A less than fun but fascinating topic
A few weeks ago I got in a few hour discussion with Tucker and my girlfriend about sexual abuse. My question was: We know that with relative certainty sexual abuse fundamentally alters a child’s development and influence things like sexual orientation, propensity for drug abuse, a tendency to recreate trauma, promiscuity, and success. So what impact has that had throughout history?
What I meant was that we look at Britany Spears and quietly assume that her current escapades are a result of missing her childhood, perhaps early sexual abuse, selfish parents and her recent divorce. But then we look at someone like Caesar or Alexander the Great and hold them up as unitary actors who were simply motivated to great things. Are we deluding ourselves when we exclude those motivations and subconscious factors?
Tucker made it very clear (and rightfully so) that the things that can utterly ruin a child today would have had little impact 600 years ago. And that much of which we currently abhor and think damages a child has less to do with the act itself and more to do with the emotions it represents. For instance, it’s not the physical blows that plague the person for the rest of their life, but the fact that they had an unloving parent that would do such a thing–not to mention that such feelings taint all other interaction between child and parent. So pederasty because it was more about mutual love than submission or projected self-loathing wouldn’t have had the same effect on Alexander as it did to Michael Jackson.
Freaknomics pointed out some disturbing stats today:
1) 25 percent of victims are 10-14 years old; 23 percent are nine or younger.
2) 22.5 percent of the offenders are family members. Only 8 percent are strangers.
3) 25 percent of sex offenses reported to the police lead to an arrest.
So my question to you is: What impact do you think sexual abuse and childhood trauma has had throughout history? Have some of our greatest successes and most catastrophic failures been guided by these changes in early development? And lastly, what impact do you think the above statistics will continue to have on the next generation of people?
Does a child have the capability to process or even realize trauma? Or is it others who create* this trauma for him. I am DEFINITELY not condoning abuse but unless physical pain is involved I wouldn’t think early abuse would affect a child.
*and by create I mean acting out an intense emotion that a child can learn from and develop
Dude, OF COURSE they do. They absolutely, absolutely do. Think of the evolutionary consequences of being raped
1) Physical Harm
2) Premature exposure to sexuality
3) Unwanted pregnancy
4) Social stigma
We would have absolutely developed mechanisms that reinforce that value. Yes rape is hard on a woman because of how society reacts, but there are evolutionary costs and thus evolutionary adaptations to avoid incurring it.
But as for other abuse, let’s say verbal. Those affect how the child the adjust or comes to understand the world.
its hard to seperate the consequences of sexual abuse with the environmental factors that are often associated with victims, such as socioeconomic status. Not saying that only the poor get sexual abused, but its more likely.
Not that I’m excusing it. Its just difficult to measure exactly what the general effects are on people.
That’s true and very rarely is someone JUST sexually abused.
I can’t even begin to understand how that would work, but speaking of Freakonomics, I wonder if there is a relation between child abuse and Roe v. Wade (are generations of neglected children more likely to commit child abuse than well-adjusted kids?), and whether we might be due for a fall once the generations most likely to commit abuse pass into the history books?
Also things to keep in mind are how much sexual abuse is reported now than in the past. It is difficult to measure how many children have been abused because we can never be certain how many children report BEING abused, and how much that rate of reporting fluctuates.
Wouldn’t Roe v Wade decrease the likelihood of abuse in that it would limit the amount of unwanted children?
I was just thinking that the average age of a pedophile (early 30s I think, I need the stats) is somewhat older than the average age of someone committing an abortion (late teens/early 20s?). So there would be a 10-15 year drag effect where unwanted children are still committing crimes, and the ramifications wouldn’t be felt until later into this generation. It’s cutting it close (crime fall was in ’92?), but it’d be interesting to see if a drop occurs over the next few years.
The children abused are not unwanted, that’s the thing. Either that, or the parents would not be able to afford an abortion anyway.
Sexual abuse and childhood trauma has had a significant effect on history; take for example Sparta. Every male child was abused, then used sexually by older men. Physical violence ranging from spankings to full on hitting children promotes extremely aggressive behavior, as these children repeat what they had learned elsewhere. While this is a problem in our society today, it was not so 2000 years ago. Then an aggressive, violent boy trained properly was a valued asset.
Many great leaders throughout history were probably abused or neglected. Everyone wants attention, a neglected child most of all. What better way to get it than to force everyone to listen to you? In doing so you both get back at the society that hurt you as a child and get the attention you desire.
Something really interesting? In homes without a male role model, girls reach puberty earlier. That means if there is no father present, a young girl will go through puberty and possibly become sexually active up to a year earlier than previously. The evolutionary imperative towards reproduction evidenced there is amazing.
I think Tucker’s point was that the men in Sparta were relatively normal. And that the abuse then didn’t have the impact that it would now. Spartan men were obedient, courageous, loyal, dedicated, etc. Would you really say that those are the characteristics of your average beaten child?
But I think you’re right than history HAS to be filled with victims. I think it would be a really interesting book….
Actually, I would.
It’s not simply that physical abuse shatters children psychologically, it’s that the changes it creates are no longer acceptable in our society. That’s about all relative societal normality has to do with it.
Think about the characteristics you listed.
If you break someone down psychologically, then build them back up to be loyal to the group that accepts them, they are going to be fiercely loyal to that group and all its norms, including obedience to leaders. Courage? I think that it’s more that they were trained in a fashion that fleeing was utterly unacceptable. Those that couldn’t take the training died. Dedication? Take any boy, raise him up to believe that there is one main goal, and watch him dedicate himself to that goal in order to please his role model.
I feel it’s pretty major how may well more often than not get ignored and quite a few professionals could possibly totally by-pass the theme of .
Occasionally I guess we might most likely abandon to the juvenile era as they can consider much easier to work out.
Whilst we develop to be far more accustomed to in our vocab it’s actually extraordinary how frequently appears throughout discussion of folks you wouldn’t imagine to be posting on .
Formerly I could not envisage the point of even speaking of considering at that time there would never had been any awareness in the subject matter to be honest so what is actually the point of raising the topic.
it could well be remarkable without a doubt if there were several other online users also enthusiastic about and we could definitely have a high quality talk about . It’s a shame without a doubt if families don’t respect their passions due to the reason that these people are thinking other people today will likely definitely not prove to be predisposed.
It’s really a peculiar quirk of all our species that despite the fact that lots of people may be totally fascinated by lots of other folks will see to be subject matter which in fact they’d rarely have any kind of a chat or perhaps a talk in regards to this.