Intergenerational sexualities: a case study on the colonization of late modern sexual subjects and researcher agendas

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Hunter (1990) states, "just because some people wouldn't agree that it is abusive doesn't mean that it isn't ... {} ....even if the child enjoyed all aspects of the relationship physically and emotionally, abuse still took place' (pp. 4, 62). Other contributors add that adult-child sexual interaction can be defined as abusive, regardless of the intent of the perpetrator or the opinions of the victim (Lew & Bass, 1990). [...]

The empirical component of my research involved establishing a dialogue with an Internet-based group that seeks to work for a better understanding of child and intergenerational sexualities. Unbeknownst to me, this group had been infiltrated by a Dutch-based conservative group led by Ireen Van Engelen. It was this group that likely passed on information about my research to a freelance tabloid journalist in Scotland, Marcello Mega. Mega then published articles in The Scottish Daily Mail and the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES).

The content and tone of the articles sought to paint me as a pedophile and suggested that the University of Glasgow should not be supporting such research. This was followed up by further "revelations" by Mega a year later, after sensitive interview transcripts had been stolen from my office and passed on to him. [...] Throughout this period, I was also subjected to harassment from journalists, offensive phone-calls and e-mails, two lengthy university senate investigations into my work; having to explain my research officers from the Serious Crime Squad; and experiencing the News of the World taking a photo of me inside my house when my father was close to death.

After the completion of the Ph.D., I determined to correct some of the deliberate misinformation that had circulated regarding my research. Throughout this period, the media (both tabloid and broadsheet) presented the research as potentially dangerous. For example, Andrew Durham, an author on MSA (see Durham, 2003) was quoted in the THES, saying Dr. Yuill's thesis would "play into the hands of abusers," and "victims of abuse sometimes report positive experiences, but this was often a result of manipulation by their abuser or a coping mechanism. [...] Finally, in the Glasgow Herald, Rachel O'Connell, director of the cyberspace research unit at the University of Central Lancashire, went further, in stating that such research showed the need for a UK-wide ethics board, suggesting in Orwellian fashion that such a body would scrutinize any future research on what she deemed "sensitive subjects."

As a postscript to these events, during a peer-review process, undertaken from January through April 2005 by Sociological Research Online in an article I submitted, one of the peer reviewers made his/her political opposition clear regarding such research, and said that academics such as [Chris] Harrison and O'Connell were quite justified in criticizing, and even calling for the suppression of, a research study they had not even read!

source: Article 'Intergenerational Sexualities: A Case Study on the Colonization of Late Modern Sexual Subjects and Researcher Agendas' by Richard Yuill; From the book 'Censoring Sex Research - The Debate over Male Intergenerational Relations' edited by Thomas K. Hubbard & Beert Verstraete; Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA; 2013