A couple of years ago a sympathetic friend asked me what books he should read in order to get an idea of the feelings, experiences and thinking of a pro-choice paedophile. I gave his request some thought and, knowing him to be a busy man, decided to limit my ‘reading list’ to just 3 books.

I will devote a blog post to each of these books. They include a novel (not Lolita), a piece of sustained advocacy, and the book I’m looking at in this post: ‘The Trauma Myth’ by Susan Clancy.


‘The Trauma Myth’ was published in 2009 and created such a furore in the United States that Clancy had to leave her research post at Harvard and live in Nicaragua. That she should have been the recipient of such opprobrium was predictable, in that the implications of her findings took apart the entrenched ideology and interests of the CSA industry, but also unfair, since Clancy consistently sides with the ‘victim’ and maintains a clear ‘anti-abuse’ and ‘anti-paedophilia’ stance throughout her book.

2fd679f0daef0b810b24f5b849d31bed‘The Trauma Myth’ investigates the source of the trauma frequently experienced by those who, as children, were in consensual sexual relationships with an adult, and pinpoints how social attitudes and beliefs, which perpetuate a false idea of ‘child sexual abuse’, contribute to that damage.

Throughout the book Susan Clancy uses a vocabulary in-line with that of the Child Abuse Industry: all child-adult intimacy is described as ‘abuse’, all younger parties are described as ‘victims’ and the adults are always ‘perpetrators’ or ‘abusers’. Whilst genuine ‘abuse’ does occur, and genuine ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ do exist, I feel that this use of language is not adequate to honest and clear thought on such issues, and the book’s shortcomings may be due to the language not allowing Clancy to think beyond the parameters it establishes.

In my first draft of this essay, as an act of defiance, I put all such loaded words between ‘scare quotes’ in order to indicate that I was quoting her usage of those words but not necessarily endorsing it. But the text rapidly became unreadable. So I’ve decided, for the sake of clarity and readability, for the most part to use her vocabulary and trust that the reader will supply their own ‘scare quotes’ and be wary about  the implied values such words carry and how they can ‘poison the well‘ .

The Trauma Myth – a Summary

Whilst interviewing adults on the impact of child abuse Clancy noticed that most of her interviewees didn’t talk about the abuse they experienced in the way she had been led to expect. The dominant narrative on child abuse says that it consists of a man forcing himself on an unwilling child and that the experience is severely traumatic for the child whilst it occurs, often so horrific that the trauma is repressed.

None of her interviewees presented scenarios that corresponded to this culturally ubiquitous idea of ‘abuse’. Many of her interviewees said that they didn’t mind the abuse at the time, or at worst felt a bit confused by it. Many said that they liked the attention, enjoyed the activity, loved and felt loved by the perpetrator. Many of the interviewees actually considered themselves to have consented to, and even initiated, the relationship and the activities. However all the interviewees felt that they had experienced trauma as a result of the abuse.

How could this be if the actual acts themselves weren’t experienced as traumatic?

It became clear that the trauma started to occur not at the time of the abuse but either when the relationship was discovered, or when the child grew old enough to realise the significance of what had happened. Clancy uses the word ‘reconceptualisation’ to describe a transformation in the victim’s understanding of what happened.

The victim realises that the person they thought loved them had actually betrayed them; they blame themselves because they allowed the abuse to happen and feel ashamed at any pleasure, enjoyment or happiness they got from the relationship. These feelings of betrayal, shame and self-blame trigger the trauma experienced by child abuse victims in adulthood.

One of the reasons that the victim comes to feel shame and self-blame is because their experience doesn’t correspond to the Trauma Myth –  the unquestioned and unquestionable social narrative around child sexual  abuse: that of an adult forcing himself on an unwilling, innocent child.

Genuine child rape is very rare (Clancy encountered no instance of this amongst her two hundred plus interviewees) and also causes trauma. However in these cases the trauma symptoms kick-in during and immediately after the assault.

The participant-victim perceives that their case doesn’t conform to the the idea of what a child-adult sexual encounter should be – the ‘Trauma Myth’ – they feel that they must have been dirty, are freaks, and brought the abuse on themselves, are confused because their abuser was someone they loved and maybe still do. They feel that society wouldn’t support them if they were to speak out about what happened because they don’t see themselves as being ‘innocent victims’. They fear that they may be the only person in the world who had sexual relations with an adult as a child and actually enjoyed them or liked their abuser.

Moreover, when they do speak about their experiences parents, family, professionals and society at large don’t, or don’t want to, believe them because the narrative they give doesn’t conform to the Trauma Myth and is shameful. Only the Trauma Myth is accepted – that’s why victims of real child abuse, abuse that conforms to the trauma myth ideal (such as rape by a stranger) have better long-term psychological outcomes: they’re listened to, believed and supported by society because their experience conforms to society’s only permissible narrative around child-adult sex.

The victims of participative child abuse often don’t speak about it for years or decades after it has happened because of their perception that their case doesn’t fit the innocent ‘child being raped’ scenario, and they realise that they won’t be believed, or if believed, will be judged negatively for their complicity in the abuse.

