Debate Guide: Profound and lifelong scarring
- "Child sexual abuse is unique, in that it almost invariably leads to lifelong mental scarring. They/We are victims for life".
With all due respect, this is false:
- Research: Prevalence of Harm and Negative Outcomes
- Research: Family Environment
- Research: Secondary Harm
In some cases, notably the unwanted and/or coerced/cajoled activities, lifelong mental scarring is ignited by a "sexual" attack. These memories can also be exacerbated by the long-lasting memory of an experience that an individual is repeatedly told to view as dirty, shameful and profound. Understandably, this can easily lead to mental disturbances and depression. None of this implies that any form of willing and unpersecuted genital contact has an unusually high capacity for harm, let alone life-long mental scarring. In fact, what we are seeing is the social construct of abuse fulfilling its own prophecy in the minds of its victims, sometimes to the effect of exacerbating fundamentally harmful abuse. This is obviously something that any good-meaning victim advocate should be minded to investigate.
One way of overcoming these memories may be to challenge the sex - negative foundations upon which the negative judgement and feelings of shame are based. No one needs to associate their pain with sex, when perceived "sexual acts" were only the unfortunate vector of society's guilt, in its displacement unto them.