CSA Accommodation Syndrome
Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome (CSAAS) is a fabricated and widely discredited "disorder" used by victimologists to reinterpret a variety of child testimony (disclosure, non-disclosure, sustained denial, retraction) as evidence of CSA. It was a critical propaganda tool in the Day-care hysteria of the 1980s and 90s, and was first proposed by Roland Summit - a pioneer in victimological literature, in 1983.
Summit believed children "learn to accept the situation and to survive", fostering the shamed secrecy thought to typify CSA at the time. "There is no way out, no place to run", he adds; "the healthy, normal emotionally resilient child will learn to accommodate to the reality of continuing sexual abuse."
He posited five stages through which the child attempts to cope with this:
- Entrapment and accommodation
- Delayed disclosure
CSAAS belongs to a long list of false diagnostic tools related to the CSA panics of the 1980s and 90s - often resulting in absurd statements by professionals. Similar fallacious circulars have been used in setting up professional discourses on "cognitive distortion", for example. Practitioners and theorists continue to blame "lack of awareness", or "flawed cultural beliefs" for the prevalence of sexual behaviors they deem to be aberrant, or interpreted by participants in ways that confound their set narrative.
Several states have prohibited testimony regarding CSAAS, based on evidence that it is not accepted generally by scientists, except for delayed reporting. Summit himself has subsequently identified that the concept has been abused for scientific and legal reasons, and neither the American Psychiatric Association nor the American Psychological Association has recognized CSAAS.
Other fanciful ideas formerly or presently promoted to aid in categorizing "ideal" victims and perpetrators.
- De Young, Mary (2004). The day care ritual abuse moral panic. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-1830-5.
- Summit, Roland C. (1993-05-14). "Abuse of the Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome". Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. 1 (4): 153–164. doi:10.1300/j070v01n04_13. ISSN 1053-8712. and Summit, Roland (1983). "The child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome" (PDF). Child Abuse Negl. 7 (2): 177–93. doi:10.1016/0145-2134(83)90070-4. PMID 6605796. S2CID 4547031.
- See, for example - Lukumay , D., Rwegoshora , H., & Mtae , H. (2023). Challenges of Lack of Community Awareness and Its Impact on Child Sexual Assault in Tanzania: The Case of Arusha, Tanzania. Asian Research Journal of Arts & Social Sciences, 20(3), 47–54. https://doi.org/10.9734/arjass/2023/v20i3451 and Wadji DL, Oe M, Cheng P, Bartoli E, Martin-Soelch C, Pfaltz MC, Langevin R. Associations between experiences of childhood maltreatment and perceived acceptability of child maltreatment: A cross-cultural and exploratory study. Child Abuse Negl. 2023 Sep;143:106270. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2023.106270. Epub 2023 Jun 8. PMID: 37301113.
- State v. J.L.G., Docket Number A-50-16(N.J. Sup. Ct. July 31, 2018). See also State v. Ballard, 855 S.W.2d 557, 562 (Tenn. Sup. Ct. 1993); Hadden v. State, 690 So. 2d 573 (Fla. Sup. Ct. 1997)
- R. v. K (A.), (1999), 1999 CanLII 3793 (ON CA), 45 O.R. (3d) 641 (C.A.) at paras. 125