In her conclusion Clancy calls for a greater awareness that abuse can appear consensual. That victims should be listened to and be reassured that sexual abuse can never be the victim’s fault – even if the victim feels that they in fact consented or even provoked the abuse.

A thought on her sample

To return to the question of language : the advert she placed in the Boston Globe was as follows :

« Were you sexually abused as a child ? Please call Susan for more information regarding a research study on memory in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. »

By using the words ‘abused’ in her announcement she effectively selected a sample of people who felt negatively about what had happened. Despite skewing her sample in this way she was still shocked at how her interviewees reported positive elements to their abuse.

If she’d instead written “Did you have a sexual relationship with an adult as a child?” she may have got a sample of interviewees that included people who had experienced no negative effects even despite the inevitable exposure they would have had to stigma as they grew up.

Her field of interest is ‘child abuse’ not ‘children’s sexual rights’ or ‘paedophilia’. She could answer the above criticism with ‘I’m interested in helping people afflicted with trauma: those who aren’t suffering from trauma and don’t see themselves as victims fall outside my field of interest.’. However she goes on to say:

“Sexual abuse is very wrong, regardless of how it affects victims. As…Carol Tavris has written, – A criminal act is still a criminal act, even if the victim recovers.”

Of course, this is nonsense: one has only to remember the acts that used to be ‘criminal’ (i.e. homosexuality, atheism, abortion…) to know that ‘criminal acts’ don’t always remain criminal acts, that there are such things as ‘victimless crimes’, and that the issue with consensual child-adult intimacy is not whether a child ‘recovers’ from it, but whether any harm at all is cause from which a child might need to ‘recover’.

It’s a shame that Clancy excluded from her sample ‘victims’ who felt positively about their childhood sexual relationships with adults since their testimony could have helped her thinking go that extra mile that her research findings seem to be begging her to take.

The Betrayal Myth

In a chapter headed “Why the Trauma Myth Damages Victims” she looks at the reconceptualisation that takes place when the victim becomes aware of the stigma associated with child-adult intimacy.

Clancy presents three subsections in the following order: ‘betrayal’,  ‘self-blame’ and finally ‘shame’.

After reading the ‘betrayal’ subsection I felt that my conviction in the essential harmlessness of consensual paedophlia had been somewhat shaken. This subsection leaves a strong impression that betrayal is something intrinsic to child-adult sexual intimacy, that such feelings would emerge even if the ‘abuse’ had happened on a desert island or in a society accepting of child-adult intimacy.

She describes the feelings of betrayal her interviewees experienced when they understood that the person whom they had loved, who they believed had loved and cared for them, were all the time acting from base, selfish motives. They felt that they had been used, and therefore abused, hence the feelings of having been betrayed.

But the way Clancy has ordered these 3 subsections obfuscates the real causes for the feelings of ‘betrayal’. By placing her consideration of what are in fact the causes of ‘self-blame’ and ‘shame’ after the ‘betrayal’ section she has presented her ideas in such a way that one is left with the impression that the mechanisms of ‘betrayal’ are somehow intrinsic to the act.

However if you were to read the ‘self-blame’ and ‘shame’ sections before the ‘betrayal’ section a different impression would be conveyed. Both these sections are clear and persuasive: the ‘shame’ occurs when the ‘victim’ becomes aware of the social stigma associated such intimacy, the ‘self-blame’ occurs because the child, having enjoyed the sexual interaction at the time, perceives themselves as having been complicit in this heavily stigmatised activity.

Thus, by the inverting the natural order by which ideas should be presented (from cause to effect) she disconnects the ‘betrayal’ from its true causes – ‘self-blame’ and ‘shame’, both of which are, in their turn, caused by social stigma.

It’s no surprise that the victim, under the psychological pressure of self-blame and shame and with society telling her that his acts were ‘evil’ and ‘criminal’, would re-interpret the actions of her lover in light of this stigma, and feel that his love was in fact an act of betrayal.

Having demonstrated that child-adult sensual intimacy is not traumatogenic in itself I suspect that ‘betrayal’ is the mechanism by which Clancy tries to preserve the idea that there is yet some intrinsic harm in child-adult sexual intimacy.

Of course, if one takes a cultural absolutist stance and doesn’t question the stigma associated with child-adult intimacy then the betrayal mechanism would appear to be intrinsic. And given the context and attitudes of contemporary western societies, it could be argued that any act which risks bringing such stigma and trauma into a person’s existence is an act of betrayal.

However Clancy’s lack of interest in the adult in such relationships means that she doesn’t consider that the feelings of love the child experienced from the adult may have been absolutely genuine (something I’m sure all paedophiles will attest to being very probable).

In Chapter 2, “The Truth About Sexual Abuse”, Clancy writes about her struggle to reconcile her interviewees unexpectedly non-traumatic accounts of their abuse with the account of coercion and trauma she’d been expecting:

[E]ven if […] my victims were misremembering what had happened, they should be remembering [the abuse] as more traumatic than it actually was. Research shows that people have a tendency to let current psychological states bias their memories of past events. The worse you feel at the time someone asks you about a previous event in your life, the worse you remember the past event to be. If the people I interviewed were psychologically distressed at the time I spoke with them (which they definitely were), one might expect them to, if anything, remember the abuse as worse than it actually was.”

