-scientific agenda.
Perhaps it should be noted that the most recent edition of The Courage To Heal added a chapter that attempted to refute the statements made by the book's many detractors who dared to ask for scientifically verified evidence of the claims made therein. It's sad that this book is still considered a legitimate source of objective info for female sexual abuse victims to seek out as a means of healing. But for those particular women who espouse the concept of "victimology" and are therefore interested in revenge rather than actual healing, creating a whole social identity around their "victimhood" (i.e., becoming a Victim rather than simply a victim, if you know what I mean), and to consider themselves "damaged goods" for the rest of their lives since truly healing and moving past their pain would deny them the perceived right to convey sociopathic behavior towards others who try to get close to them, especially men who may express an interest in them and family members who may offer their shoulder, and then calling all of the above individuals "insensitive to their pain" if they dare complain about such aberrant behavior being directed at them for no justifiable reason.
Thus was born a new psychological concept, which contended that when people suffer extreme trauma they will very likely repress it deeply in their subconscious and that hypnosis was supposedly a reliable method of retrieving these buried and forgotten memories. As a result, numerous therapists with even a minor degree of skill in hypnosis jumped on the bandwagon, and before you knew it, people were "remembering" previously repressed memories of sexual abuse in massive numbers, a number that included actress and comedian Roseanne Barr (a.k.a., Roseanne Arnold, a.k.a.,...isn't it just plain old Roseanne now or did she end up taking the last name of that bodyguard of hers that she married?). These allegations were taken extremely seriously by the courts and the media, as well as many in the mental health profession.
Of course, it's now known that people who suffer severe trauma very rarely, if ever, suppress such memories but instead suffer from empirically demonstrable conditions like post-traumatic stress syndrome, which often afflicts former soldiers who had truly horrific experiences in combat, victims of extreme forms of physical abuse by parents and/or their peers when younger, and victims of various violent crimes. This well documented condition made it clear what most often happens when someone undergoes a truly traumatic experience, which is the exact opposite of what the purveyers of the "repressed memory" nonsense claimed, i.e., that traumatic events in someone's life, which was believed to be a common reaction by children to sexual abuse until later studies (documented below) proved otherwise, would very often be forgotten as the result of an alleged natural self-defense mechanism of the psyche.
After thousands of innocent people, often parents and other relatives, were falsely accused of sexual abuse and dragged through legal hell over the course of a decade due to events that were allegedly forgotten by their supposed victims until retreived by hypnosis, the "repressed memory syndrome" was finally exposed beyond a shadow of a doubt as the junk science that it was was in the book The Myth Of Repressed Memory: False Memories And Allegations Of Sexual Abuse by psychologist and memory expert Dr. Elizabeth F. Loftus with the assistance of Katherine Ketcham.
Other books and articles have appeared in the mental health literature since then which cast further aspersions on the concept of "repressed memory," such as this excellent and extrordinary article on Loftus' book by Karen Adler. A page containing many links to other articles on this topic can be found here.
And let's not forget how the "repressed memory syndrome" and the irresponsible use of hypnosis combined with other factors to create the alien abduction phenomenon that was popularized by such books as artist Budd Hopkins' series of tomes on the subject starting with with Missing Time near the end of the 1970s, on the eve of the beginning of the sex abuse hysteria, and author/actor Whitley Strieber's equally popular series of books on this topic beginning with Communion in the 1980s. One cannot ignore the blatant sexual aspects and confabulation of fantasy and reality with "memories" retrieved via hynosis that is highly evident in this phenomenon that became most popular during the days when "repressed memory syndrome" was at the peak of its societal acceptance. The alien abduction phenomenon was quite possibly influenced in certain ways by the sex abuse hysteria that was going on alongside it, which is evident when you analyze the reports closely enough and see how many kids were supposed to be involved in this phenomenon.
6) All cases of what is legally considered child pornography are always produced by adults and never by the minors themselves. That simultaneously stereotypical and comforting idea to victim feminists and antis was blown out of the water completely once the sexting phenomenon came to light towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century. This revelation shouldn't have taken the public by surprise, since it was revealed a few years earlier that teens were routinely taking and uploading nude pics of themselves on socnet sites like MySpace, as noted here. This time, it wasn't possible for the media to blame adults for this increasingly popular method of underagers to express their sexuality, nor could the mental health industry and victimologists decree their famous mantra, "It's not the fault of the kids!"
The above examples of wishful thinking by our gerontocentric society were blown to hell once and for all with the revelation of Justin Berry's story. For those who are not familiar with the case, Justin Berry was a youth who started a lucrative business for himself by making and distributing pornographic videos of himself masturbating online, beginning when he was 13 on a website of his own creation. He built a large clientele for himself and was very financially healthy as a result. He eventually came to the attention of author and reporter Kurt Eichenwald, who wrote a much balleyhooed article on Justin Berry's story in The New York Times, which was filled with all the typical mainstream propaganda about how Berry was the victim in this situation, how his homosexual male clientele "exploited" him, how the advent of webcams and other new technology is a terrible thing for young people to have in their possession, how the Internet is allegedly filled to the brim with predators, etc. However, there were many things that Eichenwald didn't mention about Berry's story in his bias-filled article, including the fact that he directly insinuated himself into Berry's life by giving him money to allegedly try and help him "turn over a new leaf." Eichenwald was even found to have high level access to one of Berry's illegal sites, and Eichenwald later convinced Berry to speak out on Internet predation in public by officially going along with Eichenwald's claims that he was a victim. Hence, once Berry turned 18 and was no longer sale material to his homosexual hebephile clientele, playing the "victim" card was probably seen as the wisest thing for him to do, since he had great potential to become a media darling as a result and to possibly make a killing by having Eichenwald's sanitized and 'socially acceptable' version of Berry's life story turned into a profitable movie. However, once the facts on the case came out, Eichenwald and Berry lost their movie potential, as well as the chance to turn Berry into a victim-turned-activist-media-sweetheart.
Journalist Debbie Nathan, who had previously debunked the satanic ritual abuse nonsense with her book Satan's Silence in 1995, composed a lengthy article for CounterPunch in 2007 that revealed the full truth behind Justin Berry's story and put all of Eichenwald's politically correct claims to question. That article can be found here. Nathan's article makes it quite clear that Berry was hardly a saint, and his full story will make one question who exactly benefitted from his situation the most and who was truly exploited.
Further, Eichenwald's breach of ethical conduct in regards to his behavior during the entire affair is likewise illustrated in the above linked article, and his claims about Berry's innocence and victim status, along with his assertions about Internet "predation" and child porn for sale and profit being problems of epidemic proportions, are likewise debunked. Another good article detailing Eichenwald's handling of the Justin Berry story is John Farmer's 2006 essay that can be found here. Farmer does make some disparaging comments about younger people in this article (such as expressing his doubts that a 13-year-old possesses the intellectual and emotional wherewithal to think of creating the type of online business that Berry created without "encouragement" from adults) and he does seem to have no problem with parents incessantly invading the privacy of their kids, but he nevertheless asks many important questions about Eichenwald's portrayal of Justin Berry that need to be asked, and he should be commended for this.
7) The brains of adolescents are inherently faulty due to innate biological factors and thus they have an inherent tendency to make poor decisions that necessitate denying them most of their civil rights and keeping them under the control of their parents and other adults for their own good. This idea has been fashionable since the turn of the 19th/20th century when the early stages of the Industrial Revolution eliminated what was left of the rights that young people used to enjoy, and the mid-19th century Victorian concept of the "innocent child" was extended to include anyone under the age of 18.
As a result of this, the concept of a distinct phase of life that came to be called "adolescence" entered the official public consciousness in a major way, and this concept was mostly pioneered by the beginning of the 20th century courtesy of the social conservative psychologist and author G. Stanley Hall. Hall used aspects of what we today call Social Darwinism and misuse of evolutionary biology to claim that the life stage of adolescence was a natural biological reality rather than a social construct. He diligently opposed what he referred to as "precocity" in young people, which can easily be translated as, "Do not let young people do anything more than what society believes they should be doing at that current age, and society should insure that young people at this newly conceptualized stage of life univerally adhere to the socio-cultural paradigm we have established for their age group."
As Hall biographer Nancy Lesko said in this article, "The shapers of the modern, scientific adolescent made growing bodies and sexuality primary foci and the measures to prevent precocity enhanced youth's economic dependence" [emphasis mine]. Sociologists and psychologists who have studied the concept of adolescence later in the 20th century and up to the modern era (it's early February of 2010 as I write these words) have increasingly come to question Hall's biological conception of adolescence as being a distinct and natural phase in human development that marks a period between childhood and full adulthood that requires individuals in this intermediate stage to have the same degree of legal and social controls as it came to be believed that children should have since the Victorian era began. This new social construct resulted in young people under the age of 18 who fit into this new category to be given the same legal and social status that pre-pubescents ended up with during the Victorian period (indeed, Western culture tends to view adolescents under 18 as older children rather than young adults). Hall's increasing number of opponents in the social sciences over the course of time began to view his conclusions as outdated.
Major and notable challenges to Hall's theory on adolescence include French socialogist Phillipe Aries' book Centuries of Childhood (published in the French speaking world in 1960 and first translated into English in 1962). This tome ended up having a major impact on the social sciences during the liberal era of the 1970s when progressives of that decade began to reassess society's attitude towards younger people that was largely established by Hall and his Victorian predecessors. These reconsiderations of the status of youth included questions regarding their subservient role in the present day social institutions (such as within the nuclear family unit and within the modern elementary and secondary school systems). This was a truly progressive idea that was sadly derailed when the onset of the sex abuse hysteria and the conservative takeover of government, beginning with Ronald Reagan's presidential election in 1980, rolled back the emerging youth liberation movement of the '70s (begun notably in Ann Arbor, Michigan). Further, the combination of the sex abuse hysteria and the conservative takeover of government (which complimented each other heavily) cowered most of the liberal elements of society who began considering the validity of youth competence (including their sexual rights) in the '70s into silence and outright capitulation to the demands of the newly empowered social conservatives. This, of course, was motivated by these progressives' fears of being called "pro-pedophile," "anti-family," "insensitive to victims of child abuse," and other highly unpleasant, potentially career-destroying epithets.
And so things remained until the Internet bloomed to the level we recognize it as today in the late 1990s when the youth liberation movement was reborn in a significant way with the establishment of ASFAR (Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions) and, later, the even bigger and more influential youth lib org NYRA (National Youth Rights Association; created by somewhat less radical individuals who had left ASFAR).
All of this led to the pioneering efforts of more scholars in the social sciences such as, perhaps most prominently today, clinical psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein. Dr. Epstein began his work in this area with a highly important and much discussed article published in an issue of Scientific American Mind entitled "The Myth of the Teen Brain" (a digital version of the latter issue of Scientific American Mind containing Dr. Epstein's aformentioned article can be purchased online for $7.95 here).
Epstein continued and expanded his studies into the reality of adolescent competency with an extremely groundbreaking book The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen in 2007, and quickly followed it up with an updated and expanded version in 2010, TEEN 2.0: Saving Our Children and Families from the Torment of Adolescence. A list of the various cultural myths our society has of adolescents that Dr. Epstein tackles in his book can be found here. His Young Person's Bill of Rights, written in celebration of the first annual National Youth Rights Day on April 14th, 2010, can be accessed via a link found on the same page as the preview to Epstein's newest book at this writing.
Though I consider Newt Gingrich, the far right-wing former Speaker of the House of Representatives, to be a mortal political nemesis of mine, I have no choice but to commend him (along with his ideological cohort Rush Limbaugh for the same reason) for coming out in favor of this book and the principles for which it stands, something that I am sad to say is much more than most prominent media pundits of the mainstream Left have done thus far. To quote Gingrich:
"Adolescence is a social experiment that failed. Dr. Epstein's book traces the history of the problem, demonstrates with unrelenting perseverance that much of the turmoil of our teens is a creation of our culture, and offers a specific and detailed proposal for getting our young people back on track. If you are concerned about America's young—and about America's future—this is a must-read."
And as physician and author Deepak Chopra importantly noted about this book: "“We need to reexamine our basic assumptions about young people, and Epstein shows us how.”
