The Trauma Myth: The Truth about the Sexual Abuse of Children--And Its Aftermath
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.
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Excellent book that brings one the greatest myths of our time to light. While already refuted as a scientific theory, the idea that CSA is harmful in itself is widely popular among people in general. Clancy does a excellent job in spreading this knowledge outside of pure academics and this book should be read by everyone.
Clancy's theory and book makes one very large error. She claims that child abuse is rarely traumatic when it happens. Yet, this is not true. The betrayal of the child, using the child inappropriately for the adult's benefit, is incredibly traumatic. She claims the child is "confused" and not traumatized. She states that sexual abuse rarely physically or psychologically damages a child. Yet almost all of the research in the field of child abuse contradicts this.
A person may feel pleasure when given a free hit of heroin. And then another. And so on. Then they are hooked. Yet the first hit damaged them and repeated hits damage them more. A child may not be able to interpret the damage done to them when they are abused because they have no language for this kind of betrayal, yet they are horribly damaged.
She claims that recovered memory doesn't exist. Yet, many studies show that not only does it exist, but that it is often accurate. There are legal cases that back this up, including the recent Paul Shanley case decided in Massachusetts.
One of the most damaging things about this book is that it ends up blaming those that help the victims of these crimes. According to her, the level of traumatization of the abused person is influenced by those to whom they discuss the crimes of abuse to, like a therapist. Actually, the act of discussing these sexual abuse crimes is the beginning of the healing from them.
The most damaging thing about this book is that it can easily be misinterpreted to mean that child abuse is never traumatic. The next step is to state that there is nothing wrong with it (though Clancy does not go this far). She does state that children often enjoy sexual abuse. This is another dangerous statement to make, one that an abuser can use to justify their actions.
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The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children--and Its Aftermath
Susan A. Clancy
No preview available - 2011