Clearly she recognises how stigma and psychological distress can pressure the victim to misremember the past: she could have also added that this same pressure can lead them to misinterpret the feelings and motivations of their adult partner, and also to under-report any pleasure or happiness they got from the relationship.

So, assuming the adult were a normal, loving paedophile, and his expressions of love weren’t just a ruse to get sex from a child he had no affection for – it seems likely that feelings of betrayal involve the victim in a move away from the truth – that the passing of time and the pressure of stigma is leading him/her into a misinterpretation of something she perceived more clearly when a child.

As so often in these matters the truth comes from ‘listening to the child’. The trouble is that the CSA industry only listens to the child when that child is saying what the CSA industry wants to hear.

Conclusion

It may seem perverse to have devoted most of this essay to the criticism of a book I’ve chosen as essential reading for anyone wanting to understand paedophilia.

Undoubtedly ‘The Trauma Myth’ represents a very major leap forward in our understanding of the nature of child-adult sexuality in our society: it presents clear evidence that most child-adult intimacy is of a consensual nature, that far from being a traumatic experience it is often positive, pleasurable and rewarding for the child (to the point that the children are often complicit in prolonging the relationship, are proactive in requesting intimacy and feel genuine affection and love for their adult partner), it reveals that it is the stigma that society loads onto such interactions that is the source of the trauma experienced by adult ‘survivors’ of child abuse.

But I also find it a frustrating book – I feel Clancy is like the cross-channel swimmer who gets within 50 metres of the French coast, feels too exhausted to complete the crossing and so swims back to Dover. Clancy gets one short step from making an even bigger discovery than the one she explores in her book.

Maybe she did think at some point “Well, if the actual experience wasn’t unpleasant, if the trauma only kicks in when the child becomes aware of stigma associated with such acts, then maybe it’s the stigma that’s the problem not the sexual interaction.”

But then, if that had been her thesis, no one would have listened to her, her book wouldn’t have been published, she’d have suffered even worse opprobrium than she did (the spectre of the Rind controversy hovers over all academics who dare take an independent line on these matters) and the Trauma Myth would remain unchallenged. Maybe her refusal to question the Abuse Myth and her insistence in condemning all child/adult intimacy regardless was necessary if she were to pursue her debunking of the ‘Trauma Myth’ and helping people suffering from trauma.

Which brings me to a larger issue: do we have to accept the conclusions Clancy reaches from her research wholesale or can we take her data and come to our own, different conclusions? Properly conducted research should be able to stand free of the conclusions drawn by those who conducted it. The data from which Galileo worked out that the solar system was helio-centric was data observed and noted by astronomers who believed in an earth-centered solar system.

The fact that Susan Clancy was either unable or unwilling to follow the implications of her research through to their logical conclusion should not stop us from doing so.

31 thoughts on “Three Essential Paedo-Reads: “The Trauma Myth” by Susan Clancy

    1. Thanks for that Yure. I’ve got a copy of Kershnar’s ‘Sex, Discrimination and Violence’ – which I started but didn’t finish. I found it an unusually challenging read, but I think I’m ready to give it another go.
      But ‘Pedophilia and Adult–Child Sex: A Philosophical Analysis’ looks really very interesting, very thourough.
      But probably the biggest challenge is the price-tag – $29.33 for the e-book version – and it’s not the kind of book you can ask a rich and generous relative to buy you for your birthday. I’ll pop it into my shopping basket and wait for my money tree to drop a cash-apple.

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  1. Dr Frans Gieles: http://www.human-being.nl/english.htm

    IPCE first convened in 1987 to prepare input to the annual International Gay & Lesbian Association meetings. After the expulsion of NAMBLA from the association, Ipce continued as an independent organization, meeting annually in different locations around Europe. IPCE has for some years has been in a state of hiatus, partly due to Frans’ poor state of health – it is very much his baby – plus a declining membership.

    The (online) magazine section of the ipce websitehttps://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/ipce_magazine.htm is themed, so, for example:
    Magazine 1: Laws. More and more states have created laws, said “to protect children”, but actually to control, criminalize, demonize and to ban who are called “sex offenders”, a great category of convicted people, ranging from tiny breaks of a law onto serious offences. Remarkably enough, there are no such laws for murderers, only for “sex offenders”. What Ipce tries to overview is the trend to make such laws, the global content of the laws, and the critics published to combat such laws that harm lots of people and factually do not protect any child at all. ”
    Magazine 6: Civil Commitment. This article examines how civil commitment has been rolled out in the case of the sex offender, and focuses on the implementation of the program in the US and the controversy that has been spawned as a result. The term ‘mental disorder’ has been expanded therefore to include ‘mental abnormality’, to enable sex offenders to be committed civilly.