Another very important article about youth liberation by Dr. Epstein, this one specifically aimed at how the modern secondary education system that we call high school needs to be dispensed with to a great extent, and which also details the circumstances that led Dr. Epstein to question modern cultural attitudes towards young people and ultimately embracing youth liberation, is his 2007 essay published in an issue of Education Week entitled, "Let's Abolish High School".
A very important thing to note here is that in the latter article Dr. Epstein mentions the fact that he is a father of four children, which should further demolish the self-righteous claim of many of those who do not support youth liberation (both outside of and sometimes within the MAA community) that only people who are not parents could possibly support youth liberation, and that any youth liberationist who becomes a parent will quickly repudiate their support of youth lib, or that that youth liberation is inherently incompatible with and hostile to the institution of parenthood. In fact, Epstein describes in the opening paragraph of this essay that his status as a parent actually led him to embrace youth lib, not automatically reject it, as those who are hostile to or ambivalent about the youth lib platform will often claim.
As all of the above makes clear, there are now serious challenges to the societal assumptions that adolescents are inherently incompetent due to a "faulty" or "underdeveloped" brain, and these challenges are being increasingly supported by a growing number of individuals in the social sciences. These latter social scientists are now being joined by others who are familiar with the history of childhood and how different conceptions of "The Child" in the pre-Victorian era were in comparison to afterwards. And this as opposed to the conception that was adopted since that ideology's paradigm for children became the dominant one in our society, and later expanded to include young adults who are under the arbitrary age of 18.
8) Mutually consensual sexual contact between anyone today considered to be 'minors' and those who are adults is always traumatizing for the younger person and will likely cause lifelong psychological 'damage' to them, no matter how much the minor in question may have enjoyed and desired the experience. This powerfully imbedded and very widely held cultural assumption causes even many of the most outspoken and generally brave progressives and liberals to cower like an animal confronted with fire whenever this subject is brought up, and such individuals are more than quick to throw aside their ideology's devotion to open-mindedness and do nothing more than mindlessly agree with the mainstream view of this truly hot button topic. To show even the sligthest deviation from the mainstream view, or even to ask for empirical evidence of its validity, runs the risk of being called a series of very unpleasant names and likely doom a planned political campaign or future job promotion.
The conservative conquest of our national mindset beginning with the Reagan victory in 1980, along with the onset of the ongoing sex abuse hysteria and the accompanying "pedophile panic," is one of the most potent weapons used to keep those we today call 'underagers' or 'minors' under the direct control of both their parents and the state despite the fact that the largest amount of real abuse directed against young people of all kinds--including sexual abuse and even murder--occurs by individuals living within the home and who possess the most direct and stringent power over these minors.
The tragic kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Adam Walsh in his home town of Hollywood, Florida by a deranged serial killer (who is believed to have been a man named Otis Toole who died while in prison for an unrelated offense later in the 1980s and thus never brought to justice specifically for Adam's brutal murder) caused Adam's very understandably grief-stricken father John Walsh to declare war not on the small number of dangerous serial killers and other situational offenders who target kids per se (which would have been entirely justifiable), but on Minor Attracted Adults specifically. Picking up on the sex abuse hysteria that was in its early stages when his son was killed, John Walsh spread what came to be called the highly disingenuous "stranger danger" phenomenon. He proved to be one of those individuals in this mess whose desire for vengeance over that of reasonable justice, along with his total disregard for truth on this subject, caused the sex abuse hysteria to reach the epidemic level that it remains at today, three decades after the tragic loss of his son. John Walsh largely accomplished this by exploiting his situation and the hysteria accompanying it to establish a major media career for himself that promulgated one of the greatest myths of this hysteria: that "pedophiles" (which Walsh, like most of the rest of the media, use as a blanket term for both genuine pedophiles and hebephiles) are responsible for effectively all of the sexual abuse inflicted upon minors in society. In his eyes, there is no such thing as a situational offender, i.e., what even the FBI admits are adults, and on some occasions adolescents, who commit the bulk of all real non-consensual and coerced acts of sexual violence on kids and who usually do not have a strong or preferential attraction to minors and are therefore not real pedophiles or hebephiles in the vast majority of cases.
Walsh also pushed the idea that the threat of strangers who kidnap and sexually assault and murder kids constitute a menace of epidemic proportions, thus totally ignoring the facts. The facts are that most situational offenders who commit acts of genuine and demonstrable abuse against kids operate within the home and sometimes within other institutions where adults have the most direct and strictest degree of power over kids, such as boarding schools. The situational offenders who are strangers to kids, including the very rare breed of serial killer that targets kids, are extremely rare.
Youth liberationists do not consider John Walsh to be an ally by any means, because his efforts have resulted in draconian laws that have imposed further and further restrictions on the rights of young people, not to mention an increase in the cultural attitude that they are inherently incompetent and always in extreme danger of being kidnapped and assaulted or even murdered by deadly trenchcoat wearing strangers. Therefore, according to the ideology of the "child advocates" that Walsh had a big hand in empowering, young people under the age of 18 are in dire need of this increased parental control "for their own good."
Youth liberationists are also angered by the manner in which Walsh has worked to further empower the institutions where kids suffer the greatest amount of actual abuse of all kinds, such as the hierarchical structure of the nuclear family unit, and deceived the public as towards the real reasons why the vast majority of the 100,000 minors reported as missing every year were not at home. And if any of our opponents (or any of the "moderate" elements from the MAA community, for that matter) doubts that the youth liberation movement could possibly have any beef with John Walsh and the many misleading bits of information spread about the threats to the safety of young people in America by the organization he founded, the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, please take a gander at this article from 2001 by youth liberationist Lisa Freeman that appeared in an issue of Youth Truth, ASFAR's official zine. And please note that Freeman has nothing whatsoever to do with the MAA community and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that she is an MAA herself. This is true of the great majority of the youth lib movement, in case our enemies (including Walsh himself) might attempt to claim that Freeman must be a "pedophile" for denouncing an esteemed organization like the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children.
Walsh was soon joined by another major player in his mindless and vindictive crusade against MAAs who also did more than her fair share of contributing to the growth of the sex abuse hysteria and its accompanying industry. Oprah Winfrey came on the scene in the 1980s a few years after John Walsh began building his influential career in the media and ended up building an even bigger and more lucrative career than Walsh did. Winfrey is often credited with the invention of what came to be known as "trash TV," a method of doing a talk show that made the once respectable genre under the hands of serious seekers of the truth like Phil Donahue into something that ravenously sought superior ratings via the exploitation of serious topics by means of sensationalism rather than objective discussion and consideration which analyzed all sides of any issue. If one has any doubts about this, then simply look at the difference between the early talk shows of the '70s, heralded by Donahue, and what passes for them today, with the likes of Jerry Springer having such huge ratings and popularity.
Oprah's constantly growing influence and self-serving grab at big ratings effectively helped turn all talk shows against serious discussion of adult attraction to minors, and also helped further popularize the "victim mentality" (described above in my discussion of The Courage To Heal). However, Winfrey didn't simply push such a mentality on adult women, but also upon anyone who had any type of intimate relationship with an adult prior to turning 18 regardless of consent. Of course, she also pushed anti-male attitudes in general on her huge audience that consisted mostly of women, the latter attitudes being (according to a theory of mine) a major component behind the justification of the age of consent laws. When Oprah revealed that she was sexually abused by an uncle when she was a child (the real details of which have never been fully investigated at this writing to determine things such as whether or not Oprah's uncle was a true pedophile, nor the authentic nature of the incidents she describes), she used this as a justification to officially declare open season on MAAs. She has done as much as John Walsh has to popularize the idea that young people under 18 can never be anything other than victims in relationships with adults. To this day she continues to spread an increasing number of sometimes truly bizarre and outright outlandish and nightmarish lies about MAAs. A good example of this is her recent outrageous claim that the "pedophile" community had posted an online instruction manual supposedly giving each other advice on how to sexually abuse kids, some as young as infants, in extremely graphic and disturbing ways, including the insertion of knives and other implements in their sexual organs. Predictably, no one in any of the many MAA boards I am familiar with has any idea what she was talking about or has ever even seen, let alone participated in the creation of, such a horrendous instruction manual. A few in the MAA community have conjectured that if this instruction manual actually exists anywhere on the Net (and that's a huge if) it's probably nothing more than a very sick joke composed by Internet trolls.
Considering how Winfrey continues to terrify the public with outrageously horrid claims like the one mentioned above, which no one outside the community ever bothers to substantiate or even question, is it any surprise that her many viewers hate and fear MAAs with such a passion? And then there was the 9000 penis's affair which at least served to embarrass her when it was revealed that it was a hoax from a troll at her website and not a true pedophile, but this incident still didn't humiliate her enough to tarnish her stellar reputation among her viewers, nor to expose her singular lack of concern for seeking the truth when it comes to this subject.
As a result of the sex abuse hysteria being helped along by the likes of Walsh and Winfrey, both of them since its early days, the idea that youths under 18 are terribly and irreparably traumatized by any type of sexual contact with adults, regardless of the matter of consent, was considered an irrefutable fact that has rarely been questioned by any politician or researcher. But there were some dissenting views here and there which did have an impact, and the massive amount of courage it took these lone voices in the wilderness to go against conventional wisdom when it comes to this particular topic was immense and commendable in the extreme.
One of the first reports to come out that did a serious study of the issue of trauma during the sex abuse hysteria was the Rind Report, a government funded study conducted by (taken from the above link) Bruce Rind, Department of Psychology Temple University, Philip Tromovitch, Graduate School of Education Temple University and Robert Bauserman, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan.
The stated goal of the report was to do an objective study on the following common assumptions:
"Child sexual abuse (CSA) causes psychological harm;
this harm is pervasive;
this harm is intense; and
boys and girls experience CSA equivalently."
This meta-analysis ultimately concluded, "Self-reported reactions to and effects from CSA indicated that negative effects were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women. The college data were completely consistent with data from national samples. Basic beliefs about CSA in the general population were not supported" [emphasis mine].
Of course, there is no doubt that the Rind Report is flawed to some degree, because it seemed to be conducted under the premise that all such contact is to be considered "abuse" in an absolutist sense (though, as you will see, it did take the matter of consent into account), and the report's loaded statement that girls are much more likely to receive a negative experience from all forms of sexual contact with adults has been challenged and contradicted elsewhere (I will get to that soon), though virtually no other aspect of Rind's study has been successfully refuted anywhere else by any objective study.
As a result of the above mentioned flaw, a certain number of BLers who have no interest in promoting the rights of GLers and girls along with those of BLers and boys often justify this lack of consideration for the rights of adults and minors who do not fit their own gender preference by quoting the above conclusion of the Rind Report and deciding that girls are much more likely to perceive even mutually consensual contact with men (if not also with women) negatively than boys. This provides the rationale of these "old school" BLers for not working with GLers politically or supporting the emancipation of girls in equal degree to their support for the rights of boys, and thus exclusively arguing for the societal legitimization of man/boy love and the rights of boys while ignoring and occasionally even denouncing the equal legitimization of man/girl love (or even women/girl love) and the right for girls to choose whom they can love in addition to the rights of boys to do the same. Such BLers never seemed to bother asking the important question of who the girl participants in Rind's study happened to be, whether or not their sexual liaisons with adults were consensual or non-consensual, or (perhaps most importantly) whether or not these girls engaged in liaisons with adults that were found out, and if the girls who reported these negative experiences had therefore been subjected to the infamous intervention process by the police and agenda-driven social workers whose "interview" methods (perhaps more correctly referred to as interrogation methods) came to public attention during the previously mentioned McMartin daycare incident that occurred years earlier.
Thanks to my fellow GL activist SuiDream, I was notified that the Rind Report did indeed have a flaw in it that was recognized as such by the three psychologists who conducted the meta-analysis. So I did a thorough search of the Rind Report and found out that there is indeed a flaw in the original correlations made in the meta-analysis that claimed girls are much more likely to have a negative reaction to a sexual liaison with an adult than boys (which I will get to in a moment).
The Rind Report was not entirely flawed as the antis claim, however, because no alternate objective research on this subject that included boys and girls have found any evidence that boys react more negatively to sexual contact with adults than girls do, but this other research (including that conducted by Sharon Thompson, which didn't include boys at all) has found that girls in addition to boys generally do not react negatively to sexual relations with adults when such contact is mutually consensual and does not involve incestual advances by those with the most direct power over these youths.
