Wow, Theresa, sounds like you were busy there! I hope we can see as a post later, some of your presentations with references.
Is it possible for a child to experience pleasure during abuse? Is it possible for a child to develop an attachment and an alliance with the perpetrator? Sadly, so very sadly, yes. I have seen in my work cases where the child wound up actively keeping the secret and working with the perpetrator to find ways to get away from the parents and be abused. In some cases it was difficult to see how and where the child was “hurt” by this supposedly special friend. And sadder still, I see how some of this research has been used by the perpetrator organizations to argue that what adults do to children sexually may not harm them, but be an “opportunity to grow.” It nauseates me to write that, because this argument assumes that children should have the same rights to determine what they may want to experience. Giving children this “right” violates so much of the secure environment children need to be protected until they may be able to reason more effectively. We cannot defy our biology, which shows that our brains do not mature until late in adolescence, and we need mature brains to make reasoned choices from the options we are given.
Just because something may be pleasing, doesn’t mean it should be advocated. Dangerous and harmful behavior (such as the wildest extreme sports) cause death or life long injury. Helmet laws are for protecting the person as well as society. We have no qualms about instituting laws for that, and yet we, as a culture seem to struggle to draw the line on sexual practice or perversion.
It doesn’t surprise me that a child might find pleasure out of wrong activities, even if they are not sure they are wrong, but they feel funny. That is part of growing up, and happens in all arenas of childhood. But that doesn’t make it any less abusive or traumatic. Nor does it make the abuser any less evil and abusive.
So what do we do about this? Well, we work in groups like the CSPN to learn how to increase our effectiveness as ministries in protecting children. We also help children with treatment and other resources as soon as we find out they were abused, with the goal of recovery of a healthy life adjustment. And we weep with the victims and rejoice as they become survivors. In Jesus’ name…
Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion
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