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Best Kept Secret - Sexual Abuse of Children

NCJ Number
F Rush
Date Published
238 pages
Written by a psychiatric social worker, this book examines the scope and causes of sexual abuse of children and strongly criticizes current society's condonation of the problem.
Historical patterns dating from before biblical times have been instrumental in sanctioning and perpetuating sex between children and adults. The Greek 'boy love,' the Victorian cult of the little girl, and international child prostitution are all practices which illustrate the pervasiveness of the problem in human history. Social modes, religious interpretations, and Freudian coverups which have perpetuated the problem have been fostered by a societal double standard which crosses all social, economic, and racial lines. In addition, unconscious elements buried deep in the male psyche have allowed sex between adult males and juvenile females to escape the disapproval it deserves. Both lay and professional works emphasize the possible emotional consequences of child/adult sex, including severe depression, psychosis, and suicide. Numerous examples, often told by the victims, illustrate these points. Individual chapters trace the historical origins of children abuse from Biblical through modern times; child marriage in India; myths, fairy tales, and films; and father-daughter relationships. Sex education and the child molester, present legislation, and child prostitution pornography are also discussed. Other chapters review the sexual abuse of boys, the question of child liberation, and possible reforms. Footnotes, chapter reference notes, an introduction by Susan Brownmiller, and an index are included. (Author abstract modified)


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