When one does a thorough reading of the Rind Report, one will notice a certain passage which makes it abundantly clear that a likely reason why the girl participants expressed a much greater liklihood of having a negative reaction to their sexual liaisons with adults is because the samples of college students used included a disproportionately large number of those who were subject to incestual advances. Note the following passage from the Rind Report itself:
A chi-square test of the homogeneity of the sample-level effect sizes revealed that they were not homogeneous, X2(53) = 78, p < .01. In an attempt to achieve homogeneity, we examined the distribution of sample-level effect sizes to determine whether outliers existed. We defined outliers to be effect sizes that were at least 1.96 standard deviations away from the unweighted mean effect size (i.e., falling in the extreme 5% of the distribution). Three outliers were found (r = .36 in Jackson et al., 1990; r = .40 in Roland et al., 1989; r = -.25 in Silliman, 1993) with z scores of 2.71, 3.16, and -3.60, respectively. The Jackson et al. study included only incest cases in the CSA group, and the Roland et al. study included a large proportion of incest cases [emphasis mine]. Moreover, Neumann et al. (1996) also found the Roland et al. result to be an outlier. Measures used in these studies from which effect sizes were computed included: the SAS, BDI, RSE, and DSFI (Jackson et al., 1990); the MMPI form R (Roland et al., 1989); and the LOC and TSCS (Silliman, 1993). These measures were all used in other studies whose effect sizes were not outliers, implying that the outlying results were not a function of these measures. Removing these outliers resulted in homogeneity, *2(50) = 49.19, p > .50, based on k = 51 samples, with N = 15,635 subjects [emphasis mine]. The recalculated unbiased effect size estimate (/-„ = .09) and the 95% confidence interval (.08 to .11) were unchanged after rounding. The obtained small unbiased effect size estimate implies that, in the college population, the magnitude of the relationship between CSA and adjustment is small, which contradicts the assumption that CSA is associated with intense harm in the typical case [emphasis mine].
Initial meta-analyses yielded 8 homogeneous and 10 heterogeneous results. In an attempt to achieve homogeneity with heterogeneous sets, we examined the distribution of effect sizes within each of these sets to detect outliers, as defined previously. We removed all such deviant effect sizes and then recomputed the meta-analyses. If homogeneity was achieved in a particular set, then the search for outliers stopped for that set. Otherwise, the reduced set of effect sizes was examined for new outliers, and, if found, the outliers were removed and the meta-analysis was performed again. If the set of effect sizes was still heterogeneous and no additional outliers were found, the set was considered to be heterogeneous. This procedure resulted in achieving homogeneity in 7 of the 10 initially heterogeneous sets, yielding 15 out of 18 homogeneous sets [emphasis mine]. Effect sizes remained heterogeneous only for hostility, self-esteem, and sexual adjustment. Of the 9 effect sizes removed in the 7 sets that became homogeneous, the majority came from two of the studies that contributed to the heterogeneity of effect sizes in the sample-level metaanalysis— 5 from Roland et al. (1989) and 1 from Jackson et al. (1990). These six effect sizes and one additional effect size from Bendixen et al.'s (1994) female sample were removed from the upper end of their distributions [emphasis mine]. Two effect sizes were removed from the lower end of their distribution (Fishman, 1991; Fromuth & Burkhart, 1989, Southwest sample). Measures on which removed effect sizes were based in Jackson et al.'s and Roland et al.'s studies were listed previously in the samplelevel meta-analysis section; Bendixen et al. and Fishman used investigator-authored items, whereas Fromuth and Burkhart used the SCL-90-R. Many studies with nonoutlying effect sizes used investigator-authored items and the SCL-90-R, implying that the outlying results were not a function of the measures used.
In Table 3, the original numbers (i.e., number of samples, number of participants in these samples, unbiased effect size estimate, and homogeneity statistic) associated with the heterogeneous results for the seven sets that became homogeneous are shown in parentheses, whereas the numbers associated with the reduced homogeneous sets appear directly under the column headings. Removing outliers showed itself to be productive in achieving homogeneity [emphasis mine]; further, this procedure had little effect on effect size estimates, indicating that the large majority of effect size estimates can be considered to be reliable estimates of true effect sizes in the college population. The unbiased effect size estimates for all 18 symptoms were small according to Cohen's (1988) guidelines [emphasis mine]. The effect size estimates ranged from ru = .04 to .13. Despite these small values, all effect size estimates, except for one (locus of control), were statistically significantly greater than zero, as is indicated by their 95% confidence intervals. These findings indicate that, for all symptoms but one, CSA participants as a group were slightly less well adjusted than control participants. The small magnitude of all effect size estimates implies that CSA effects or correlates in the college population are not intense for any of the 18 metaanalyzed symptoms [emphasis mine].
The overabundance of cases involving incest was very likely present in many more of the girl participants in the study than the boy participants, thus likely accounting for the discrepancy. And, as noted in the above excerpt (all taken from pp. 31-32 of the Rind Report), once the above outliers were adjusted and removed from the female samples, there was much less disharmony with the male samples. Hence, the Rind Report actually admitted that the above mentioned flaw was indeed a discrepancy in the meta-analysis, and the final draft of the report recognized and corrected this. It's unfortunate that so many people seem to have failed to read this section of the Rind Report, and have used it as an excuse to imply that girls are less capable of handling their sexual rights than boys are. Or, within the MAA community, that BL is more legitimate from a moral standpoint than GL is. It seems rather clear from the above study that girls appear to be much more often subject to incestuous advances by parents and other close relatives within the home than boys are. This fact would certainly account for the above noted discrepancy in the study results. But that should have little bearing on girls' typical reactions to sexual activity with adults who do not live within the home, do not have a direct degree of authority over them, are not related to them, and for which the relationship was entirely consensual.
There are further good reasons to ask the questions I just asked about the girl participants in Rind et al.'s meta-analysis. This is because other researchers who have interviewed underage girls that engaged in specifically mutually consensual sexual liaisons with men who had no direct authority over them and were not related to them, such as Sharon Thompson in her monumentally large study of teen girls' sexual lives that was recorded in the majorly important book Going All The Way: Teenage Girls' Tales of Sex, Romance, and Pregnancy, have reported things quite differently than the initial results of the Rind Report before the above mentioned discrepancy was accounted for. In this study she tackled the subject of these young girls' romantic relationships with adult men in Chapter 7 of that book, and she made the issue of consent quite clear in the questions she gave to her girl interviewees. She didn't make the mistake of lumping all sexual encounters together under one heading, without taking the important matter of consent into account.
As Peggy Ornstein said in her online review of Thompson's book, "Sharon Thompson's Going All the Way takes a brave approach to one of the most emotionally and politically charged issues of our times: sex and teen-age girls. Let me make this clear: this is not a book lamenting teen-age pregnancy rates. It is not a rant against promiscuity. Ms. Thompson is simply, without censure, reporting on how young women see their sexual selves." Hence, the objectivity--not to mention courage--of Thompson's study of this subject is made quite clear in Ornstein's review (and for anyone who reads the book), and to her credit Thompson was concerned more with establishing the truth than she was with promoting a certain popular moral agenda that ends up effectively stereotyping teen girls by showing them little if any respect.
Regarding what was said by the many interviewed girls regarding their mutually consensual liaisons with adult men, Ornstein reports, "And while the girls with adult male lovers generally reported enjoying sex [emphasis mine], they too operated on a barter system, often swapping erotic favors for surrogate fathering." It's quite possible that most of the girls that Thompson interviewed with this particular set of questions were not pheophiles, and thus weren't naturally oriented towards adult men sexually and emotionally. However, the "surrogate fathering" thing, another stereotype directed at teen girls every time they get involved romantically with adult men, may be translated as girls who seek out relationships with men for reasons that are not entirely honest to the men in question. Nevertheless, the fact that these girls found surrogate "fathering" from their adult male lovers, and made it clear that they were not psychologically damaged or felt degraded by the sexual aspect of the relationship, it can be surmised as an educated guess that these girls' genuinely wanted the sex and may have had a strong sexual attraction to the men they had these relationships with even if they described themselves as "exchanging" sex for "fathering" in their interviews with Thompson.
There are plenty of reasons why such stereotypes should be questioned. For one thing, it's well known to anyone who is either a parent or has worked with kids, or to anyone who has ever been a kid, that very few young people, both pre-pubescents or adolescents, ever do anything that they truly do not want to do or are not compelled to do out of absolute necessity. The idea that sexual activity is the one thing in the world that underagers will engage in if they don't want to with adults, let alone those particular adults who do not live with them or have any particular degree of strict power over them, is quite baffling and entirely devoid of common sense, to say the least. Further, it's well known that there are many adult men that do not have a romantic preference for adolescent girls but who still have a measure of respect for these girls that would gladly play the role of surrogate father for them without expecting erotic "favors" in return. Why don't girls who are only seeking a platonic father surrogate--and nothing more--simply find men who are not hebephiles (and thus do not have a preference for teens) and make it clear to them from the get-go that they are looking for a platonic friend or "father figure" and nothing more? Furthermore, since the hebephile attraction base encompasses far more than a simple sexual attraction to teen girls, and includes (at least in most cases) a strong social component to it, why couldn't these girls approach a caring hebephile and make it clear from the get-go that they were simply looking for platonic friendship and support?
One is forced to suspect that many of these girls who were interviewed by Thompson found adult men whom they had a degree of physical attraction to, came onto them sexually, and convinced these men that they were in an actual romantic relationship with these girls when in actuality the girls hoped to keep these men around for their friendship and the feeling that they were a surrogate father figure of some sort who would perhaps take care of them in certain ways that they wouldn't have if the girls didn't feign a romantic interest in them. If so, this would constitute disingenuous and even manipulative behavior on the part of the girls, who may have felt that convincing these men they had a sexual/romantic interest in them would serve to wrap them around their fingers more, and to be more likely to keep them around in their lives. This, of course, contrasts heavily with the contention by many that these girls could never be anything other than a victim of these men, and that the adults in such cases are always without exception the ones in the wrong because unlike anyone who is under 18, adults are always believed to "know better." In other words, our society believes that it's impossible for an underage girl to manipulate an older man, and that only the reverse is possible because of the common ageist belief that older people always have superior wisdom and worldly experience than younger people do. Of course, if this was true, one wonders how the large number of young con artists working for fraudulent telemarking companies have managed to so effectively bilk senior citizens out of their life savings.
Any man who has been actively dating for any length of time have met the type of young woman described above, and hebephiles are well aware that there are adolescent girls who do exactly the same thing as these women who are legally adults do and are just as competent and capable of pulling it off, which should be expected since adolescents are essentially young adults.
True pheophiles, however, are not usually looking for a surrogate father figure when they enter into such relationships with adults, but have a genuine physical, emotional, and social orientation towards adult men (or women). Hence, their feelings for much older men (or much older women), and their reasons for seeking them out as lovers, are for reasons that are no different than why teleiophile women seek out adult men for romantic relationships.
The main point is, however, that these many girls who had mutually consensual sex with much older adult men found the physical intimacy they shared with them generally enjoyable and did not later report psychological damage or overwhelming feelings of being used and abused as a result. Further, the many female pheophiles who have visited the MAA community in the past have made it quite clear that they did not suffer any psychological damage or negative reaction to sexual relationships with adult men if the relationships were mutually consensual.
