© 1987

Carolyn Dusty Pruitt

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

 

BUT THOU SHALT FORGET THE SHAME OF THY YOUTH

A  Study of Authoritarianism, Religiosity and Child Sexual Abuse

Carolyn Dusty Pruitt

 

ABSTRACT

This Doctoral Project addresses the sexual theology  of   the  Christian  church and how it relates to  child  sexual  abuse.  The  project  deals first with an analysis of  the   history of Christian sexual ethics from the perspective  of the  Roman Catholic experience,  the conservative Christian  experience,  and  the liberal Protestant  experience.  The conclusion  is reached that in none of the three cases  did  Christianity  arrive at the twentieth century  equipped  to  deal  with the major shifts in paradigm in sexual behavior  which  came  about as a result of the advent of  the  birth  control pill.  Consequently,  the Church finds itself running to catch up with technology in the area of ethics  and  in  need of a major overhaul in the area of the theology of  embodiment. The area of Christendom most equipped by foundational ethics and theology to handle this task is Liberal Protestantism.  But the suggestion is made that accommodations can be made by both Conservative  Christianity  and Roman  Catholicism to "move into the twentieth century  in the area of sexual theology.

This  problem  directly affects the  issue  of  child sexual abuse. The fact that failure of modern Christianity to  address  sexual theology impacts the social problem  of child sexual abuse is shown by a socio-psychological  study used in the paper which asserts that child sexual abusers are  "more religious and more authoritarian than  average.   The   practical  results  of  child  sexual  abuse  on  the organization  of the family is explored in addition to  the  study of child sexual abusers normed with a control group.

The conclusion of the project suggests several  practical  steps for the church in the area of sexual theology and  of child sexual abuse in general.  The suggestion  is  made that  the church by becoming aware and informed become part of  the healing of the problem instead of, by  default  or  action, part of the problem.

Table of Contents

      Chapter Page

1. Introduction and Scope of the Problem . . . . . .

      Importance of the Problem . . . . . . . . . . . ……1

     Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . …………..4

       Work Previously Done in the Field . . . . . . .. 5

Scope and Limitations of the Project. . . . . ..

Procedure for Integration of  Theology/Socio-Psychology . . . . . . . . . . .. 9

Christian Sexual Theology- Mixed Metaphors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . …….10

      

Christian Sexual Theology as a Factor in Child Sexual Abuse. . . . . . . . …..10

Human Sexuality in the Roman Catholic Tradition. . . . . . . . . . . …10

Human Sexuality in the Liberal Protestant Tradition. . . . . . . . . ….16

Human Sexuality in Conservative/Fundamentalist Moral Theology . . . . . . . . .23

The Child Sexual Abuse Problem in American Society Today . . . . . . . . . . .28

Healing the Problem: Toward a Christian Sexual Theology that can Become a Part of the Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ……36   

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter

Page

Authoritarianism, Religiosity and Child Sexual Abuse: A Psychological Correlational Study. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ………57

Dispelling the myths about child sexual abusers: Who is and is not the offender . . . .57        The Effect of Incest on the Organization of the Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .……..82      

Incest as a Disrupter of Family Function as a Sociocultural Unit . . . . . . . . . .. …….83      

The Effect of Incest Upon Individuals in the Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ………..86      

Institutional Response: Church and Society. . .94

The Study: Correlation of Authoritarianism Religiosity and Child Sexual Abuse. .97      Conclusion and Suggestions for Further Work. . .114

      Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ……………..122

 

