ERIC Number: ED346408
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug
The Fallacy of Victimization in the Treatment of Sexual Abuse.
Seligson, Anne Glinert
Object relations theory offers the most viable explanation of the dynamics of sexually abused individuals by allowing for the conceptualization of an individual, whose earlier object relations left him barren, lonely, or neglected, as having a predisposition or vulnerability to abuse. Children with adequate nurturing experiences react negatively when confronted with sexual exploitation. Children suffering early deprivtion may respond to the sexual situation as a means of satisfying needs other than erotic ones through the sexual channel. In examining how molestation affects development, it appears that children having some control over the adult in the sexual activity develop a precocious sexuality, an exaggerated sense of their own sexual power, and a corresponding lack of esteem for adults. Treatment of abuse victims tends to involve blaming the perpetrator and clearing the child of culpability, strategies that may leave the child with a sense of loss of mastery. Emphasis on the erotic exploitation of the individual is inadequate and belies the complexity of the situation. If the focus is enlarged from the sexual aspect to the inclusion of the child's unfulfilled needs and abandonments, a more complete picture is obtained. To formulate treatment in terms of the child's disappointment and betrayal rather than in terms of the culpability of the perpetrator makes the child the star. (NB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (100th, Washington, DC, August 14-18, 1992).