It should be noted that the remaining number of BLers who ignore the rights of girls and GLers, and who may not consider them as morally legitimate as the rights of boys and BLers to choose to have relationships with each other, have thankfully greatly diminished over the past decade now that there are several message boards, including Newgon, where BLers and GLers routinely interact with each other, learn about each other, support each other, and perhaps most importantly, where the BLers who participate in these joint boards have met as many female pheophiles as they have their male counterparts and are thus quite aware that girls are not more likely than boys to receive a negative reaction from a mutually consensual relationship with a man (or a woman, for that matter). The ever diminishing number of BLers who still feel that man/boy love is morally superior to man/girl love, and who show signs that they may believe that girls are less capable of handling their rights as boys, prominently appears to include the author whose otherwise excellent work is archived on the SafeHaven Foundation Press website that he established to keep his work available to the public. This particular BLer author should know better given the several decades he has been doing research on this subject, yet he evidently still uses one of the few faults of the Rind Report to justify his total lack of interest in fighting to legitimize Girl Love as well as Boy Love. If he had bothered to interact with GLers as so many other BLers do nowadays rather than posting on boards exclusively inhabited by BLers, and if he met and talked to as many female pheophiles as he has done with their male counterparts, he would indeed know this and not blindly follow the conclusion made by the Rind Report regarding the experiences of girls who had experiences with men being much more likely to be negative than that of boys who did the same when there is good reason to question that statement due to all of what I mentioned above.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Rind Report was "condemned and denounced" by Congress despite the fact that its findings and methodology was further peer reviewed by representatives of the APA, and psychologist Ray Fowler, representing that org and its review of the Rind Report, concluded: "Because the article has attracted so much attention, we have carefully reviewed the process by which it was approved for publication and the soundness of the methodology and analysis. This study passed the journal's rigorous peer review process and has, since the controversy, been reviewed again by an expert in statistical analysis who affirmed that it meets current standards and that the methodology, which is widely used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop guidelines, is sound." But Congress' denunciation of the Rind Report's conclusions by a unanimous vote of 355-0 [!], which made it clear that no politician of either major political party will dare to be open-minded about this subject right now, and that the government officials' unwillingness to put science and truth before deeply held cultural beliefs no matter how much evidence is presented to counter such beliefs, should encourage more people to question the "wisdom" of the government far more often than they do. Sadly, due to all the outside attacks on his studies in this area, Dr. Rind was scared away from pursuing this particular research any further and has since put his time and efforts into other, less controversial areas of study.
However, as noted in this very important article by Dr. Frans Gieles that offers a detailed counter-argument to the detractors of the Rind Report, Dr. Rind and his fellow authors of the report made this statement when the issue of consent was brought up by the many detractors of their study, specifically in regards to the ability of adolescents to consent, which was readily and officially recognized by the APA in a 1989 statement to the Supreme Court, and also made a strong implication that the studies suggested that pre-pubescents may be able to give what was defined as 'simple consent' (if not the more commonly used 'informed consent'), which was still found to result in positive or at least neutral outcomes by children who have utilized it in non-coerced and non-incestuous relationships with adults:
It should also be made clear that when Congress, the Leadership Council, the Family Research Council, or even the APA is talking about 'children' in the context of sexual relations with adults, they are not using biological definitions of childhood, but instead are referring to minors under the age of consent, which is generally from 16 to 18 in the U.S. Thus, they are talking not only about prepubescent children, but also adolescents. It is thus informative to review what the APA has had to say in the past about adolescents' ability to provide informed consent in a different context. In an October, 1989 amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, the APA argued, based on a review of the developmental literature, that pregnant girls do not need parental consent to obtain abortions, because they are capable, in an informed consent sense, to decide for themselves. They wrote:
"Psychological theory and research about cognitive, social and moral development strongly supports the conclusion that most adolescents are competent to make informed decisions about important life situations [emphasis mine]. . . . In fact, by middle adolescence (age 14-15) young people develop abilities similar to adults in reasoning about moral dilemmas, understanding social rules and laws, and reasoning about interpersonal relationships and interpersonal problems. . . . By middle adolescence most young people develop an adult-like identity and understanding of self. . . . Thus, by age 14 most adolescents have developed adult-like intellectual and social capacities including specific abilities outlined in the law as necessary for understanding treatment alternatives, considering risks and benefits, and giving legally competent consent. . . .
[Additionally,] there are some 11-to-13-year-olds who possess adult-like capabilities in these areas.
"In view of these conclusions, which are based on the developmental literature, it seems inconsistent to reject even simple consent [emphasis mine] as a moderating variable in a rigorously peer-reviewed article, given that many of the CSA [child sexual abuse] episodes analyzed involved adolescents. In short, the scientific data demonstrate the utility of consent, in the sense of simple consent or willingness, as a moderating variable. Thus, simple consent is a valid scientific construct for predicting and understanding the outcomes associated with CSA experiences [emphasis mine]."
It should be noted that the above quoted amicus brief given to the Supreme Court by the APA in 1989 likewise backs up the research and assertions made by Robert Epstein that was mentioned in a previous section of this essay.
The Family Research Council said in response to the Rind Report: "Whatever the children's perceptions were, we know, […] that the children were not capable of legally, ethically, morally, mentally, or emotionally consenting to sex with anybody, much less an adult. Thus, what we are left with is a study that should never have seen the light of day, much less publication in a professional journal."
It's a typical ageist move for adults with a moral agenda to protect the integrity of the current institutions of society while masquarding as "protecting" the children to disregard just about anything that kids say unless it somehow fits their agenda to do so, such as when so many people insisted that believing everything the kids said in the McMartin pre-school incident despite the complete lack of evidence of what the kids were claiming, its utter outlandishness, and without considering what effect the bullying 'interview' methods of the social workers involved in the case may have had on the kids.
In regards to the issue of consent being impossible for minors, Dr. Gieles remarks:
Several authors before Rind et al. have accepted that their participants told them that their experiences were wanted in a certain percentage of the cases. A scientist has to accept this as a matter of fact [emphasis mine]. The fact is: "the participants told me…"
As the authors [i.e., Rind and his collaborators in his report] said it: "In the research we reviewed on the effects of CSA, ‘consent’ has meant the victim's own perception of his or her level of participation - from being forced to willingness - because this is known to affect a victim's reaction to the experience [emphasis mine]. Given that our study is a review of dozens of other studies, many of which explicitely examined how victim's own perceptions of their level of participation affect outcomes, it was appropriate for us to examine this factor as well." Thus, ‘consent’ was not a premise, nor a central concept, but one of the factors that could vary the participant’s perception of the CSA event [emphasis mine].
If one rejects the possibility of willingness, one should reject every study that finds a difference between willing and unwilling experiences. But if consent to sex - informed or not - is impossible for children to give to adults, one has to then wonder why it makes such a dramatic difference in outcomes. Though a self-perceived level of consent may be of no interest to FRC [the Family Research Council], the meta-analysis demonstrates that the self-perceived level of consent makes a huge difference to actual children [emphasis mine].
The FRC statement cited above, "Whatever the children's perceptions were, we know that the children were not capable…" is quite clear. What children say and feel is not important because FRC knows better.
I couldn't have said it better myself. And it now becomes clear why the FRC and other orgs like it sought to suppress the findings of the Rind Report so strongly...those findings went against the political and moral agenda of such orgs, and violated not children's safety but rather society's cultural norms.
Dr. Gieles concludes: "If the children say they were harmed, they must be believed. NAMBLA has to accept the facts. But if they say they were not, they must still be believed. FRC has to also accept the facts. Otherwise, the children are just being used."
I agree that children should be listened to if they say they were harmed by sexual contact with an adult. However, I think it's an entirely valid concern to sometimes question the verisimilitude of such statements if the youth in question had mutually consensual sexual activity with an adult and was subsequently found out and the youth in question was forced into what passes for "therapy" within the clinics of the sex abuse industry. Why didn't the members of the Rind commission take this into consideration? Come to think of it, why didn't Dr. Gieles do the same thing in his article? It's a very well known and extremely obvious fact to anyone who has ever spoken to someone who has been through this "therapy" that a huge dose of behavioral, conceptual, and moral modification is done to the young person if they say they weren't harmed by the contact with their adult lover and if they assert that the experiences were positive.
I have personally known a brave teen female gerontophile activist (she used to post on some of the MAA boards as Fayla) who spoke out in defense of mutually consensual relationships between adults and youths under 18, both on the boards and in a series of audio recordings she uploaded to Youtube. When her real identity was found out by the notorious anti-MAA hate group called Perverted Justice, and her parents, her school, and the police in her home city were notified of what she was doing by this organization, she was forced against her will into this "therapy." She described to me the entire ordeal of any underage person who dares openly disagree with the moralizing imperatives thrown at them by the police and the corrupt therapists who oversee such programs. They relentlessly insisted that she was emotionally ill as a result of her preference for adult men, that she was "abused" by her adult boyfriend and that he couldn't possibly have loved her but was only using her for his own selfish purposes, that it's not possible or "normal" for an adult to love a person under 18 (any MAA will tell you that this common belief is a total load of bull), and that she should feel resentful against him and do everything in her power to see to it that he is put in jail. She had previously had other adult boyfriends whom her therapists likewise told her couldn't possibly have had any genuine feelings for her and couldn't have done anything other than having used and manipulated her for entirely selfish reasons, that she should hate every single one of them for what they did "to" her, and that she should do her utmost to cooperate with her "rescuers" by giving them the identities of these men so that they can be arrested. If you resist this attempt at brainwashing (which is what it clearly is), she said, her therapists only grow more and more relentless with it and they will not let any youth out of this "therapy" unless they begin telling these individuals what they want to hear, which can easily be argued is a form of thought control that is very similar to what adult sex offenders--whether they are real MAAs or not--go through in the prison "sexual recovery" programs. It's far from uncommon for youths who are not activists, and thus not as strong-willed as those who are, to be successfully brainwashed after their initial attempts to resist and deny what these cops and "therapists" are trying to convince them of.
As an example, I remember that during my days posting on the now defunct Open Hands forum, we would periodically receive visits from adult women who had been intimate with an adult man when they were underage that would make comments which were often a close variation of this:
"When I was 13, I had a sexual relationship with a man many years older than me. I enjoyed the experience, he was always there for me, we spent a lot of time together, he treated me kindly at all times, and he told me that he loved me. But if he really loved me, how could he have hurt me in that way?"
I think any moderately rational person would be entirely justified, after reading such a post, to respond with a loud, "Huh?!" This would automatically make at least the pro-choicers among the MAA posters on that board who read such a post to logically suspect that this woman and her older lover had their relationship "found out" and that she was consequently pushed through enforced "therapy" by the system. Thus, she was ultimately convinced that despite how much she admits she enjoyed the experiences she had with this man, she was nevertheless "hurt" by him. And sure enough, it usually turned out that women who made such posts had indeed been through "therapy" and thus coerced by those conducting her "treatment" via intense and utterly relentless repetition of psycho-propaganda into believing that her older lover had harmed her even though she continued to clearly recollect the pleasure and comfort she received from this relationship, and even recalled that the man always acted like he loved and cared about her.
Of course, our opponents would love to jump at claims by women posters on the MAA frequented boards like the one I just described above and shout, "See! See! This proves that kids are hurt by such experiences even if they enjoy them!" The problem is, the latter common statement greatly conflicts with the experiences reported by the multitude of adult pheophiles of both genders that we in the MAA community have met in the past when they came to our boards looking for support and camaraderie, many of whom said they had had mutually consensual sexual experiences with adults when they were underage and who were never "found out" and thus never put through any of those "therapy" programs. These women (and men on the BL boards) always without fail told a markedly different story than those who had either had their relationships discovered and they were forced into "therapy" as a result, or, on a few occasions, those who were given an extremely hard time by peers and family members who found out about the relationship some time after it had ended and told her over and over again, very harshly and very maliciously, that her relationship with that man was absolutely shameful, that she is a disgrace for enjoying it, that there was no possible way he could have actually loved her or truly cared for her well being, that he couldn't have been motivated by anything other than a purely selfish desire to use her for his personal sexual gratification, that she suffered a stain on her soul for enjoying such experiences, that she was obviously mentally unbalanced for her positive perception of the relationship, and that she clearly only thought she enjoyed it but actually could not have (as if they were mind-readers). Some have even claimed that people who reported having mutually consensual relationships with adults when they were minors that had positive effects on their self-esteem must be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome! Those girls who told the wrong people about the relationship long after it happened ended up having those moralism-driven individuals impose a huge amount of guilt on them for feeling good about the relationship. This resulted in a heavy blow to their self-esteem along with great encouragement to blame the relationship they had with their adult lover for this shame and severe blow to her self-image and confidence and not the highly emotionalistic and totally irrational reaction that so many people she told about it had.
I think that the above point is extremely important to mention, and any researcher who conducts such a study needs to take this into consideration and ask their interviewees if they had been through the system or not, or if they had ever revealed their relationship to others and, if so, how these others reacted to it and what they said to her or him, because there can be no doubt that these factors are potentially going to tremendously influence their perception of the experience.
