Debate Guide: The professional victim
The idea that a person is a victim of uncoerced sexual acts merely on the basis of their age, makes a mockery of and undermines intrinsically harmful acts, including violent rape. In the latter, long-term post-traumatic stress and disturbance may well emerge without the need for social conditioning and shame. Yet, the dissemination of psychotherapy and abuse counseling, combined with an insistence that intrinsically harmless, but "shameful" experiences must by all means be conflated with rape, has created a powerful lobbying constituency. Jenkins describes this as:
a huge constituency with an overwhelming interest in keeping these issues at the center of public concern
While this can be said of the child abuse industry, it also applies to those (its clients, i.e. "survivors") who have been indoctrinated by it, often during times of psychological vulnerability and internal moral conflict, and sometimes even under coercive conditions. Of course, it is incredibly hard to challenge "professional victims" when they speak out, as their experiences are loaded with an assumed dignity that is not afforded to those whose experiences are contrary to the narrative. Negative utilitarianism and slut shaming most certainly help perpetuate this double standard.
It is important that we point out that no one has a monopoly on child abuse discourse. Experiences may vary, depending on the levels of coercive control and social shame. See "as a parent" or "as a survivor" for more instruction on this matter.