“the trauma myth” – part 2

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(part one be seen here)

The amazons book description states:

“Few would argue that the experience of sexual abuse is deeply traumatic for a child. But in this explosive new book, psychologist Susan Clancy reports on years of research and contends that it is not the abuse itself that causes trauma—but rather the narrative that is later imposed on the abuse experience. Clancy demonstrates that the most common feeling victims report is not fear or panic, but confusion. 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. The professional assumptions about the nature of childhood trauma can harm victims by reinforcing these feelings. Survivors are thus victimized not only by their abusers but also by the industry dedicated to helping them. Path-breaking and controversial, The Trauma Myth empowers survivors to tell their own stories, and radically reshapes our understanding of abuse and its aftermath.”

The problem with this “theory” is that it confuses a lack of immediate response of a victim with a lack of harm or trauma. When trauma is defined only as stereotypical upset that leads many people to believe there was no trauma.

Some of those who sexually abuse children may enjoy terrorising them but others enjoy misusing the trust of a child, or grooming them. If complying resulted in the transformation of a parent’s persistent verbal abuse into caring words the child craves, the abuser will have trained the child to have a positive association with the harm. This is additional harm, not a reduction of harm.
This view also leads to bystanders deciding not to intercede because the child doesn’t seem to have stereotypical trauma and isn’t obviously afraid of the abuser.

What the research Clancy examines should teach those who want to help children is that we all need to understand that responses meant to help victims and survivors of sexual abuse need to be sensitive to this contrast between harm/trauma and upset.
The way people who are trying to help directly impact a child’s life can have that child preferring the harm they don’t understand to a frightening unknown. A child who has been harmed by those who supposedly care the most about their well-being may have difficulty believing that others won’t be as bad or worse. This does not mean that the sexual abuse they experienced was not in itself harmful.

Unfortunately, many people will assume that victims of sexual abuse were fully willing participants if they are more afraid of the unknown than they are of sexual abuse and cling to a sexual abuser.

Our society as a whole has serious problems in viewing any sexual abuse or rape victim who accommodates a sexual abuser as a real victim. Too many people confuse accommodation with freely given consent. Too many people have trouble viewing those who didn’t accommodate sex criminals as being real victims. This is a bit like how our society seems to have a level of disbelief surrounding domestic abuse on the basis of “if they were being hurt then why don’t they leave?”

Unfortunately it is part of the character of an abuser to not only convince the world that they are not doing anything but also to convince the victim that they deserve it, the world will blame them, the alternative is worse, that they really do love and care for them, and other such lies to manipulate the victim. This can sort of be compared to stockholm syndrome – another idea which society has issues with.

I think the best way to think of all this is that not everyone will react the same to a situration, not everyone shows the effects of trauma in the same way, and some people will actually go out of their way to hide the effects that events have had on them. But I refuse to believe for one second that this theory of child sexual abuse holds any weight, I also think that this theory is actually damaging to society; creating an atmosphere and basis for sexual predators and paedophiles to be able to get away with and even justify their crimes.

“The trauma myth”

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In an interview on Salon.com, the author of the highly criticized “The Trauma Myth,” Susan Clancy was asked, “What do you mean by the “trauma myth”?”

The interview can be seen here

Clancy’s reply: “The title refers to the fact that although sexual abuse is usually portrayed by professionals and the media as a traumatic experience for the victims when it happens – meaning frightening, overwhelming, painful – it rarely is. Most victims do not understand they are being victimized, because they are too young to understand sex, the perpetrators are almost always people they know and trust, and violence or penetration rarely occurs.”

If this so-called mental health ‘professional’ feels that violence and penetration rarely occurs, she ought to update herself to the 20th and 21st centuries. She sounds like the people from the first half of the 20th century, who claimed that incest is rare.

Clancy says, “Most victims do not understand they are being victimized, because they are too young to understand sex, the perpetrators are almost always people they know and trust, and violence or penetration rarely occurs. “Confusion” is the most frequently reported word when victims are asked to describe what the experience was like. Confusion is a far cry from trauma.”

To say that violence or penetration rarely occurs is professionally negligent and outrageous, and I have news for Clancy; an adult with bad intentions placing their body or their hands up against, onto, into, or on top of a child is traumatizing emotionally, mentally, and physically. When it is a parent or trusted loved one –it is also a betrayal, and can betrayal not often be traumatic?

I know someone who as an infant had a kitchen knife thrust up her vigina when her mother tried to kill her by cutting her in half. Is this woman seriously say that would NOT be traumatic?

A child does not have to understand sex to KNIW when something is wrong. I didn’t not understand what was going on, but I KNEW something was not right. Being held down against your will and having items and boody parts thrust against and inside you IS TRAUMATIC!

“Despite all of this media and research attention on sexual abuse for the last 30 years, I still don’t hear the answer to one question: What the…. is wrong with all of these men? Sexual abuse is not women; it’s men. Every once in a while a woman will sexually abuse,…”

This woman keeps getting more ignorant with every comment she makes. “Every once in a while?” Did it ever occur to this so-called mental health “professional” that because there is so much denial within society, and by the victims themselves, and so much deep-seated shame –that most victims of female sexual offenders will never speak about it? Does Clancy not realize that mother/daughter, sister/sister, grandmother/granddaughter incest is not rare but is rarely spoken of by society and by the victims?
Juat because something is not spoken about does NOT meant that it does not happen.

There are over 60 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America alone. Millions of them have been raped and sodomized, terrorized with objects inserted in their bodies, and forced into oral sex. In addition, 95% of victims never tell anyone, so how the hell can she claim that rape, oral rape, sodomy, violent penetration by men, and sexual abuse by a woman is rare?

“….people exposed to horrifying events report that they often remember them all too well. Ask any child exposed to the recent earthquake in Haiti if they “repressed it.” None will. True trauma will always be remembered. “

There are HUGE differences between what happened in Haiti, and victims of incest who repress their experience: If any child exposed to the earthquake were to be told by their family members that nothing happened to them, and if everyone in their family denied that any earthquake ever took place and acted as if nothing had ever happened while the earthquake was occurring,……and if all records and documentation of the earthquake were sealed, and if no one ever spoke of the earthquake again, I can guarantee you that the child would repress all of the trauma that they experienced, and even that the quake ever happened.
Haiti was an awful thing, and still is a tragic traumatic event. But unlike abuse people are not going to just pretend it did not happen, making people (esspecially children) question their own memories.

“The idea of repression ultimately hurts victims. It reinforces the notion that sexual abuse is and should be a traumatic experience when it happens – something done against the will of the victims.”

I don’t even know what to say to this… so Ms Clancy; pedophiles and sex offenders have done NOTHING WRONG??? So children don’t resist or fight back? So child abuse survivors do not suffer from PTSD? So child abuse does not cause dissociative identity disorder? So the psyche fragmenting is perfectly natural and healthy?
Ms Clancy what you are doing is helping to perpetuate an atmosphere where those who want to abuse children, will molest them and say, ‘this won’t hurt you’ or `she won’t resist, because she likes it.’ Those who will rape children can say, `no one will believe you”. YOU are HELPING the abusers

No child wants to be raped or penetrated with objects. Their body might respond favorably to on-going molestation, but this is a mere biologicval responce and NOT a sign that the actions were wanted. Most children are subtly groomed, so their so-called “free will” to be abused is not their will at all, but a mental conditioning to be abused.

Part 2 can be seen here

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