In response to some detractors of Rind's study claiming that his findings were "bad news" because now it would encourage MAAs to "molest" kids, Dr. Gieles said:
"The conclusion that there is less harm than has always been supposed and that children are more resilient than was thought, is a message of hope. The Rind study is nothing more than another confirmation that children are resilient [emphasis mine]. There are many studies showing that a percentage of children are able to endure horrific experiences in childhood and yet go on to lead normal healthy lives without apparent damage. People accept such a conclusion when the experiences concern things like deaths of parent or siblings, car accidents, fires, war, or natural disasters. They seem unwilling to accept the same result showing up in this particular circumstance."
The above points represent yet more substantive evidence that the agenda of the antis and other groups who are hateful towards intergenerational relationships are entirely based on moralism and an emotionalistic fear of a natural thing which more and more evidence is making clear that it's not likely to cause any demonstrable harm to young people who participate in it of their own free will. And this finding also blows a hole in the commonly held belief that children and adolescents are extremely fragile emotionally, when in actuality all the evidence suggests that kids are quite resilient emotionally and thus can handle the "complications" of a sexual life with whomever they may please, be they peer or adult, just fine.
Dr. Gieles next says: "If there is harm – and there is harm in some cases – than it’s better to know which cases are the most harmful. Those are the cases in which the child suffers from a bad family environment, which has far more influence than the sexual experiences [emphasis mine; this is the closest anyone connected to the Rind Report came to actually questioning the totalitarian nature of the various social institutions that children and teens find themselves trapped within today, where it's well known that the lion's share of real abuse of all kinds, including sexual abuse, is inflicted upon minors]. Well, this is ‘bad news’ for organizations that want to keep and protect ‘Family Values.'"
Could it be that most of the cases where there was harm are cases that included genuine force or coercion? And could it be that if kids have been proven capable of healing quite well from actual abuse contrary to the popular belief that there is absolutely nothing more horrible and traumatizing to a youth than sexual abuse, can it not also be concluded--or at least logically conjectured--that kids could handle mutually consensual relationships with adults much better still, and that even negative experiences in such a mutually consensual relationship (e.g., getting involved with a particular older lover they weren't compatible with) will still result in the young person coming out of it with their sanity and overall emotional health fully intact, as opposed to the popular belief that they will be "scarred for life" as a result of this relationship? It's simply logical and reasonable to conclude that if young people can indeed recover fully from genuinely abusive relationships (which should certainly result in the abuser being punished by the law; the MAA community does not condone genuine abuse; we simply insist on the word "abuse" being limited to instances in which the younger person clearly did not want the contact they experienced), then they can deal with mutually consensual relationships with adults just fine. If this is indeed the case, then the only possible reason so many elements in society can be against mutually consensual intergenerational romantic/sexual relationships (as well as all civil rights for young people) is because they find such liaisons aesthetically repulsive.
Another important statement made by Rind in defense of his report that further demolishes the sacred belief in question of the various entities that spread and benefit from the sex abuse hysteria was:
"In fact, if adverse childhood events are found to be less psychologically harmful than previously thought, or in some cases not measurably harmful at all, researchers have an ethical duty to report this. In the case of CSA, this finding has some positive implications: victims do not have to believe that they are 'damaged goods' and will inevitably suffer personality disorders and other psychopathology [emphasis mine], and clinicians may have solid grounds for providing reassurance and hope to those who have had such experiences. Ignoring such data may bring harm to those who have had such experiences by perpetuating feelings of being ‘damaged.’"
Well said, Dr. Rind. The constant insistence by unscrupulous therapists and social workers, not to mention vengeful media moguls like Oprah Winfrey and the authors of The Courage To Heal, who have embraced the "victim mentality" that enables these individuals to profit from the sex abuse hysteria in many ways, and to convince the public to further support the legal enforcement of the sexual suppression of young people (as well as all other forms of oppression imposed upon them), helps to further enable these mental health professionals who foster this mentality to further control their patients and to secure them as paying customers for life by assuring them that they are "damaged goods" forever. Of course, they will tell their hapless patients that they have the "pedophiles" to blame for their pain, even if the person who abused them was actually a situational offender, most likely a parent or other relative in the house who didn't possess the emotional and sexual preference for younger people that characterizes true pedophiles and hebephiles. And of course, if there is no evidence whatsoever that these women were actually sexually abused by anyone at all, they will be told that they repressed the memory due to the trauma of the event (thankfully, "repressed" memories that were supposedly uncovered by hypnotic regression with no evidence to back them up are no longer admissible in court).
Of course, Rind didn't question or in any way take into consideration the institutions of society where kids currently suffer from the greatest degree of real and demonstrable abuse of all kinds, including sexual assault and murder, which is within the home, and that was a very glaring omission that future researchers on this subject who truly purport to care about the welfare of kids over and above preserving the integrity of any single institution within our society, especially when the present version of said institutions may contribute heavily to the genuine abuse of youths. Such researchers need to address this matter if their research is to have a full degree of objectivity. Any seeker of particular truths which may be uncomfortable to the majority of people in society to come to terms with and accept need to expect to be called names and to acquire many enemies as a result, and should expect to suffer attempts by whatever org they work for to have them fired or even to receive anonymous death threats from various individuals. Rind and his crew should have anticipated this reaction and not been so taken aback when the hate-mongers came pouring in. A seeker of the truth who lacks courage and a very thick skin is not going to have a career in seeking these truths for very long. This is why the great majority of people who may have an inkling of the truth, or a genuine desire for learning it, do not pursue it or voice their opinions publicly, or they quickly cower into silence and complicity with the mainstream attitude after doing so once they have been attacked and insulted by protectors of the prevailing conventional wisdom. This creates the public illusion that "everyone" other than members of the MAA community themselves are supportive of the demonized status that pedophiles and hebephiles have to live with in society today.
A similar situation faces anyone who supports the principle of youth liberation, and such people are often similarly criticized for supporting youth rights by detractors who claim, "If kids are awarded their civil rights, 'pedophiles' will have sex with them!" This is why the largest youth lib org in America, NYRA, currently has no official position on the sexual rights of youth even though they fully acknowledge the importance and validity of such rights on their message boards when the discussion is broached there.
Backing off from supporting youth rights is not justified for this reason, because as icky and revolting as so many people currently feel intergenerational sexual activity to be, and as much as people generally dislike MAAs for the nature of our romantic desires, the fact remains that it's becoming increasingly clear that the vast majority of us are not dangerous or deranged in any way, and all the common myths about underage people being unable to give meaningful consent to sexual contact with adults or being traumatized for the rest of their lives as a result of such contact are false. It's also becoming quite clear that MAAs are fully capable of truly loving and caring about kids in our respective age of attraction (AoA), despite the common belief that we are only capable of self-serving sexual gratification when involved romantically with minors. If all the above evidence is taken into rational consideration, then one is ultimately forced to admit that the incessant dislike for MAAs even in the face of such evidence is based more or less entirely upon moralistic and aesthetic reasons, and not anything to do with protecting minors from demonstrable harm that can be verified or even suggested by empirically observable scientific study. Denying kids support for their civil rights when it becomes evident they are capable of handling them competently (as the APA explicitely noted in its 1989 amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in regards to adolescents, and as Rind's study has suggested in regards to pre-pubescents being capable of what those in the mental health profession call 'simple consent') solely because one does not like pedophiles and hebephiles and are personally offended by the thought of kids enjoying mutually consensual sexual relationships with adults is extremely unjust and an affront to the youth community.
I think Dr. Rind and his crew should be reminded of this because despite their strong attempts at scientific objectivity, they still fall victim to catering to the type of moralism-driven attitudes that was the motivation behind the detractors of the Rind Report (as will be seen a bit below).
Dr. Grieses then seems to leave his objectivity behind a bit when he says: "...in my personal opinion, the 'good news!' cry of NAMBLA may not be interpreted as a green light for sexual acts with children; there is less harm than we had thought, but still there is harm in some cases."
So kids shouldn't be allowed to take the emotional risks, despite the mounting evidence that it's highly unlikely that mutually consensual sexual contact between two people of different generations will harm them in any way? It's impossible to completely remove all degree of risk from the life of a child or teen. If the possibility of harm is not likely, then it makes no logical or ethical sense to deny them the right to make such decisions, especially when it's a well known fact that riding in cars and taking a swim in a pool is far more risky for kids than engaging in mutually consensual sexual activity with either peers or adults, yet we continue to allow them to do the former things because the general public does not consider riding in a car or swimming in a pool to be 'icky' or offensive to their personal sensibilities.
One of Rind's detractors was politician Joseph R. Pitts, who said: "The authors write that pedophilia is fine… as long [as] it is enjoyed." Um, if an intergenerational relationship was enjoyed by the younger person, how could it not be fine? Or is Mr. Pitts making nothing other than a moralizing argument here, which is exactly what I suspect? Unfortunately, loaded and moralism-based comments like the one spewed by Mr. Pitts up above serves to scare seekers of the truth into falling short of actually challenging the laws and social institutions that suppress the rights of youths even when those latter two things are found to be far more harmful on many occasions than any mutually consensual relationship with an adult could ever be.
Dr. Rind made it clear that he was only willing to be objective and courageous to a certain extent when he made the following statement to his detractors in response to their claim that the findings of his report "condoned" the abuse of kids:
"[…] critics have implied that [our] conclusions condone sexual abuse. In fact, in our article, we clearly state that our review of the research literature does not condone CSA, and changes nothing with regard to moral or legal views of abuse. We wrote that 'lack of harmfulness does not imply lack of wrongfulness,' that moral and legal codes of society need not be (and often are not) based on findings of psychological harmfulness, and that 'the findings of the current review do not imply that moral or legal definitions of or views on behavior, currently classified as CSA, should be abandoned or even altered.'"
Once again I feel forced to utter an audible "Huh?!" at the above statement, as I would like to think any person who was truly committed to rationality, logical reasoning, and objectivity would also do after reading it. So let's be clear on what Dr. Rind is trying to say in order to pacify his detractors and probably society in general. First of all, I think we can all agree that Rind and everyone else (including--and especially--the MAA community) should never condone genuine abuse and should always support the moral and legal prosecution of those who would force or otherwise coerce anyone of any age to commit some act against their will. However, Dr. Rind saying that his study should have no impact on how society, from both a moral and legal standpoint, defines the word "abuse" is completely absurd and forces one to ask themselves why the study was even conducted in the first place if it was never intended to have any effect on the law or society's perception of what constitutes abuse when kids have sexual interactions with adults, and what our social attitudes and legal policies should be in regards to it. Worst of all, Rind and his partners in the study actually used the tired old moralism-based statement, "lack of harmfulness does not imply lack of wrongfulness." How can anyone who purports to put science and reason above moralism and emotionalism possibly support such a dubious old saying? How can one suggest that the legal system of a supposedly democratic society could use such unbridled moralism to justify any type of law? Could any law based on such an ideology be anything other than draconian and have anything less than very serious negative implications for everyone living in the society that adopts them? Does the fact that a certain act or relationship may greatly offend the personal sensibilities of "polite society" justify keeping it illegal and doing nothing to question its moral basis if reliable, peer-reviewed scientific studies make it clear that such an act, as long as it's mutually consensual, is not likely to cause any real demonstrable harm to anyone participating in it? And Dr. Rind opines that society's current moral views and legal definitions of any type of behavior should "not be abandoned or even altered" even if objective scientific studies suggest very strongly that these attitudes and definitions should indeed be questioned and re-evaluated? Or, in other words, as long as such forms of behavior happen to offend society's aesthetic sensibilities and go against its "traditional values" (just as homosexuality used to do, and still does to social conservatives and Christian fundamentalists), then we shouldn't change our moral views and legal policies against such behavior even if reputable scientific evidence suggests that such mutually consensual acts are highly unlikely to cause any demonstrable harm to anyone? Are we living in the Dark Ages here, or at least in a theocracy?
