The belief that child sexual abuse is not only a potent cause of adult psychopathology but can be understood and treated within a post-traumatic stress disorder framework has spawned a minor industry in sexual abuse counselling. Though many working in this area have shifted, on the basis of their clinical experience, to broader conceptualisations, there remains a considerable vested interest in a specific post-abuse syndrome.
There are also political agendas linked to seeing child sexual abuse as a product of misdirected and ill controlled male sexuality (which it is), and as independent of social circumstances and family background (which it isn’t). Herman’s (1992) description of child sexual abuse as one of the combat neurosis women suffer from as a result of the sex war neatly conflates the post-traumatic stress model with the political agenda of some feminists.
The understandable wish to avoid repeating the deplorable error made in domestic violence of blaming the victim (Snell et al. 1964) can lead to an insistence on looking no further than the perpetrator (and often just his maleness) for an understanding of why abuse occurs. This potentially impoverishes research aimed at identifying the social and family correlates of child sexual abuse that constitute risk factors for such abuse. The knowledge of such risk factors is essential to the development of programs aimed at primary prevention.
Family risk factors
Child sexual abuse is not randomly distributed through the population. It occurs more frequently in children from socially deprived and disorganised family backgrounds (Finkelhor and Baron 1986; Beitchman et al. 1991; Russell 1986; Peters 1988; Mullen et al. 1993). Marital dysfunction, as evidenced by parental separation and domestic violence, is associated with higher risks of child sexual abuse, and involves intrafamilial and extrafamilial perpetrators (Mullen et al 1996; Fergusson et al. 1996; Fleming et al. 1997).
Similarly, there are increased risks of abuse with a stepparent in the family, and when family breakdown results in institutional or foster care. Poor parentchild attachment is associated with increased risk of child sexual abuse, though it is not always easy to separate the impact of abuse on intimate family relationships from the influence of poor attachments on vulnerability to abuse (Fergusson et al. 1996; Fleming et al. 1997).
Disrupted family function could, in theory, be related to child sexual abuse because of the disruptive influence of a perpetrator in the family. However, given the majority of abusers are not immediate family members, it is more likely that the linkage reflects a lack of adequate care, supervision and protection that leaves the child exposed to the approaches of molesters, and vulnerable to offers of apparent interest and affection (Fergusson and Mullen in press).
The relationship between child sexual abuse and adult psychopathology tended initially to be conceptualised in terms of a chronic form of post traumatic stress disorder (Lindberg and Distad 1985; Bryer et al. 1987; Craine et al. 1988). This model focused on trauma-induced symptoms, most particularly dissociative disorders such as desensitisation, amnesias, fugues and even multiple personality. The idea was that the stress induced symptoms engendered in the process of the abuse and have reverberated down the years to produce a post-abuse syndrome in adult life.
In its more sophisticated formulation, this model attempts to integrate the damage inflicted at the time to the victims’ psychological integrity, by the child sexual abuse and the need to repress the trauma, with resultant psychological fragmentation. The latter manifests itself in adult life in mental health problems, and in problems of interpersonal and sexual adjustment (Rieker and Carmen 1986). The post-traumatic stress model found its strongest support in the observations of clinicians dealing with individuals with histories of severe and repeated abuse. It was also often linked to notions of a highly specific post-abuse syndrome in which dissociative disorders were prominent.
In the United States, a less medicalised model for the mediation of the long term effects of child sexual abuse was proposed by Finkelhor (1987) with his ‘traumatogenic model’. This suggested that child sexual abuse produced a range of psychological effects at the time and, secondarily, behavioral changes. This model predicts a disparate range of psychological impairments and behavioral disturbances in adult life which contrasts with the post traumatic syndrome model with its specific range of symptoms. Finkelhor’s model, though less medical and symptom-bound, pays only scant attention to the developmental perspective. It cedes primacy to the psychological ramifications of the abuse with little acknowledgment of the social dimensions. Only in recent years have attempts been made to articulate the long-term effects of child sexual abuse within a developmental perspective (Cole and Putnam 1992), and to attend to the interactions between child sexual abuse and the child victims’ overall psychological, social and interpersonal development.
