The Trauma Myth: The Truth about the Sexual Abuse of Children--And Its Aftermath

Susan A. Clancy, Author Basic Books $25 (236p) ISBN 978-0-465-01688-4
As a graduate student at Harvard, Clancy (Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens) was warned by a respected psychiatrist not to challenge the ""dominant theoretical framework"" regarding sexual abuse, which ""fosters and supports the notion that sexual abuse involves fear, force, and coercion"" (she's even been accused by peers of hurting victims with her research). But in consequent research on the traumatic effects of sexual abuse, spanning 10 years, Clancy and colleagues found that victims seldom reported ""fear, shock, force, or violence at the time the abuse occurred."" Rather, trauma arises in the act's aftermath, when victims who were betrayed by trusted authority figures (90 percent of children victims know their abuser) blame themselves for failing to resist effectively-failing to register the ""fear"" or ""violence"" in the moment, which always involves more complex factors and feelings than the popular framework accounts for. The shocking body of statistics on sexual abuse-involving one in five women and one in 10 men, at an average victim age of 10 years-and growing attention to PTSD could garner broad interest for this nuanced psychological study.
Reviewed on: 01/04/2010
Release date: 01/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 276 pages - 978-1-4587-7224-4
Paperback - 236 pages - 978-0-465-02211-3
Ebook - 257 pages - 978-0-465-02088-1
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