And perhaps most important of all, no matter what someone may feel about MAAs and our "icky" romantic/sexual desires, if Rind can go so far as to quote an APA study that made it very clear that the mental health industry has great evidence to suggest that at least adolescents, including younger adolescents, are fully capable of giving informed consent to many things and clearly have intellectual and reasoning faculties on par with those who are legal adults, and if Rind's own findings suggest that pre-pubescents are at least capable of what he calls 'simple consent,' and that this basic form of consent also means that children who participate in activities that they consider enjoyable, pleasurable, and mutually desired are highly unlikely to suffer any psychological damage out of the blue, what exactly justifies Dr. Rind or most anyone else in the mental health profession who has done any degree of serious study into this topic to continue supporting the current moral attitudes and legal definitions towards the concept of youth rights in general and intergenerational sexual relationships in particular?
Dr. Rind is supposed to be a man of science, as are others in the mental health profession, and their job is to seek empirically demonstrable truths on a rational basis, and this objectivity and devotion to scientific truth is enormously compromised when they attempt to pander to the customs and attitudes of the current status quo when the latter two things conflict with scientific validity and are based entirely on moralism-derived precepts. This is no different than supporting laws based upon Biblical scripture, such as laws designed to save the souls of people rather than protecting them from actual harm that is demonstrably observable (such as murder, robbery, arson, assault and battery, genuine rape, etc.). And there is also the very serious issue of civil rights here, not simply those of MAAs, but also those of youths under 18, and the extremely important question of whether or not it's in any way justifiable to deny any group of people their civil rights simply because having those rights might result in those people engaging in some activities that, while causing no one any demonstrable harm, would offend the general public, or (in the case of the youth community), would conflict with "traditional values" that support the subservient, third class citizen status of people under 18 out of a desire to preserve the "traditional family" (i.e., the nuclear family unit) and its hierarchal structure. And this despite the fact that it's well known to the various law enforcement agencies that the current nature of the institution known as the nuclear family unit is where the great majority of demonstrably real abuse towards minors actually occurs.
Ignoring the latter situation, and trying to divert blame away from the institutions in question simply because they are in harmony with what we call our "traditional values" by passing laws that harrass and oppress both MAAs (who all real evidence suggests are no more harmful to society as a group than are homosexuals) and youths under 18 (via denying them the vote, forcing them into a totalitarian educational system rather than seeking alternate methods of learning that are more in harmony with our society's supposed democratic tenets, passing restrictive curfew laws on them, denying them freedom of speech and association, invading their privacy with impunity, punishing them for any instance of expressing themselves sexually, etc.), is not justifiable from an ethical or democratic standpoint by any stretch of the imagination. Both the lawmakers and the mental health industry should know better than to do things like this, and I would have thought better of Dr. Rind and his collaborators after their initial bout of courage.
Dr. Gieles then goes on to say this in defense of the Rind Report: "If politicians with their power (supposedly without reading or understanding the study), decide to condemn and denounce the facts, found in careful scientific research, it’s the end of science, but also the end of a correct discussion about morality."
Again, I couldn't agree more. Yet, it's allegedly okay, according to Dr. Rind and even Dr. Gieles, after stating a commitment to science over moralism and truth over assumptions, that it's more than okay to continue denying young people their full civil rights and continuing to denounce mutually consensual intergenerational sexual activity as being intrinsically "wrong," almost as if some absolute law of the universe decrees it to be so. This line of thinking has no more logical validity than someone who claims that gold has intrinsic value over and above the fact that our society says it does.
And of course, according to Dr. Rind, there is no reason for society to change either its moral attitude towards adult attraction to minors (and vice versa, of course) or to change its cultural conception of those we today label 'minors', despite all the evidence accumulated and mentioned above, both in Rind's own meta-analysis and the 1989 APA briefing to the Supreme Court. So much for Dr. Rind's loyalty to science and reason over that of moralism and cultural bias.
Finally, Dr. Gieles wraps up his article with this sage observation:
"Everybody has to accept the conclusions from careful scientific research, until further research gives other conclusions. The FRC wrote: 'If psychology finds no harm in something considered morally wrong, we believe they are not looking carefully enough' [emphasis in original]. This is the essence of what passes for respectful criticism of Rind et al. At least, it is not a personal attack. It is, however[,] an attack on the very idea of science [emphasis mine]. Think what this means: Social scientists would be sent back to the drawing board, until their facts agree with popular prejudices."
Very well said, Dr. Gieles. However, I must ask why you (yes, you, Dr. Gieles) didn't take Dr. Rind et al. to task for doing the very same thing as his detractors did when he said that scientific findings shouldn't have any effect on social policy, the law, or moral attitudes of society as long as the herd's beliefs about something are strong and emotionally charged enough, and this regardless of whether or not the beliefs that support it are proven wrong by sound scientific research. And even more, if such scientific findings may risk casting aspersions on some of society's most sacrosanct socio-cultural institutions, however justified it may be in doing so, that is also apparently a good enough reason to avoid questioning the moral attitudes and legal policies connected to any given type of behavior.
Moving away from the Rind Report and all that it entails, we now move onto the final point of this section of the essay, and a tome published in 2009 that may have cast the final nail in the coffin of one of the antis'--and general society's--most potent beliefs in favor of the denouncement of mutually consensual sexual activities between adults and underagers, albeit very inadvertantly on the part of the author in question. That book is The Trauma Myth by Susan Clancy.
Clancy's research dovetails nicely with the findings of the Rind Report, and her research makes it clear that underagers do not usually experience trauma and lifelong devastation as previously believed simply for having a sexual experience with an adult. Although, predictably, Clancy has been viciously attacked by detractors who claim she is "promoting pedophilia" or taking a "pro-pedophile" stance in her book, she has clearly kept her open-mindedness to a greatly limited extent and has done no such thing. She vehemently condemns all adult sexual contact with anyone underage out of hand for all of the usual stereotypical reasons (such as children being inherently incapable of consenting to sex with adults due to their lack of life experience and understanding of what sex actually is, blah blah blah...). But she was very courageous simply to challenge this deeply held assumption that has been propagated by the media for three decades now, and even suffered self-imposed exile to Nicaragua as a result of her colleagues turning on her as a result of her objectivity in these studies.
However, she doesn't go anywhere near being pro-youth or even display any basic consideration of the actual potential of younger people in her studies of this subject, as does previous authors who were likewise courageous enough to challenge society's deeply held notions about young people since the Victorian era and the Industrial Revolution, such as Judith Levine and Robert Epstein.
But what she did with this book was certainly iconoclastic enough, and one can hope that if she is capable of challenging deeply held societal myths like those concerning "repressed memory" (which she did in a previous book, Abducted, where she dealt with the claims of "repressed memory syndrome" and the hypnotic retrieval of allegedly buried memories as they pertain to the alien abduction phenomenon) and the widely held belief that trauma, repressed or otherwise, always happens when kids come into sexual contact with adults, she may eventually come to challenge other social myths endorsed and spread all over the globe by the sex abuse industry in their incessant attempts to keep the current hysteria going strong so that those who profit from it in the realms of the mental health industry, government office, the media, and entertainment can continue to keep the money flowing in. The book remains extremely important to both the MAA community and the youth community as both struggle for their basic civil rights despite the fact that Clancy clearly wrote this book and conducted the studies recorded therein to help neither emancipation movement, but simply for the expressed purpose of benefitting sexual abuse victims.
I already analyzed Clancy's interview that appeared on Salon.com in another essay, so I will not reiterate those points here. However, despite Clancy's demolition of one particular common assumption that is entirely false (one corroborrated by other objective studies, such as the previously described Rind Report) and her previous demolition of another such myth in a different study, her book is full of other assumptions that she doesn't bother to challenge or do any research on. Instead, she continues to perpetuate these other myths and specious beliefs in regards to the subject of intergerational love with reckless abandon almost as much as Oprah Winfrey, John Walsh, and the rest of their ilk do.
Nevertheless, Clancy certainly has a commendably large degree of courage and integrity, along with a sincere desire for honesty against popular falsehoods that have become part of our society's conventional wisdom, and these are admirable character traits that are alien to the personas of Winfrey and Walsh. Also, I believe that Clancy is driven by a sincere desire to help sex abuse victims, rather than being driven by a combination of revenge and a desire to maintain popular appeal so as to preserve their lucrative media careers, as is the case with Walsh and Winfrey.
Still, there is much to nitpick about in Clancy's study seen in The Trauma Myth, including this statement by the unnamed book reviewer on the page I linked to up above:
"Because children don't understand sexual encounters in the same ways that adults do, they normally accommodate their perpetrators-- something they feel intensely ashamed about as adults." Of course, there can be no doubt that kids feeling the need to accomodate advances by parents or other adults who have direct power over them within the home (or sometimes within a boarding school) being a common result of their legal powerlessness and their lack of civil rights within these institutions...is a subject that Clancy didn't even bother to go near in her interview despite the extreme importance of doing so, an omission mirrored a decade earlier by Rind and his partners.
I haven't yet read Clancy's book at this writing, but her interview on Salon.com strongly suggests that she isn't likely to do much, if any, questioning of these institutions at all since she lumps all adults in the same boat when it comes to having power over kids, so she feels no need to cast any stones on the institutions where kids are abused most often in a genuine sense of the word. Thankfully, both Levine and Epstein did these very things, as have various youth liberationist authors in the past, such as John Taylor Gatto and John Holt. And since Clancy doesn't distinguish between parents and other older relatives living within the home and adults from outside the home that have no direct power over the youths in their respective AoA whom they may share a mutually desired relationship with, she does a great disservice to the topic--and to the truth. In fact, Clancy even trotted out the "lack of harmfulness does not imply lack of wrongfulness" line previously used by Rind in regards to the same subject. So I guess that statement in defense of moralism over empiricism is going to become the official catch phrase that researchers who compile data on this subject will use in the future to assure the public that regardless of the nature of their findings, they will not repudiate the moralizing assumptions that their research effectively refutes as not being based in scientific reality.
It may be fruitful for many in both the MAA community and the youth liberation movement to peruse this metafilter blog, which contains a large number of responses from various people outside of both the MAA community and the youth liberation movement, as it's interesting to see these individuals struggling to understand the subject that Clancy raises while pleasantly maintaining all of the typical biases and assumptions that each of these individuals have towards the topics of sexual abuse, the concept of childhood, adults who have a preferential attraction to minors (both pedophiles and hebephiles, though these people only know the term "pedophile"), the general state of psychiatric knowledge of all of these topics, etc. The aforementioned responses range from people who are trying their hardest to be open-minded despite the cultural influences they have grown up with, to people who are perhaps hopelessly ignorant and incorrigible about this subject. And the comments even include a response by someone that claims to be a mental health professional herself (scroll down low on the page linked to just above to find this one), and who happens to possess every single stereotypical conception of underagers in the book. As one might expect from her, she outright denies the capability of kids to consent to sexual activity with an adult despite the fact that Rind and his partners recognized the concept of simple consent along with the better known category of informed consent, and concluded that even pre-pubescent children are capable of this basic form of consent because they are well aware of what activities are pleasurable and positive to experience, and they fully recognize this as consent upon retrospect after growing up. That is, of course, provided they aren't forced into "therapy" or otherwise told by dozens of people whom they may have mistakenly told of their experience who insisted that the kids in question should be ashamed of having enjoyed the contact and all the other connected stereotypes and assumptions. In other words, intergenerational sexual activity is always intrinsically wrong in an absolute sense no matter how much it may have been mutually consented to and enjoyed by the younger person.
The alleged mental health professional who made a comment on the metafilter I linked to up above didn't even seem to be aware of the concept of simple consent, but Rind et al's study made it clear that such a category of consent is indeed recognized in the psychiatric field (I highly doubt that Rind and his collaborators in the study made the definition up out of thin air, as they displayed great care in conducting their research on this very testy and controversial subject).