    Dissidents observation: “For many years it was extremely lop-sided towards providing material for man/boy love, since BLer’s have been politically active for much longer than GLer’s have, and thus studies on the dynamics of same gender but age disparate romance dominated the scholarly world for a long time, a situation that has only recently begun to change.” Yes, Frans is based in the Low Countries, a location which historically (the last fifty years or more) has been the epicentre for many minor-attracted groups and initiatives, particularly so in the early part of that period. Yes, a bias towards raising the profile of boy love dominated at the activist level, although the content of legal child p*rnography at that time was by no means so biased . Hotels that hosted boy-love conferences, didn’t bat an eyelid when attendees brought their young friends with them. And of course, Edward Brongersma published his two Loving Boys volumes. So an important time for collaboration, networking and output. That exciting dynamic has all but evaporated due to the force that has been applied to suppress everything we say, do and think; in effect: to eradicate our identity.

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  2. Leonard, I thought you and some of my fellow readers of your blog might want to check out my 2011 essay where I analyzed an interview with Susan Clancy on her book The Trauma Myth, which I wrote for Newgon, but has since been thankfully preserved on Ipce with improved formatting now that Newgon is down. It’s very lengthy, and not intended to be consumed in a single reading, but its version on Ipce is helpfully divided into separate sections for reading over multiple sittings:

    https://www.ipce.info/library/web-article/essay-trauma-myth-analysis-susan-clancy

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    1. Unlike you Dissident to pen very lengthy pieces ;o)

      Actually, this is the pot calling the kettle black; ipce magazine #6 will take some beating in terms of length, and I really surprised Frans let it go through in its entirety without asking me first to edit it.

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      1. Could you and Dissident fill me in a bit about IPCE? I visit it occasionally, but in an unsystematic kind of way. Who is Frans? and what is this about a magazine?

        Excuse my naivety – I’m relatively new to the militant paedo world (my ‘re-awakening’ took place, I guess, in Autumn 2013) and I’m still catching up on a lot of things.

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        1. Not a prob, Leonard 🙂 IPCE has long been a resource for scholarly articles on subject of the Kind side, including links to articles and preservation of otherwise lost material on the topic, which makes it quite clear that there is no shortage of scholarly, scientific, and investigative journalistic material backing up the much-maligned pro-choice side of things. For many years it was extremely lop-sided towards providing material for man/boy love, since BLer’s have been politically active for much longer than GLer’s have, and thus studies on the dynamics of same gender but age disparate romance dominated the scholarly world for a long time, a situation that has only recently begun to change.

          I’m now just familiarizing myself with IPCE MAGAZINE, so I’ll let Feinmanno field that one for you 🙂

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          1. Thanks for that Dissy. I’ll have to spend some time really exploring IPCE – though at the moment I’m trying to get to grips with the Growing Up Sexually Corpus and I’m finding it both wonderful but bloody confusing too.

            I’m working my way through the b̶o̶o̶k̶ essay on Clancy on IPCE – it’s very good, though it may take me a little while to finish!

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    2. Thanks for this link, it is proving very interesting, even though I cannot access articles referenced, and many of the pages linked to have disappeared, unfortunately. None the less, excellent stuff, detailing a lot of what I find objectionable in Clancy, and providing new information.

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      1. Thank you for reading and your supportive words, Bjmuirhead. I think IPCE did a good job of dividing my lengthy essay into sections for easier stopping points. I regret that so many of the links are no longer available, which is something I need to fix. Now that Newgon is currently down, I would like to find other places – IPCE and elsewhere – to put the many essays I penned for it, and to update them when prudent, improve the formatting, fix/account for any broken links, etc.

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  3. Two things:
    You mention the ‘CSA industry’ without much explanation or documentation, and as if a CSA industry with selfish or devious intentions is a certainty. I don’t know if you’ve already done a blog post on the subject, but I haven’t read an exposé of the conniving of a CSA industry (though I haven’t searched for one).

    Regarding the second thing, I’ll state that I’m not a psychologist (I assume most people aren’t), but I find her logic, described in what you quoted, odd. The part about how the victims should be remembering it as more traumatic. If the victims had troubles with feeling complicit, then I think it makes sense that that would make the victims remember the abuse as less bad, since it might be difficult for them to blame it on the abuser’s acts.

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    1. >”You mention the ‘CSA industry’ without much explanation or documentation”

      True, Clancy doesn’t use the words “Child Sex Abuse industry” in her book – but the third chapter – “The politics of Sexual Abuse” – does identify how certain faulty paradigms and narratives have become entrenched in the ways of thinking of a variety of professions and interested parties. I honestly don’t think that the ‘CSA industry’s’ response to Clancy’s ideas were anything other than sincere, I don’t think that the psychologists, therapists, authors etc were/are conniving or scheming in their advocacy of the Trauma Myth.

      However sincerity is not the same thing as ‘being right’, nor does sincerity replace being vigilant, questioning, open to new evidence and being ready to readjust one’s ideas in the light of that evidence.

      >”I don’t know if you’ve already done a blog post on the subject”

      No, I haven’t. It’s not a subject that particularly interests me.

