Sexual Abuse of Males: The SAM Model of Theory and Practice

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Drawing on post-structuralism, 2 our aim is to formulate a critique of dichotomous frameworks that can restrict concern to either personal effects or social problem. As such, it is necessary to examine how experiences and effects of child sexual abuse are actively produced, rather than simply represented, in mainstream, self-help and feminist texts on the subject. Our objective is to scrutinise the assumed experience of child sexual abuse in order that the normative injunctions concealed within are made visible.

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We draw on research regarding therapeutic and everyday stories of child sexual abuse and women's sexuality 4 and research regarding women in high security hospitals and child sexual abuse. We, thus, provide an alternative reading of psychological, self-help and feminist theories of child sexual abuse and its effects, and a critique of the implementation of institutional, academic and everyday discourses on women and sexual abuse.

We develop our critique to explore the relationship between discourses around child sexual abuse and the regulation, and production, of normative femininity. We interrogate the meanings of survival and problematise ontological narratives of survivorship and womanhood. Finally, we provide a brief account of a socially situated therapy framework. Consequently, literature on relational and symbolic aspects of sexuality for abused women is extremely rare.

Hence, although psychotherapy has been found to increase assertiveness among women survivors, 20 it has also been found to increase undermining behaviour, 21 resentment and physical abuse by male partners. Although we do not deny that child sexual abuse can. What is important and a point of criticism is that the.

Radical feminist theories of child sexual abuse, which centralise patriarchy as the defining construct in abuse, are also immersed in gendered dominance-submission binaries. Child sexual abuse, from such perspectives, is understood as an extreme expression of normative heterosexual relations, predicated on male aggression and female passivity.

Our aim, here, is to make a discursive intervention into representations of women's subjectivities in such therapeutic encounters. When power is regarded as unitary sovereign power patriarchy , we fail to attend to the subtle ways in which power is embedded within social practices and social discourses.

The Sexual Abuse of Boys in Organized Male Sports - Mike Hartill,

This then obscures the ways in which knowledge, as a form of disciplinary power, constitutes and produces particular versions of subjectivities as women, as victims, survivors and so on. Yet, such cultural constructions of feminised victims also serve as reminders that femininity, per se, equates with powerlessness. Hence, difference is an unstable property that can only be read through the lens of abuse. Thus, those personality characteristics which seemingly differentiate abused women from non-abused women are meaningless, unless such identifications have already occurred.

Because the negative effects of child sexual abuse can be extreme: sometimes women display behaviour that is deemed to pose such a danger, either to themselves or the general public, that they may be excluded from community-based care. This serves as the justification for incarceration and exclusion from society.

As such, visible excess becomes the focus of concern and mandatory containment replaces treatment as the prime intervention. Women in psychiatric inpatient care are at increased risk of sexual and physical abuse from other clients and members of staff.

Topic outline

Women are then confronted with the same issues regarding abuse and powerlessness which may have contributed to their distress in the first place. These women, reproduced as mad, through systems that individualise inappropriate practice through narratives of psychopathology are, thus, propelled away from society and further into the belly of the psychiatric beast. They may then find themselves contained within high security mental hospitals or special hospitals as they are euphemistically called.

Madness, badness, and dangerousness become internal properties of such women, rather than being understood as social practices produced in present, as well as past, abusive relationships. From these perspectives, then, so-called abnormal childhood experiences can be understood to be instrumental in the development of mental disorders and abnormal personalities. Specifically, child sexual abuse can be used to explain abnormal dissociative states associated with particular psychiatric disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD , multiple personality disorder MPD and borderline personality disorder BPD.

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With the exception of PTSD, which was heavily associated with post-war trauma, these psychiatric classifications are predominantly female disorders over 90 per cent. Thus, theories of mental disorder both rely on and reproduce normative understandings of sex and gender. All these factors — which impact on individuals and their means of survival —have often been neglected by psychology, or are seen to play a cursory role in mental health.