As can be seen by the various commenters on the metafilter linked above, these following assumptions in regards to the general subject Clancy raised seem to be all too common and not challenged nearly enough:
a) Children have an inherent lack of ability to consent to sexual contact with adults because they do not understand what sex is. This despite the fact that it's been proven in many studies that pre-pubescents, let alone adolescents, are fully capable of experiencing sexual pleasure and enjoyment and are not traumatized by mutually desired contact of this nature with either peers or adults [I should note here that I am not promoting any type of sexual activity between adults and pre-pubescents that is developmentally inappropriate for pre-pubescent children, such as full penetrative intercourse, and the great majority of genuine pedophiles I have met have no interest in engaging in such activities with kids that have not yet reached puberty. What I am talking about here is what is often called "sex play" (and referred to by various euphemisms in the past, such as "playing doctor"), which pre-pubescent children often engage in with peers and sometimes initiate with adults.] Is it all that hard to understand that some things bring pleasure and other things do not?
b) Children are "pre-sexual" (yes, one of the commenters actually uses the latter term). This fashionable assumption is flatly contradicted by any child who has ever engaged in "playing doctor" with each other, peeked in at their older sister or cousin when she was changing her clothes, pulled up the dress of a peer, was caught masturbating, secretly told each other "dirty" jokes, or who surfed the Web looking for porno sites (which was revealed by that study conducted by Symantic that I mentioned and linked to up above in one of my previous points in this essay). Children are well known to be sexually curious, and this sometimes manifests in the ways described above or even with full blown sexual experimentation (i.e., "sex play") initiated with a peer or a trusted adult. While it's certainly true that pre-pubescent children do not have the same type of sexual desires as adults do, and generally do not seek to engage in all of the activities that adults (and adolescents, who are young adults) do with each other, they are clearly not entirely asexual as is commonly believed, and are naturally curious about sexuality. It's amazing how many adults willfully forget what it was like being a child and practice denial of this aspect of their childhood.
c) Even if children can receive pleasure from mutually consensual sexual contact with adults and are not magickally traumatized by it, it's still always a form of abuse on the part of the adult because children and younger teens cannot understand the full ramifications or consequences of engaging in such activity. What type of consequences are likely to result from sexual activity as long as sufficient precautions are taken in regards to STDs, pregnancy (in regards to teen girls), etc? Should kids be denied the right to take risks when it's been established via good and objective scientific studies that such risks are not extreme or are not likely to result in any serious psychological problems? Is sexual activity really too "complicated" for children and even teens to understand? Again, is it all that "complicated" to understand what brings you pleasure and what doesn't?
d) Intergenerational sexual contact is always a form of abuse by the adult because of the inherent power differential between adults and minors. This power differential is an artificial one created by society, and youth liberationists are working hard to remedy it by establishing civil rights for young people under 18. Even in the absence of civil rights for youths, if we can trust adults to raise kids and to teach them without abusing them despite the very strict degree of power that such adults have over minors, why can't we likewise trust adults who may share a mutual desire to have romantic relationships with kids when these particular adults will most likely not have anywhere near the same degree of power over these kids as do parents and teachers? And should we ignore the fact that most of the real abuse of power directed at kids which harm them in very demonstrable ways occurs courtesy of those who live with them or otherwise have the most direct power over them? And if one attempts to define "power differential" as the physical power imbalance between adults and minors, I will have to remind them that such a physical power imbalance exists between men and women on most occasions yet we don't consider such relationships inherently abusive on the part of the man if the woman consents to the relationship and reports it as a positive experience.
Please allow me to also remind such people, before they say "Children and women are not comparable in this situation because women are adults who fully understand sex and children don't!" that it was also once believed that women were "innocent" of all sexual desire at one time, that men who initiated sexual activity with them outside of marriage were abusing or corrupting them, and that women didn't understand the ramifications of such relationships (sex between men and women was tolerated within the bounds of marriage only as a "necessary evil" that was grudgingly accepted due to the fact that such activity was essential for propagating the human species, but it was believed that women didn't actually enjoy sex).
In regards to the idea that all romantic relationships must have a complete "balance of power" in order to be considered legit and non-abusive, please note these words from psychologist Paul Okami, who has studied this topic in detail:
The problem with the “balance of power” argument is that dyadic power can be in constant flux within a relationship and, in any event, is always multidimensional. Who has the greater power in a relationship? A black man or his white wife? A smart, beautiful, well-heeled female medical student or her somewhat dim-witted, cab-driver boyfriend (who is built like Arnold Schwarzenegger)? A teacher who is desperately in love with her 15-year-old former student or the 15-year-old who doesn’t much care one way or the other and could imprison the teacher for a hefty stretch with a few words? One simply cannot say which type of power is more significant socially or more important to the partners themselves—race versus sex, physical strength versus intelligence and wealth, age versus degree of “wanting” the relationship (being in love), social versus dyadic. ... Moreover, there is nothing logically intrinsic in power discrepancy that violates principles of justice or fairness in sexual relationships or that is necessarily harmful to the “less powerful” participant, unless one views sexual relationships as similar to hand-to-hand combat (e.g., heavyweight vs. flyweight contestant). The instability and multidimensionality of dyadic power and the fact that a “power-balanced” relationship is clearly mythological (in the sense that it can never be logically ascertained) lay to rest as useless the “power imbalance” argument. At best, this argument is a fine example of late twentieth century cultural-feminist silliness [Peer Commentaries on Green (2002) and Schmidt (2002) Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 31, No. 6, December 2002, pp. 479–503].
In order to clarify Okami's words in regards to what he is saying about power imbalances in relationships, my fellow GLer activist who posts in the MAA community under the nick Hen-Wen had this to say: "I think the salient point is that power imbalances are unavoidable in relationships, and that what matters is how that power is used or not used. Power balance is something that you create in a relationship, not something ready-made to be sought out. In terms of so-called precociousness, I find it attractive not because it gives the girl more power, but because it demonstrates that the girl has achieved some mental and emotional maturity (which is something that is to some degree independent of age), and which allows me to have more meaningful interactions with her. While it's true that the power imbalance argument has its root in Christian ideas about sex, the specific power-imbalance argument has its roots in feminist criticisms of power imbalances inherent in heterosexual sex."
e) Sexual activity that occurs between adults and minors is always initiated by the adult because kids "don't do that stuff." This popular assumption is entirely untrue, and is easily refuted if one bothers to read the multitude of posts left on MAA boards over the entire history of the Internet by teen and legally adult pheophiles [people with a strong or preferential physical, emotional, and social attraction for significantly older people who are not necessarily elderly] of both genders who made it clear that they frequently sought out contact of all sorts, both romantic and social, with adults of the gender they were attracted to when they were underage (or at least desired and frequently fantasized about such contact even if they didn't actually experience it).
Of course, all of these posts made by pheophiles of both genders were either ignored or assumed to be made by middle-aged MAAs pretending to be minors. And this despite the fact that some of the MAA community's worst enemies, most prominently hate groups like Perverted Justice and Absolute Zero United, are well aware that at least some of these underage pheophiles are actual teens because a few of them have been outed and forced into "therapy" as a result of these orgs finding out these teens' real identities and reporting their online activities to their parents, school staff, and local police. If anyone reading this essay doubts what I just said, then I suggest that you go to Perverted Justice's infamous Wikisposure site and read the entry called "The Fayla Incident," as this event will also show the sad fate that can happen to any underage gerontophile who becomes an activist for their civil rights, particularly their sexual rights, if they are outed and their activities are reported to their parents, their schools, and the police.
Gerontophilia is a real and distinct form of attraction base experienced by a significant minority of young people, and as this community is arguing, it constitutes a genuine sexual orientation that deserves to be acknowledged and respected rather than either ignored altogether, or declared to be an emotional illness or solely as cases of young people exchanging erotic favors for platonic friendship or surrogate fatherhood/motherhood from adults that they are supposedly not actually attracted to in a romantic or sexual manner. Young people who seek out adults for the latter deceptive reasons do actually exist, of course, but that doesn't change the fact that many other young people do indeed have a natural orientation and preference for significantly older people that is clearly romantic, emotional, and sexual in nature. Genuine pheophiles, as opposed to girls, and occasionally boys, who seek to "exchange" sexual favors for surrogate fathers or mothers, usually do not perceive the adults they seek these relationships out with as the equivalent of a substitute parent.
Many hebephiles, including myself, are also attracted to adult women and actively seek out legal relationships with much younger women in the age range of 18-early 20s, and I have met numerous pheophiles in that age group who have discussed how they routinely initiated sexual contact with adults when they were underage. This sometimes included the desire to engage in such activities--and frequent fantasizing about initiating them-- ever since they were pre-pubescents. I plan on making a point of bringing several of these pheophiles who are now of legal age into this debate in the future, as they will make it very clear that not only are there many young people who have a natural sexual, emotional, social, and spiritual preference for significantly older people, but that most of them (like most MAAs) are entirely sane, were not traumatized or psychologically damaged in any way by these experiences (provided they were mutually consensual), that underagers can readily tell the difference between coercive and non-coercive relationships and react much differently to each, and that society's legal and moral definitions of "abuse" need to be diffrentiated (even if Dr. Rind doesn't think his scientific studies and conclusions necessitate this; common decency and a simple appeal to social justice suggests otherwise).
f) Pedophilia is a mental disorder. Though pedophilia is considered to be a mental disorder by many in the mental health profession today and is listed as such in the current edition of the DSM (Diagnostics and Statistical Manual, the "bible" of the mental health profession), there are a growing number of MHPs (mental health professionals) who are challenging this notion. These open-minded MHPs are not making such challenges to "promote pedophilia" as their detractors will claim, but rather in the interest of advocating the truth. As such, these MHPs who have a dedication to truth and science over politics and moralism believe that putting pedophilia in the DSM has nothing to do with scientific validity and everything to do with making the DSM cater to cultural biases against any given form of desire or behavior that is not currently considered to be socially acceptable. The less than honest MHPs who cater to such cultural attitudes even when they do not coincide with the truth are often rightfully accused of politicizing science.
It should also be mentioned that hebephilia, which is much more common than true pedophilia and which is often conflated with pedophilia by the media and the various anti groups out there, is not considered a mental illness in the current edition (nor any previous edition) of the DSM despite its degree of social unacceptability.
g) The word "trauma" can have many different meanings or conceptions, and Susan Clancy only uses one of them in her book. Hence, her research and the main premise of her book is faulty. This is a claim that Clancy should have expected to hear from her detractors, especially since almost any word in popular usage can be twisted to mean pretty much anything that someone wants it to mean. However, Clancy uses the official definition of "trauma" that is accepted and utilized by the mental health industry, a definition that appears to be the most commonly understood usage of the word by the general public and the media also. As such, I am not certain as to what pet definitions or variations of the word are used by her various detractors who make such claims.
Considering how some of the commenters in the above linked metafilter discussing Clancy's new book still believe implicitely in "repressed memory syndrome" despite its near-universal refutation by all credible MHPs based on real, objective study and available evidence, as well as their adherence to any number of myths regarding this topic that I mentioned in this sub-list, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if some of these commenters are members of the Flat Earth Society, or who unquestionably believe any number of the conspiracy theories mentioned and debunked in David Aaronovitch's aforementioned new book. In truth, the claims of the people who make up the staff of the Repressed Memory Foundation (yes, such a foundation continues to exist to please the "victimology" advocates!) have about as much validity as those made by the members of the Flat Earth Society and those individuals who believe that the American government faked the 1969 mission to the moon.
The brave purveyors of the truth documented in the preceding sections of this essay have courage beyond that of any anti who has ever walked the Earth, because unlike the latter hate-mongers these seekers of the truth have taken huge personal risks and sometimes made major personal sacrifices to disseminate research that contradicts a widely held belief. How many people have ever been fired from a job for being an anti? They may claim they receive death threats from MAAs for their work, but even if that were true, how many more MAAs have received death threats from people in their community as a result of being outed by antis than the antis have from actual MAAs? And how many people ever get ostracized by their community for being antis? Considering the mental health of many antis, I would like to see them deal with the type of adversity that MAAs routinely deal with, not to mention the Non-MAAs who seek out truths that society is not comfortable with hearing, and see how well they dealt with the situation if it were reversed.
History only moves forward and social progress only occurs thanks to the efforts of such individuals as described in this essay (e.g., Debbie Nathan, Dr. Robert Epstein, Dr. Bruce Rind, Susan Thompson, Susan Clancy, etc.). Though it's still too early in the game to expect anyone from outside the MAA community (including those within the youth liberation movement) to openly champion for our rights specifically, that situation is slowly changing, due in part to the reaching out methods of newly emerging offline support orgs such as the Maryland based B4U-Act. This organization has, in just a few years of existence, provided for mutually respectful discussions between MAAs and MHPs who are open-minded seekers of the truth that are willing to take great risks, both personal and professional, to learn what is true and what isn't about adults who have a preferential attraction to minors of all age groups from an objective scientific standpoint. Taking a specific stance on this (or any other) topic simply because it's politically popular and deeply imbedded in the cultural fabric is not ethically justifiable to those individuals who have a genuine desire to learn the reality behind this complex social phenomenon.
