Onanism and child sexual abuse: a comparative study of two hypotheses

From Brongersma
Jump to: navigation, search

If the anti-onanism discourse converted autoeroticism into one of the most contemptible and destructive acts for the individual and the community, then that of CSA has converted every experience of erotic significance between a minor and an adult into one of the worst things that could happen to a child and one of the vilest acts that could be committed by an adult. The adult in these experiences became the universal symbol of evil and villainy, and the abuse victim was installed as the epitome of human suffering. The premise of universal trauma is the scientific expression of CSA dogma, which is promulgated in the tragic rhetoric of pain and devastation, and in which the minors involved are often equated with survivors of horrible experiences, such as concentration camps (Herman, 1992; Ullmann & Hilweg, 2000). After more than two centuries of preeminence, the masturbatory harm hypothesis was definitively abandoned in the middle of the twentieth century by social scientists who in its place introduced a condescending view in which autoeroticism became an innocuous and even positive experience in a person's development. It was concluded that harm could only come from socially induced stigma and not from the practice itself (Hare, 1962; Money, 1985b; Neuman, 1975). [...]

Jenkins (1998, 2003) has pointed out the existence of cycles throughout the twentieth century in which CSA generated successive waves of anxiety between periods of relative indifference and/or moderation. Other twentieth century authors have described child/adult sexual experiences as unimportant and as being made problematic only by societal reaction (Bender & Blau, 1937; Constantine, 1981; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953; Schultz, 1973; Ullerstam, 1964).

The current social hysteria began to take hold around 1970 and has continued and grown until the present, although there may be some signs that the CSA hypothesis is beginning to lose strength: There are cases of persons who develop normally in spite of having suffered sexual abuse. Because of that, we should adopt a perspective in accordance with this reality which would allow us to encourage survivors. Therefore, we must remember that we are all vulnerable to the "clinical fallacy"...and that our point of view is biased by our professional experience, which leads us to pay greater attention to those who do not get better than to those who do and recuperate. (Finkelhor, 1999, p. 206)

Nevertheless, as the above quotation suggests, most continue to be fixated on the CSA hypothesis of harm. These experiences almost invariably are considered to be intrinsically traumatic, and only can be dealt with properly by disregarding and suppressing any conflicting testimony from the minor, by assuming maximum harm, and by involving both law enforcement and professional intervention (Berliner & Conte, 1993, 1995; Browne, 1996; Finkelhor, 1984; Henry, 1997). Few social scientists pay any attention to the opposing non-harm hypothesis that might better explain any given incident, and the concept that negative social reaction might be the principal, if not sole, source of actual harm to the minor (Constantine, 1981; Goodyear-Smith, 1993; Kinsey et al., 1953; Schultz, 1973) is basically ignored by both academia and the media. The experience is defined as traumatic by nature and in terms of its near and long term effects, and unimportance is unimaginable, just as it was in years past with masturbation.

source: Article 'Onanism and Child Sexual Abuse: A Comparative Study of Two Hypotheses' by Agustín Malón; pastebin.com/f48eda7a8; Archives of Sexual Behavior; 2009