      >”Regarding the second thing, I’ll state that I’m not a psychologist (I assume most people aren’t), but I find her logic, described in what you quoted, odd. The part about how the victims should be remembering it as more traumatic. If the victims had troubles with feeling complicit, then I think it makes sense that that would make the victims remember the abuse as less bad, since it might be difficult for them to blame it on the abuser’s acts.”

      That’s a good point SierraWhiskey.

      Clancy says that the recontextualisation involves a 3 elements – feelings of having been betrayed, shame and self-blame. The last two, and especially the last, are a result of feeling that they were complicit in their own ‘abuse’ – anything which makes them see themselves as less complicit in the intimacy is going to reduce these painful feelings of shame and self-blame, therefore there is a psychological benefit to misremembering the intimacy as having been more coercive than it actually was.

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      1. >”… anything which makes them see themselves as less complicit in the intimacy is going to reduce these painful feelings of shame and self-blame…”

        I don’t know, and I’m not disagreeing. Feelings of guilt can easily be sustained, even though it isn’t helping improve your mental health.

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    2. Ofshe and Watters 1994 in a book titled “making monsters: recovered memory, psychotherapy, and sexual hysteria.” Shows sessions of hypnosis, guided imagery, regression of age therapy, and dream work, which all constitute to aiding the child who had been sexually abused, even though after therapy most of the CSA correlate effects often appear right after therapy and becoming gradually and progressively more pathological, aside from minor effects like anxiety, self esteem issues, and pretty much other minor effects. There are other studies and books that talk about this subject and field.

      Now I am not a psychologist myself, I only completed my one course for it in college, but this raised an eyebrow for me, and sadly I don’t know how to disagree or agree with it.

      Nucklear

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  4. Finally, a post that I like really.

    Well, psychology and psychiatry, and the whole industry of CSA is a CULT, if you read “Dianetics” by Ron Hubbard, is all the same, it’s all based on traumas (the engrams, that work the same), and hatred of anything other than “sex between adults to have children”. In Dianetics-2 puts the sexual pervert is the worst “aberrated being” thing that exists and that” traumatized “to all humanity. Since I have read that book I don’t like that cult, it is serious, it is an all scam masquerading as science like psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, sexology and everything else, just take your money and deceive them with false promises.

    “The sexual pervert (and by this term Dianetics, to be brief, includes any and all forms of deviation in dynamic two such as homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual sadism, etc., and all down the catalog of Ellis and Krafft-Ebing) is actually quite ill physically.”

    You see? It is exactly like the psychology of the 50s.

    I think I was wrong, pedophilia is not so bad after all, and that not all sexuality with children (prepubertal) is bad, I did not see that pedophiles were better or worse than other people, also do not think that pedophilia it is a condition or disease, although there pedophilia created by harmful traces, but pedophilia is not a condition in itself.

    The disease is going to cults like Scientology or psychology that fuck your mind to handle it and believing in what they want to you believe.

    I do believe that the teleiophilia is a harmful trace, and is evil like pornography, however, has made me much pain and suffering, I have lived this, ok? no lie, not you if you like, but I hate my attraction to adult and pornography and who will help me? a psychologist? a psychiatrist? a therapist? a religious minister? seriously, fuck them all, fuck them, period.

    And what you said before that things were “crimes” does not change anything, some are still crimes, legal crimes in any case, in that case pedophilia would just other legalized serious crime, but it’s true these idiots change when it suits them, then will all praises pedophilia “as we could see wrong pedophilia, if it is love!”, that gang of wankers.

    But again, I did not have sexuality when I was a prepuberal child, and I have been declared perpetual enemy of the pedophile community (and I do not give a damn), and still I’m looking sense at this strange attraction to “children”, I’m more of adolescents, or young, or how to call it, but with 12 years are not children, ok? so you know, and do not speak about to suck penises of 6 years old, that shit pisses some people, it’s a tip, maybe if pedos were more “soft”, people not hate all of you so much.

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    1. >“I think I was wrong, pedophilia is not so bad after all, and that not all sexuality with children (prepubertal) is bad”

      I’m pleased that you’re open-minded and that you let your ideas evolve TNSO – we’re all on a journey of discovery on the issues that surround child-sexuality and paedophilia since so little research is done, and discussion, debate and evidence is suppressed.

      >“But again, I did not have sexuality when I was a prepuberal child”

      Well, in a sense, neither did I. when I was a child I liked the feelings I got from my genitals and I found the little girls beautiful – but never really put them together. But if we shelter children so completely from sexual or sensual pleasure (as we do in our society) we shouldn’t be surprised when children grow up ignorant and mentally ill-equiped for appreciating sex and sensuality.

      I’m sure that if at the age of 6 some beautiful woman, whom I liked and trusted, had introduced me to the pleasures of intimacy I’d have been a more sexual child than I was. Likewise a child who’s never tasted icecream can not know whether they like icecream or not.

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      1. “Likewise a child who’s never tasted icecream can not know whether they like icecream or not.”