As all activists remind those who grow impatient with the speed of progress in their chosen cause: one step at a time. The fact that there are a growing number of individuals who are openly fighting for youth rights and asking the questions that Dr. Bruce Rind and Susan Clancy failed to ask in their otherwise bold and courageous studies about the current cultural conceptions of young people should be seen as a welcome state of affairs for anyone who has any degree of respect for civil rights and liberties for everyone in society. These brave individuals are fighting for the rights of youths because it's the right thing to do, and thus do so without worrying about detractors lamenting, "If young people gain their rights, that means they might end up having sex with 'pedophiles!'" The Robert Epsteins of the world strongly believe in the rights of young people and consider what has been discovered about them using valid scientific research and a detailed objective look at history to be more than enough of a good reason to strive to change both the laws and the moral conceptions of young people without being concerned about the possibility of these emancipated youths engaging in activities that might offend the sensibilities of many in society or inspire moral outrage in them. To those who are more concerned with matters of social justice than they are with offending sensitive people clearly believe that capitulation to societal attitudes that are based entirely on moralism rather than scientific accuracy (as Dr. Rind had no problem with doing) would constitute a vast injustice to the young people who these youth liberationists rightfully view as oppressed.
In other words, to a few brave souls out there, doing the right thing based on truth is much more important to them than doing the convenient thing based on strictly moralizing concerns that have no basis in scientific fact. If we had more such individuals living in any given time period, imagine how much faster social progress and justice for everyone in society would have occurred.
Going back to the subject of journalist David Aaronovitch's 2010 book on conspiracy theories that was mentioned in the opening paragraph of this essay, a book dedicated to the idea that learning the truth about any given subject is extremely important, Aaronovitch made the following statement in response to interviewer Thomas Rogers' query as to why it matters if people believe in things that are categorically untrue and whether or not people aren't entitled to believe whatever they want to believe:
"I do think it actually matters what is true. The search for the truth is an important search, and if it isn’t, we’re lost in all kinds of ways. We’re lost in the fields of Holocaust denial. We’re lost in being able to compare what is good and what is bad because we can’t agree what actually happened. We’re lost when it comes to guarding minorities against populist agitation [emphasis mine]. Nobody’s going to die from saying Shakespeare wasn’t Shakespeare, but in other areas, when the truth suffers, our decision making suffers. When there is no authority to the truth, prejudices thrive [emphasis mine]."
Though Aaronovitch certainly didn't make the above quote with either the MAA or the youth community in mind, it's nevertheless very applicable to the latter two groups as much as to anyone else, and should serve as one of the most inspirational quotes made in this decade. Aaronovitch's sage quote should also serve as a strong reminder to everyone who reads it that seeking the truth is extremely important to the world. Those who are courageous enough to seek the truth in opposition to some of the most deeply ingrained and even outright sacrosanct falsehoods in society should receive a huge amount of gratitude from everyone on this planet (particularly anyone who has ever been oppressed or harmed by false beliefs), because without these individuals social progress for the betterment of the entire world could never occur.
The following bonus section of this essay features brief responses to the sub-list of social myths regarding young people and intergenerational attraction which I mentioned above by my fellow MAA activist Quoth.
1) Children never lie when they say they have been sexually abused.
Bullies in the legal system certainly do try to force kids to say what they want to hear, and will also try to twist whatever they do say to fit their agenda. A friend of my family's was in this position a few years ago, after drawing the ire of the local child "welfare" agency due to her "interference" with a teen girl. What she was actually doing was trying to help a teen girl, who was facing emotional abuse by her father, but the father had some influence and complained about it. Next thing she knew, social workers were trying to fabricate proof that she was abusing her foster kids, and they tried to bully the kids into saying that. Fortunately, their bullying tactics were unsuccessful (and unfortunately nothing was ever done about the girl's emotionally abusive father, as far as I know), but this is a typical example of how legal authorities can and do try to fabricate cases of child abuse for political reasons. Do a search for "child protective services make false allegations" on Google or Yahoo and you'll find plenty of stories like this.
2) Every adult who commits genuine acts of sexual abuse against kids have and are primarily motivated by a sexual attraction to kids.
Of course, abuse of any form is about exerting power over someone else. It really shouldn't be a surprise that those who commit abusive acts are often in a position of power over their victim. On the other hand, attraction has nothing whatsoever to do with exerting power over someone else, and implies quite generally that someone views the person they are attracted to as an equal.
3) Kids have no real sexual desire.
I've always wondered how those that make this claim can do so with a straight face. Do they not remember anything at all before the Magic Age? And is their doublethink really good enough that they can deny that their own sons and daughters have sexual desires, especially when their spying software logs the kids searching for sex and porn, and notes that they are top ten search terms?
4) Kids were being sexually abused in truly horrific and often preposterous ways in the U.S.--and possibly across the world--by groups of mysterious and diabolical cultists who worshipped Satan and were abusing these kids in "honor" of the ultimate Lord of Evil.
Mass insanity at its finest.
5) Innumerable people who were sexually abused in their childhood were so traumatized by the alleged abuse that they repressed the memory deep into their subconscious, which could subsequently be retrieved at any point in their adulthood by deep hypnosis.
This idea was always so laughable that it should have been rejected by serious psychologists without consideration. I think "repressed memory syndrome" is just another symptom of a larger problem within the study of psychology, in that any "theory" is automatically true until proven false. It should be the other way around.
6) All cases of what is legally considered child pornography are always produced by adults and never by the minors themselves.
Kids were taking sexual pictures of themselves long before cell phones were invented. The sexting cases are simply the modern way of doing this.
7) The brains of adolescents are inherently faulty due to innate biological factors and thus they have an inherent tendency to make poor decisions that necessitate denying them most of their civil rights and keeping them under the control of their parents and other adults for their own good.
The proponents of this claim always like to use cases where teens "act out" to justify it. Of course, they never mention that this is almost universally in response to the unjust, broad denial of their civil liberties. And they never even attempt to justify their claim that a person can go from being incapable of making any decisions to being a fully capable human being in a single day.
8) Mutually consensual sexual contact between anyone today considered to be 'minors' and those who are adults is always traumatizing for the younger person and will likely cause lifelong psychological 'damage' to them, no matter how much the minor in question may have enjoyed and desired the experience.
The thing that people desperately need to realize is that the only valid definition of "wrong" is that which brings harm to someone.
Mutually consensual sexual contact itself cannot be traumatizing for the very simple fact that it is consensual. Trauma from the contact can only occur where there is some kind of force or manipulation used, but if it does, the contact is no longer consensual in any way.
The treatment that 'minors' get if they happened to be involved in a consensual relationship that is discovered is what is traumatizing. Moreover, hearing over and over again that any sexual contact between adult and child/teen is inherently harmful will have a severely negative impact on those who had some consensual contact that went undiscovered. And for the victims of genuine abuse, the way that they are treated by the legal system only traumatizes them further, in some instances far more than the actual abuse itself ever did.
I'd love to see someone who supports this ignorant claim struggle (and inevitably fail) to refute this: "The idea that sexual activity is the one thing in the world that underagers will engage in if they don't want to with adults, let alone those particular adults who do not live with them or have any particular degree of strict power over them, is quite baffling and entirely devoid of common sense, to say the least."
a) Children have an inherent lack of ability to consent to sexual contact with adults because they do not understand what sex is.
Knowing if something is pleasurable is not a difficult concept, at all. And moreover, it is awfully hard to say with a straight face that kids don't understand what sex is when they are frequently searching for sex and porn online, as noted by the Symantic study of kids' surfing habits.
b) Children are "pre-sexual" (yes, one of the commenters actually uses the latter term).
A convenient term to begrudgingly acknowledge that kids, in fact, do have a sexual nature, while keeping it fully separated in their minds from "real" sexuality.
c) Even if children can receive pleasure from mutually consensual sexual contact with adults and are not magickally traumatized by it, it's still always a form of abuse on the part of the adult because children cannot understand the full ramifications or consequences of engaging in such activity.
How could something mutually consensual ever be considered abusive? Moreover, learning about the possible risks of sexual activity is not difficult, and those risks can also be largely negated by some simple precautions.
d) Intergenerational sexual contact is always a form of abuse by the adult because of the inherent power differential between adults and children (a situation that could include teens under the age of 18 also).
A power differential which exists solely because divisions based on age exist.
e) Sexual activity that occurs between adults and minors is always initiated by the adult because kids "don't do that stuff."
Wishful thinking doesn't make it so.
f) Pedophilia is a mental disorder.
A "mental disorder" which does not meet the DSM's definition of what constitutes a mental disorder.
g) The word "trauma" can have many different meanings or conceptions, and Susan Clancy only uses one of them in her book. Hence, her research and the main premise of her book is faulty.
Only if "trauma" is taken to mean something completely different than what any reasonable definition of the word would say. And in any event, playing a game of semantics with a word does not undermine what someone claims if one looks at what the person is actually trying to convey.
URL for David Aaronovitch's interview on Salon.com about his new book on famous conspiracy theories from the early 20th century to the first decade of the 21st century:
URL for the Wikipedia entry on the McMartin pre-school incident:
URL for the Wikipedia entry on the general day care sex abuse hysteria that once plagued America:
URL for the section of the AttractedToChildren.org site describing some important facts about pedophilia:
URL to the article on Stuff.co.nz about the Symantic data collection project that proves pre-pubescents and underage adolescents routinely search for porn and sex sites online:
URL to the Wikipedia entry on the book Michelle Remembers, the 1980 tome that was largely responsible for starting both the satanic ritual abuse hysteria and the "repressed memory syndrome" fiasco:
URL to the article about the book Satan's Silence, a tome which effectively debunked the satanic ritual abuse hysteria:
URL to page containing various important articles on the satanic ritual abuse hysteria:
URL for article about the book The Myth of Repressed Memory, a tome which effectively disproved the once popular but almost entirely fallacious "repressed memory syndrome" phenomenon:
URL to another very excellent article on the book The Myth of Repressed Memory:
URL to a book review of The Courage To Heal:
URL to a page containing links to many other articles on "repressed memory syndrome":
URL to a CBS News article describing the sexting phenomenon:
URL to an article on the Sodahead.com website describing the reality of underage girls uploading nude pics of themselves on socnet sites:
URL to a biography of psychologist G. Stanley Hall, the creator of the modern day concept of "adolescence":
URL to Dr. Robert Epstein's website:
URL to the section of the Scientific American Mind website where you can purchase (for $7.95) a digital copy of the issue containing the article, "The Myth of the Teen Brain":
URL for a page containing links to a preview for the book TEEN 2.0: Freeing Our Children and Families From the Torment of Adolescence and the Young Person's Bill of Rights that was created by Robert Epstein:
URL to the article "Let's Abolish High School":
URL to the archived article from ASFAR's official zine Youth Truth explaining why the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is no friend of the youth liberation movement:
URL for Anarchopedia entry on the Rind Report: http://eng.anarchopedia.org/Rind_Report
URL for Google page containing info on the book Going All The Way, a seminal study of teen girls' sexual lives:
URL for a New York Times review of the book Going All The Way:
URL for the Safehaven Foundation Press:
URL for a detailed article that counters the common claims of the Rind Report's detractors:
URL for Debbie Nathan's CounterPunch article about the life of Justin Berry and Kurt Eichenwald's misrepresentation of it:
URL for John Farmer's good article on Telecom-Digest Online about the Justin Berry story and Kurt Eichenwald's highly selective interpretation of it:
URL to a book description of The Trauma Myth, an important work of research that refutes the commonly held belief that sexual contact between underagers and adults is always highly traumatic for the younger person:
URL for metafilter blog featuring numerous comments by people (both those making a commendable effort to be open-minded and those who are extremely and blissfully ignorant about this topic) discussing The Trauma Myth and the implications of the research contained within:
URL for B4U-Act, a Maryland based org that is the historical first ever offline support group for MAAs: