A famous study on childhood sexual abuse was done 20 years ago by Rind et al. I think I still have a copy of it on my desktop here.
It provoked wild outrage. Even the idiotic American Psychological Association denounced it, notable as one of the most anti-scientific statements this anti-scientific organization has ever issued. Even the US Congress got in on the act. The Congress passed a resolution condemning the study! Congressmen, mostly Republicans, stood up and denounced it forcefully.
The problem? The study came up with the wrong answer. In other words, the truth was wrong and society preferred to believe pleasant lies over unpleasant truths, so the paper was condemned for discovering the wrong facts.
Usually when theory and facts do not match up, we say that the theory was wrong and go back to the drawing board.
However, in this case and with all ideological arguments by ideologues and politics types, when the theory and the facts don’t match up, the facts are wrong, and the facts are not the facts! Why? Because the theory is said to be automatically a priori true. The theory must be true. It cannot be false. So the facts must be wrong and we need to change the facts, wipe out the truth, and say that reality isn’t real, instead, what is real is some fantasy world that doesn’t exist.
A number of fake “studies” were undertaken by other behavioral “scientists” taking about the Rind findings and finding fault with this or that conclusion. None of the fake studies denouncing it were worth a hill of beans. That they made it into the journals at all shows that pathetic anti-scientific nature of the social sciences, sadly also including Psychology, which has been trying to become more of a science for a long time now.
But by the very fact that it is a social science means that Psychology will always be a fake science in some ways because its findings have to do with people, and the science of people will always be twisted by politics, ideology, bias, and mostly emotional reaction.
It’s hard to get emotional about a new finding in math or physics. Who cares! But findings in the social sciences are inherently emotional because we are always emotional about ourselves and our fellow humans, and anything people are strongly emotional about will always be tainted by bias, propaganda, politics, and ideology. In other words, lies. This is why the social sciences will always be doomed to the charge of being fake sciences and will always carry the guilty burden of physics envy.
Ritter et al conducted a meta-analysis of a huge number of studies on the effects of childhood sexual abuse on children as adults. Child abuse was mostly defined as sexual abuse below age 13, so sex with teenage girls and boys, a massive minefield, was left out.
The available evidence shows that consensual sex with teenage girls and boys and adults causes little if any damage to teenagers. This behavior is illegal not because it is harmful to the teens, as I doubt that it is. Instead it is outlawed because society’s morals say that members of society do not wish to live in a society where adults are free to have sex with teenagers of various ages.
It’s seen as unsavory, unpleasant, disgusting or revolting, and often morally wrong. But this behavior is not psychologically disordered in any way. This is a moral and legal problem, not a psychological one.
Unfortunately we are now in the midst of a truly insane mass hysteria around the sexuality of teenage girls in which 9
In fact, the people who quote the science and the facts about this question are attacked as pedophiles! Because I guess only pedophiles believe in science and truth when it comes to this sort of thing. If you don’t want to be called a pedophile, just spout the usual lies about this subject. As long as you keep lying and don’t ever resort to facts, you’re in the clear!
Fact: nothing published in an academic journal has ever produced evidence suggesting that teen/adult relationships are harmful or predatory. Literally not even one. Anthropological and historical studies all over the world have found that such relationships are common in many societies and no harm was reported in any society ever studied.
How do I know this? I’ve studied them. A particularly large one was done out of Germany in the 1950’s. You can find this evil science of banned truths on the Net, though I can’t tell you where to look. The pedo advocate sites have links to it, but I don’t want to send you there. I suspect the motives of those who wrote this study, but the science seems good.
Furthermore, historically speaking, I’ve learned from the Psychohistorian sites that teen/adult relations were normal in most of the world including the West up until 1900. Zero harm was reported.
Sadly, mass molestation of children was also reported in the West from Roman and Greek times until 1900. Under the crowded urban conditions that arose with the onset of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution, where families were packed together in tiny spaces, a great deal of molestation went on. I’m not happy about this at all, but it’s notable that no ill effects were observed in Greece and Rome until the pre-1900 West.
Perhaps the reason for this was that molestation of children was simply an expected fact of life. If you grow up as a female and get molested and all of your woman friends also got molested, it’s seen as a normal thing. There’s usually nothing inherently wrong with this behavior absent physical damage. Things that are normalized in any society tend to cause little if any damage.
I disagree here with some folks like psychohistorians who argue that all sexual abuse of children under any circumstances, normalized or condemned, results in inevitable terrible lifetime damage to the person. They also believe that many other things experienced in childhood cannot but cause horrible lifelong damage.
I doubt if that is true. If you grow up in a society that normalizes this or that behavior, outside of extreme perversion, aggression, and sadism, it’s probably seen as normalized and shrugged off. In other words, the damage of most of these things is relative and depends on the degree to which your society condemns or pathologizes the behavior.
However, for small children, the true victims of child molestation, it is quite different.
Granted, the victims were interviewed when in college so the abuse was a long ways away. Conceivably if they had interviewed them earlier as minors, they would manifested more damage. The findings were shocking:
Rind et al found that the long-term effects of child sexual abuse were typically neither pervasive nor intense, and men reacted much less negatively than women. Ritter et al also found that less than 1
To explicate that further, the effects were shame about having been abused, blame for themselves for allowing it to happen to them, and confusion about the abuse itself.
The confusion may manifest in various ways. A female friend of mine from 10 years ago was molested. Of course she absolutely hates my guts now, but that’s not an unusual reaction for women who get involved with me in some way or another. I’m used to it.
She told me that she was molested by a pedophile in her church group when she was 8 years old. The molester was a young man and he does appear to have been a pedophilic or preferential molester. She told me, “It’s confusing because it feels good but it’s wrong.” This is part of the thinking behind the confusion that kids experience after being abused.
She also told me that she had completely gotten over it by age 50, but she seemed to have gotten over it much before then. I knew two other women (I actually got involved with these two whereas with the other one it was more email and hot phone conversations) of the same age who were sexually abused as girls, one by a probable pedophile and the other by her opportunistic teenage older brother. They both told me that they had gotten over it by age 50 but implied that they had gotten over it much before then.
The shame, blame, and confusion are apparently short-term effects in most victims, and at the very least have dissipated by college age.
The implication is that children or minors may experience those effects for some time in their youth, but these effects mostly go away by adulthood, and there is no lasting damage in almost all (9
Unfortunately, pedophiles have gotten a hold of the Rind et al study and like to wave it around to try to push for legalization of child/adult sexual relations.
That’s not my intention here. I don’t care if most victims get over it. Good for them. I’m happy that they are not damaged in the long term.
Nevertheless, this behavior still needs to be outlawed because I don’t want to live in a society where adults are allowed to have sex with young children below age 13. I don’t have to have a reason. I just don’t like it. That’s all the reason I need.