The manner in which the long-term effects of child sexual abuse have come to be conceptualised reflects, in no small measure, the very particular circumstances that surrounded the revelation of child sexual abuse as an all too common event in the lives of our children. The first phase of modern research into child sexual abuse was not triggered by observations on child victims, but by the self-disclosures of adults who had the courage to publicly give witness to their abuse as children. These early self-revealed victims, exclusively women, had often been the victims of incestuous abuse of the grossest kind, and plausibly attributed many of their current personal difficulties to their sexual abuse as children. This contrasts with the emergence of child abuse as a public health and research issue that has been driven by the observations of professionals caring for abused children.
The way child sexual abuse was placed on the public and health agendas put a stronger emphasis on the adult consequences of abuse than on the immediate implications for an abused child. It also emphasised the psychiatric implications of abuse because self-declared victims tended to focus on these, and these revelations often occurred in a broadly therapeutic context with mental health professionals. Early research into the effects of child sexual abuse frequently employed groups of adult psychiatric patients (Carmen et al. 1984; Mills et al. 1984; Bryer et al. 1987; Jacobson and Richardson 1987; Craine et al. 1988; Oppenheimer et al. 1985) which further reinforced the emergence of an adult-focused psychiatric discourse about child sexual abuse. It should also be noted that the manner in which child sexual abuse was rediscovered (for it had been well recognised in the 19th century) and the nature of the advocacy movement which placed child sexual abuse firmly on the social agenda also provided an almost exclusive emphasis on female victims and incestuous abuse. The implications remain largely unexplored of the abuse of boys (which for abuse of the most intrusive kinds involving penetration rivals in frequency that of girls), and of the fact that the majority of abuse is not incestuous.
Child sexual abuse is widely regarded as a cause of mental health problems in adult life. This article examines the impact of child sexual abuse on social, sexual and interpersonal functioning, and its potential role in mediating the more widely recognised impacts on mental health. In discussing the relationship between child sexual abuse and adult psychopathology, the authors evaluate a number of models, including the post-traumatic stress disorder model, the traumatogenic model, and developmental and social models. They look at family risk factors which predispose children from specific population groups to be at greater risk of abuse, and conclude that the fundamental damage caused by child sexual abuse impacts on the child’s developing capacities for trust, intimacy, agency and sexuality.
In little over a decade, child sexual abuse has come to be widely regarded as a cause of mental health problems in adult life. The influences of child sexual abuse on interpersonal, social and sexual functioning in adult life and its possible role in mediating some, if not all, of the deleterious effects on mental health, has attracted less attention and research, but is arguably equally important. For this reason, and because the mental health aspects have been so much more widely canvassed and ably reviewed (Tomison 1996), this review will emphasise the impact of child sexual abuse on social and interpersonal functioning, and its potential role in mediating the more widely recognised impacts on mental health.
Long-term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse by Paul E. Mullen and Jillian Fleming http://www.aifs.gov
“Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis” is what a New York Times Article is titled, followed by the overplayed icon photograph:
Facebook has gone on the attack as one scandal after another — Russian meddling, data sharing, hate speech — has led to a congressional and consumer backlash.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times
Having paid significant attention to moments that FB-Facebook has appeared on Australia’s ABC, I recognised similarities between one monolith & that of church Institutions in Australia. National Redress Scheme is applicable to any Child Abuse Survivour, yet hearing of deaths before Compensation &/or Redress is made seems to reignite the fire.
Please read through the linked Article above: “The long, painful wait …” to read information such as the following:
“These figures confirm what we have known; there is huge inequity between the Catholic Church’s wealth and their responses to survivors,” said Helen Last, chief executive of the In Good Faith Foundation, which supports abuse survivors.
“The 600 survivors registered for our foundation’s services continue to experience minimal compensation and lack of comprehensive care in relation to their church abuses. They say their needs are the lowest of church priorities.”
Healy said the church’s meeting the claims of survivors whose complaints of abuse were upheld was “amongst its highest priorities”. He said that since that report the church had paid an extra $17.2 million to survivors.
The Age’sinvestigation also calls into question the privileges the church enjoys, including exemptions from nearly all forms of taxation and billions of dollars in government funding each year to run services – $7.9 billion for its Australian schools alone in 2015.
It involved obtaining property valuations from 36 Victorian councils, including most of the Melbourne metropolitan area, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, many under freedom of information.