        Exactly! People don’t understand how ignorance and neurology work exactly when implying their anecdotal experiences. People who never been exposed to X won’t know what X is, so it won’t cross their minds as much or at all. but exposed to Y they will find it particularly interesting because it is the only thing they see and know about. I like to term or coin this as the “X null and Y exists” argument! A very articulate and real life example of this is this, if I was raised in a life with a limited amount of choices and particular things exposed to me, exactly like modern day westernized children, I will only think of those particular things because I didn’t developed neurons or exactly pathways in my brain for the particularly new things that has never been introduced to me, because I have no recollection or insight of it at all, correct? People can’t understand this simple logic, which makes me chuckle and depressed to see the regression of basic logic.

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  5. I agree with placing this book inside a list of books worth reading. I was trained as a Family Therapist in Sydney, Australia and it is important to understand therapists live and work inside subcultures that hold shifting beliefs. Currently, in order to work in this area one is obliged to follow an ideological position that sees all sexual contacts across generations as morally wrong and harmful. Also, if the therapist acknowledges they include a sexuality that includes minor attraction, even if that be a part of their sexual profile, then they will be viewed as unfit to work as a therapist.

    This pattern inside the world of therapy repeats itself inside the world of academic research as well, at least it does now.

    How long this state of affairs will remain is hard to predict, however, it does show the need for a reader to consider different texts to consider when forming a view on sexuality involving the young and older people.

    The future is an open one, we could find with global issues growing in their sense of urgency a type of distraction from punitive and rigid views will unfold.

    Just as easily those same global pressures could inflame fears to ratchet up the rhetoric against pedophilia and further delay child emancipation that for now has stalled. Things could go both ways.

    Aside from the issue of social and cultural shifts is the value in doing all one can for those – young and old – whose life is shaped by sexual experiences that society labels as abuse. I find blog posts like this one positive for this reason.

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    1. Thanks for that comment, peterhoo – yes, one gets the impression with Clancy that she’s desperately clinging to the vocabulary and concepts of the CSA industry – but what I find exciting about her work is that despite this, she manages to subvert their bullshit and really does pretty much 90% of the spade-work for a pro-choice stance on child-sexuality. It’s rewarding too to read Clancy as it kind of confirms that critical thinking in the reader can release riches from a text which the author herself wanted to keep hidden.

      As to the future – well, I see paedophobia as a political and economic problem. My hope is with such movements as the Basic Income movements in Canada and Finland, and the increasing perception that we need to ditch the growth-addiction and move to steady-state economies, the structure of society will change and the nuclear family will weaken its grip on children and the role the community plays in children’s lives will increase – just those two factors would allow us to think of children as freer, more independent beings who can be trusted to make their own choices and even their own mistakes.

      I also think things are becoming slightly less hegemonic even in our screwed up WEIRD societies.

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      1. The Trauma Myth is one of many texts I cite in posts on my blog. My reading of what you offer suggests we travel in the same direction while being authors of our own ideas.

        One academic who I won’t name because I don’t have his permission to cite his views, believes Clancy deliberately offered access of the reader to the raw data and included the text that is consistent with the CSA ideology in order to get her ideas out into the public.

        A second view comes from a reviewer of her book who sees her more negatively. He argues Clancy was looking to gain an academic position at a prestigious University and spent most of her time slanting her text to flatter one of that university academics. This view of her is clearly less flattering.

        I am interested in your view the family and its return to dominance in society’s narrative about itself will shift and thus allow for a more open discussion of both the minor attracted person and allow children increased freedom. A number of people argue this point. It is unfortunate an aspect of culture which claims it is there to enhance the welfare of the child is in fact keeping children in a kind of prison.

        I view the new prominence of the modern family is not merely the return to earlier notions of family – that modern perspectives of family include more inclusion with blended families and allowing gays and lesbians to parent with official social recognition. Plus women have better authority and control over their bodies with medical technologies enhancing that shift. The rigidity of the ideologies of the CSA industry and that same narrowness shaping some feminists seems to run counter to the liberal ideas inside the notion of the modern family. I continue to hope that the rigidity will ultimately be cast aside.

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        1. >”One academic who I won’t name because I don’t have his permission to cite his views, believes Clancy deliberately offered access of the reader to the raw data and included the text that is consistent with the CSA ideology in order to get her ideas out into the public.”

          This is the impression I get of Clancy.

          She’s clearly no fool and had a sufficiently questioning and subversive mind to notice something that surely multitudes of entrenched ‘experts’ will have encountered but dismissed (the non-traumatic accounts of the actual ‘abuse’ as presented by victims of consensual ‘CSA’). I’d be surprised that the thought didn’t occur to her at some point that maybe the real problem wasn’t the enjoyable, or at worst ‘confusing’ intimacy, but the lacerating stigma society would go on to heap onto children who’d been in such relationships.

          But a book along these lines would just not have been published and, as it is, with a (let us assume) toned-down and bowdlerized version she suffered such ostracism and opprobrium that she had to move countries.

          I may give the book another reading: a little brain worm is nagging at me as I type: are her defenses of the orthodoxy position on child-adult intimacy a little insincere and unconvincing in tone? I mean, for example, does the way she quotes Carol Tavris have something of the feel of an author writing something that has to be said and saying it as quickly and with the least personal involvement as possible? A duty done..?