Additionally, not only does a too ready focus on past misfortune obscure the contributory effects of present abuse, it also invokes the need for 'expert' intervention. Hence, the cataloguing of psychological and psychiatric symptomatologies transfers political concerns over sexual abuse and violence into the realm of authoritative and often therapeutic recuperative discourses. By assuming an individual is showing 'signs' of child sexual abuse, the 'inside' or 'pre-discursive' personal self is preserved, according her a self-evident status as 'the abused'.

Outside of this, women who do not show these signs can remain in the category of 'non-abused', and hence serve to represent the epitome of naturalised femininity. Representing survivors as 'other' renders opaque the culturally salient ways of understanding all forms of sexual development wherein 'much of the complexity of the [sexual] mind - with its imaginative, symbolic capacities - is rendered away in a one-dimensional tale of feminine innocence lost and regained'. This is about disrupting absolute versions of self and experience, which are recalled through our present circumstances as well as through our understandings of the past.

The foundationalising of femininity is managed through the reiteration of certain norms, where sex and 'pathology' resulting from the abuse can be posited in naturalised terms. The 'construction' of women, sexuality and pathology through the citation of childhood sexual abuse is not attained at the level of the 'subject' a personification but:. The consequences of which position women survivors as constructed through their damage and experience as an abused child and leave other women as naturally feminine, because they have been left to develop normally.

The production of women who have experienced childhood sexual abuse as differently constructed serves to shore up natural categories of gender by fixing the limits of essentialised normality. For example, in tales of women survivors of child sexual abuse being re-victimised in adulthood, men's sexual agency is often absent, yet the notion that women survivors unconsciously 'choose' to be re-abused is common.

Women may then be penalised for the reluctance to associate with men, yet be pathologised when they appear to do so too readily. Thus whilst abuse constructs particular negative versions of identity, psychological theorising is implicated in the reproduction and maintenance of individual and internalised narratives of pathology. More than this it sets up predetermined templates of 'recovery', of normative heterosexuality, and thereby prefigures what a 'cured' woman may look like.

As such, whilst such narratives are felt to be personal, they share common threads. In radical feminist discourse, the cultural constraints operating to define femininity and child sexual abuse are presented in terms of the role of heterosexuality and the powerless position of women and children's sexualities. According to many feminist discourses, child sexual abuse is understood as a tool of patriarchy in the service of men, in that the rape of some women and chidlren keeps all women and children feaful.

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse: Becoming Gender-Sensitive and Trauma-Informed

Power, then, becomes something that operates ' over' women guided by the structural machinations of patriarchy. However, according to Foucault, power operates in relation to amongst other operations knowledge, and it does not 'reside' in one unifying and unidirectional structure but exists in many forms of social relationships and networks of knowledge that produce a particular and constraining version of reality. Sociology of Sport Journal - Courtois, C. Spiegel , vii - x.

New York : Brunner-Routledge. David, P. Cross-government working with local partners to achieve better outcomes for children and young people. Donegan, L. Olympic coach jailed for rapes , The Guardian 11 , September Donnelly, A.

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Oates , eds. Classic papers in child abuse. Donnelly, P. Child labour, sport labour. In Sport and gender in Canada, ed. Downes, S. Sport and sexual abuse. Ellerstein, N. Sexual abuse of boys. American Journal of Diseases of Children - Google Scholar Medline. Elliott, M.

Book Review

Female sexual abuse of children: The ultimate taboo. Brown , and J. Child sexual abuse prevention: What offenders tell us. Etherington, K. Adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Brighton : Pavilion Publishing. London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Finkelhor, D. Response to Bauserman.

In Male intergenerational intimacy: Historical, socio-psychological and legal perspectives, ed. Sandfort , E. Brongersma , and A. London : Harrington Park Press. The international epidemiology of child sexual abuse. Child Abuse and Neglect 18 5 : - Why have child maltreatment and child victimization declined? Journal of Social Issues 62 4 : - Araji , I.