It identified more than 1860 church-owned properties with “capital improved value” (land plus buildings) of just under $7 billion.
The delay of institutions joining the National Redress Scheme is a further betrayal betrayal and compounds the trauma endured.
Adult survivors of child sexual abuse are receiving rough justice from offending institutions such as churches. At the same time that many churches are celebrating the innocence of childhood this Christmas, they are denying justice to survivors who were innocent children when their lives were damaged and, in some cases destroyed, by institutional sexual abuse.
Thenational redress schemefor institutional sexual abuse survivors started on 1 July. Some2,000 people have made applications, but only 20 survivors (1% of the 2,000) have received any form of redress. Many of the applications received relate to institutions that have yet to come on board with the scheme. Most Catholic church dioceses and archdioceses have joined the scheme, but at least150 Catholic orders have yetto come on board. The Uniting church has yet to join the scheme and the Anglican church has only partly done so. Neither the Catholic or Uniting churches have committed to a timeframe for fully joining the scheme. The majority of Anglican church entities shouldjoin the schemeby the middle of 2019.
The survivors who are applying for redress were subjected to institutional betrayal which included facilitating child sexual assaults; punishing those who made complaints about sexual abuse; using obfuscation, denial and hard line legal tactics to hinder efforts to obtain justice as well as moving perpetrators from one institution to another where they were free to re-offend. These betrayals compounded the damage caused by the original sexual assaults. For many, the capacity to form trusting relationships was permanently damaged. This damage runs so deep that some survivors are unable to form intimate relationships or show affection. Frequently survivors use drugs and alcohol to numb their pain and if this fails, commit suicide. Parents, children and loved ones who have to cope with the heartbreak of survivors’ blighted lives are secondary victims as the damage caused by institutional betrayal spans across several generations.
Following COPIED message has now been distributed amongst Private Schools in SEQ:
An interim response is requested, to repost on our LinkedIn, WordPress, Social Media & ABC/SBS News Networks.
As some of your Schools have been involved in the Royal Commission (CARC) Hearings, this eMail is querying how your Bodies administrate, for the benefit of the Students’ (I.E. Children & Minors) ‘Safety & Security’? Public News publications have been sourced re: some of your places of education.
This query has been sent on behalf of an evolving network of School-Swapping, alike Church-Swapping. Inclusion of these details are for benefit of previous Survivors-Victims of these Institutions (Private Damages Claims & National Redress Scheme).
CC ABC News, SBS Portals & Prue Montgomery | knowmore Principal Lawyer
By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 1 April 2017
Some victims of Catholic Church sex abuse are forcing the church authorities to stop honouring a particular priest or religious brother because of sex-abuse allegations. In the latest example, a prominent Brisbane Catholic boys’ school (St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace) has removed the name of a former deputy headmaster (BrotherC.L. Dillon) from one of its buildings.
The building is the “C.L. Dillon Boathouse”, which houses the school’s rowing club.
St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace was founded by the Christian Brothers. It is a member of the “Great Public Schools Association of Queensland”, which includes eight high-fee private schools plus the Brisbane State High School.
Brother Charles Lorenzo Dillon taught at Gregory Terrace from 1950 to 1972. He became deputy headmaster, master in charge of the middle school, officer commanding cadets, coach of the First XV and Rowing Master. He was also active in promoting basketball. He died in 1994, aged 74
The current principal, Mr Michael Carroll, says (in a circular to parents and staff) that the decision to remove Dillon’s name has been made “following the recent receipt of information related to historical abuse allegations” against Brother Dillon.
Mr Carroll’s circular says that this information may be concerning for many past and present students and staff. He says the decision to take this action was made by the college, in collaboration with the Australia-wide leadership of the Christian Brothers.
Similar action at a Melbourne school
In 2016, Melbourne’s Xavier College (founded by the Catholic order of Jesuit priests) announced that two plaques would be erected soon at Xavier (one in the Chapel and one in the grounds) to “acknowledge the shadow of sexual and other abuse that occurred at Xavier a number of years ago.” Also, Xavier College announced that its sports complex, previously named the “Stephenson Centre” in honour of the late Father Patrick Stephenson (1896-1990), would be given a new name, because the school accepted complaints by some ex-students; that Stephenson had indecently touched them. To see more about this Xavier announcement, clickHERE.