          >”I view the new prominence of the modern family is not merely the return to earlier notions of family”

          I see there being a ‘push-me-pull-you’ in children’s lives between the community and the family – the former fosters independence and liberty, and a wide, heterogeneous network of relationships, it reduces the enormous sense of responsibility and ownership parents have over their children.

          The family imprisons children in a structure that defines children by their relationship with their parents and which can only function if those children are considered as innocent – the alternative being having manifestly sexual offspring in a context where any sexual expression can only be directed towards other family members – I suspect that one of the key triggers for a young adult leaving home is when they become actively sexual – generally the family is put under stress by visible sexuality of offspring – that’s why adolescent sexuality is something taken out of the family orbit, and the younger they are the more it disrupts the structure of the family.

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  6. I have read many books, but not the one of Clancy. Some good ones:
    – Teen 2.0, by Robert Epstein, on the adult competences of teenagers;
    – Harmful to Minors, by Judith Levine, with a positive view of youth sexuality;
    – Satan’s Silence, by Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedeker, on the satanic child abuse panic;
    – Making Monsters, by Richard Ofshe and Ethan Watters, on fake memories of sex abuse;
    – Sex Panic and the Punitive State, by Roger Lancaster, on the US repressive drive based on sex panic.

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    1. I have to confess to reading only one on your list – the Judith Levine, which I found excellent. I’ve got the Lancaster waiting to be read on my shelves – from my leafing through it it looks interesting and well-written. I really recommend reading the Clancy – despite all my gripes and caveats – if you take her findings to their logical conclusions she really nails the role of social stigma and how it harms children, and she presents an idea of the typical paedophile-child relationship that is pretty close to the consensual ideal we hold.

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      1. In so many ways you are correct in what you say about Clancy’s book, but you also are much more generous than I am inclined to be. My own research has led me to take an entirely different view on”paedophilia” (in fact I no longer believe such a thing exists; as a social construct its sole purpose is to promote fear, especially now), but more importantly, Clancy’s work exhibits such a strong lack of intellectual integrity that it is barely acceptable. Yes, she does prove exactly what you say, but then displays her willingness to be stupid in a manner which is in no way interesting, and which fails her own sated purposes of understanding. Grrr.At the same time, there are many people who should read it, if only they have the ability to see beyond Clancy’s failures.

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        1. >”but you also are much more generous than I am inclined to be.”

          I’m just a big softie.

          >”in fact I no longer believe such a thing exists;”

          I’ve read other people who say this and find this idea quite intriguing as it throws up the question of those societies which don’t define a person, or a set of behaviours or desires, as ‘paedophilic’. Am I right in saying Literature and Art up to and well into the Romantic period seemed blind to the concept of ‘paedophilia’? Does that mean that there were no adults who found children sexually attractive in those societies? or that it was a distinction that didn’t matter sufficiently for it to be conceptualised? It’s hard to imagine a society where adults having sex with children just doesn’t matter enough, as a subset of sexual behaviour, for it not even to be conceptualised. And then again so much would depend on the ideas of childhood those societies held…

          Considering such questions feels like entering a fascinating but infinite hall of mirrors…

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          1. I used to be a big softie… now I am a bit of a bastard, I suspect.

            As for paedophilia. My view, after some research, and with the caveat that I am continuing to research this, is something like this:

            There is no specific human sexuality. The old Freudian idea of “polymorphous perversity” as applied to children (if we ignore the moral assumption in the term) seem to me to be correct in the sense that humans simple are sexual. The rest is all morality/culture/stories about how we should be according to some ideal.
            When we look at the concept of “sex” we invariably apply Western heteronormative criteria, against which anything other than male and female adults engaging in penetrative sex is regarded as “abnormal”. A more realistic concept of sex and sexual desire, however, has been provided by Alan Goldman, (in his essay “Plain Sex”) and focuses on the desire to touch some specific other person and enjoy that touch. This criteria expands the notion of sex to include many activities which are not usually thought to be sex—activities which may be regarded as “sexual”, or which may not be so regarded.

            If we take Goldman’s idea and apply it to adult-child relations, much of what occurs between adults and children is sex(ual), and is technically “paedophilia”, including relations between parents and children, which is, of course, the area in which most “child molesting”/”paedophilia occurs. (This feeds into your notions about contemporary family structure.)

            What this entails is that the notion of “paedophilia” as a distinct form of sexuality is nonsense, and a preference for children is no more morally reprehensible than a preference for a particular body shape or size. In as much as the majority of adult-child relationships are *not* instances of rape or violent, this make such a preference quite normative in terms of humanity, but not in terms of specific cultures and moral views. Hence, I maintain that “paedophilia” does not exist in any sensible manner.

            Needless to say, rape and bashing, and similar behaviours, are excluded from any consideration of adult-child sex(uality), just as they are in reference to adult-adult sexuality. Other research I have read (I have the reference if you want it, or I can send my copy of the relevant paper) suggests that some violence and general naughtiness is a normative aspect of child-child sexuality, but I have no view on this at the moment, and it is likely that this refers only to Western cultures, as I have read no such suggestion in respect of other cultures where child-child and adult-child sex(uality) is normal.

            Moreover, for the idea of “paedophilia” to make sense in the fashion which is current, children need to be asexual. However, not only are they not asexual, but their sex organs (including the skin generally) are functionally the same as adult’s sex organs, i.e., boys have erections, girl’s vagina’s lubricate, both are capable of orgasms, and so on. (What they are not capable of is procreation.) What this entails is that children are capable of what is called “fell genital sex” with each other from a very young age, and have been known to “do it”, especially in cultures without our particular morality. (Or so the research I have been reading claims.)

            If all this is true, and I believe it is, then the only sense we can make of the idea of “paedophilia” is to declare that it is nonsense.

            As I’ve said elsewhere (on my own blog), I have until recently believed that all adult-child sex was morally reprehensible in the extreme. I used to believe all of the nonsense that the CSA industry perpetrates. It was only as a result of researching children in art, and the claims made about the work of artists such as Henson, Sturges and Mann that I began to research “paedophilia” and discovered, firstly, that nearly everything I had believed was wrong, and secondly, that the idea of “paedophilia” make no sense. Or, if the idea does make sense, then we all are “paedophiles” whether or not we are in fact sexually attracted to children (in at least the sense that James Kincaid intended when he talked about “theoretical paedophilia”).

            Ok, I think I have made this post more than long enough, but I hope it explains what I mean at least. (I am writing a paper on children’s sexual desires and their relation to adult sexual desires at the moment—must work out where to send it for publication—so these are some of the ideas I am working with.

            Hope this makes sense… I often get lost when not writing on paper, and make some nonsense of my own.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. No such thing as polymorphous sexuality, we are not “plain sexual”, sex is one of the largest nests of perversion that exist, almost all sex is bad, for example the attraction to adults is wrong and evil, it comes from a trace harmful, when our ancestors evolved from apes to humans. Along with pornography, a vile creation for people become addicted like a drug, and even degrade neuronal tissues, I had to do a lot of self-therapy to escape it, and whenever increased my level I feel better. Of course it is normal for adultophiles and porn addicts, believes that are doing well, like child molesters justify his actions with his appetite, but their actions and appetites is still remain ill.

              Pedophilia? Of course it exists, it is simply a medicine, that is, the brain does it to combat attraction to adults, such as an antibody, the problem is when it is not properly treated with a physician (like all medicines) and if the attraction to adults is not purge.. so we have hybrids with the worst of everything.

              In short, the attraction to adults is bad, it is a kind of perverse love (if there is love, I doubt it), causes all kinds of mental and physical diseases, destroys the soul (if you are a believer), causes murders of children, jealousy, envy, sexual problems, should be classified as a mental illness, etc. the list is almost endless, is the worst of all diseases.

              On the issue of pedophilia, I have often wondered whether pedophilia is simply whether a medicine or something else, and if the real problem of humanity is the attraction to adults that makes us suffer like anything, no matter sexology or psychotherapy as they are fraud and pseudoscience.

              The truth, the fucking truth is I hate adultophilia, I have suffered many years, is the equivalent to child sexual abuse, I’m just like an abused person, every time I see a naked woman is as if they see a child naked, every sexual act between adults is a “child sexual abuse” and I swear I will never recover my trauma, that’s the word, a trauma is what I have, all thanks to the adultophilia.

              I liken it to the anti-CSA and mainstream psychology in some ways, just change child per adult: the trauma is lifelong and irreparable, sex with adults is always bad, the attraction for adults is a disease, etc.

              I never should end like a trauma for life, the adultophilia destroys lives, at least mine and millions of children, is worth preserving that?

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  7. For me Susan Clancy loses all credibility by selecting a sample at the outset that is bound to yield biased, negative, pro-CSA answers. Previous research of hers resulted in a book five years earlier also: Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens. There is nothing like a sensational title to keep those silver talents coming in.

    I will quote Vern L Bullough who provided the Introduction to Edward Brongersma’s book Loving Boys: “Certainly those of us who deal with paedophilia in therapeutic situations will be well served in reading it if only because to do so will make us more dispassionate counsellors and teachers, better able to serve those with whom we come into contact.”

    Can one claim that Clancy’s book will make therapists more dispassionate counsellors and teachers? In my view no, because her research and findings suppress the truth.

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    1. Well, I think that the wonderful (!?) thing about Clancy’s research is that despite the bias of her sampling and the bias in her thinking she was still forced by her results to have to reconsider the Trauma Myth – and to come to conclusions which, if taken an extra step, and in receipt of the attention of Occam’s razor, really supports and reinforces the pro-choice paedophile philosophy.

      I’m sure that she’d vigorously deny this and I’d be interested to read a response to my blog from a Virped. But the Truth, despite Clancy’s efforts to suppress it (whether consciously or not) bubbles under throughout the Trauma Myth and is there for the taking.

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