CHAPTER 1 Introduction and Scope of the Problem

Importance of the Problem       This  project  deals with the problem of  child  sexual      abuse  and the statement found in the literature of  those working in the area of treating such disorders which assert      that  the average child molester is more authoritarian  and     often more religious than average  (Summitt, 1983, p. 182).       My hypothesis is that there will be a high  correlation between the child sexual abuser’s religion and his authoritarianism       as  well as his tendency to autocracy in  family       relationships.  If my hypothesis proves true- the implications for social policy are readily seen- as many Christian       groups  today lobby for a return to a  traditional  family- oriented  public  social policy.  Ideology that upholds  a patriarchal  family with male authority  and  female/child       submission  may be the soil in which child sexual abuse  is nurtured.        I have encountered such a denial around the subject of  child sexual abuse that I have been amaed.  Society wants  to deny that incest ever happens and churches, pastors, and  church-related  groups are part of that denial.  In a monthly conference of various Southern  California  Pastors,       the  subject  was child sexual abuse for  about  six.  Expert  after expert was heard;  yet most pastors did not want to believe the fact that a majority  of family  members who sexually abuse children were more prone  to be authoritarian and religious than not.  Many of these pastors wanted to believe that the "dirty old man, usually homosexual,   preyed on children- mostly boys.. Some wanted to  believe that a religious "conversion experience"  would automatically  solve the problem and that  any  "religious  male who would molest children-  especially his own-  would      be  one who had not truly had the conversion experience  to Jesus. In contrast-the facts are that in more than 95% of      the  cases  the molester is a heterosexual-identified  male      and the victim is a female  child  (Summit,  1983, p.180)      Even  the case of the molestation of boys,  the offender      is  less concerned with the fact that the child is  a  male      than  with  the fact that the child is a child.  For  this      reason these people are labeled "pedophiles." Further,  in      more than 90%of the cases the offender is a trusted friend or  relative-someone  the  child  knows  (Summitt, 1983,      p.180).  And  conversion experience seems to make  little difference in the propensity to molest (Ode, N.D.. p. 1).      Rather,  the offender, often a molested child himself  and      the  victim of someone else who was religious,  seems to be      caught  in a "repetition compulsion" in a vain  attempt to  heal the wounds within himself  (Ode, n.d.p.1).  This is      the problem.

The  emotional trauma that incest leaves in its wake is  an important subject for the church. The church must look  at  how it perpetrates the problem through denial and  take steps  to protect the children of our  society.  In  other      words, the  church must become part of the  solution.  In      order  to do this, the church must begin to address  these      issues and begin to make the church a sanctuary for incest      victims  of  all  ages rather than  for  the  perpetrators.      Problems  which  may not look on the surface to be  incest-      related,  such as running away from home,  may be a symptom      of an incest problem. I counseled one woman who had repeatedly      run away from her incestuous  grandfather  who was      brought  back on more than one occasion to her  pastor—who      disbelieved  her  story  and promptly returned her  to  her      grandfather  every time.  The pastor had assumed that  she      was  just a rebellious teenager who mad up  awful  stories      about  this pillar of the church! My work with this woman      in  healing  the  breach of trust  with  the  pastor-- God’s      agent—was  more  difficult than dealing with  the  initial      incestuous  relationship(Anonymous  counselee,  personal      communication, 1977). Further, the church must look at its own sexual ethics.   I  believe that the spiritualized Victorian nineteenth century      sexuality with which we have all been raised cannot be       Biblically  justified.  And  I further believe  that  this       theology  contributes  to the problem because it  does  not       take into account the strength of  sexuality, particularly       male  sexuality and because it does not deal with the demonic       aspects of repression. I find very few people, male or       female, who can live up to the Victorian sexual ethic which grows out of this sexual theology. Even though this theology  has been Biblicized and sanctioned by the church,  the  wounding  which  grows from this theology wounds  all  of   us.  It  is  this aspect I wish to  explore: how  wounding   begets wounding.

I will be examining the theology of sexuality to which   every major church subscribed in America until at least the  1970’s  and  why  this theology does  not  issue  forth  in  livable norms for ethical living and never has. Authoritarian  religion  which  interprets the Bible  literally  and  which  defines  the  "sexual boundary as  any  sexual  act  outside of marriage ignores developmental psychology, process  theology, and many Biblical themes. Just like temperance fanatics  who draw the line at having  just  one  drink, and when that line is crossed, find they cannot stop, so also is the case of the person for whom masturbation is the line in sexual acts. The result of this repressive theology is a society in which there are blacks  and  whites in sexual behavior—but no grays.  As  a  result, hundreds  and  thousands  of women and children  have  been  wounded by wounded men—and worse, many more continue  to be  wounded  every  day.  And the voices of  these  little children cry out for justice. My hope is that this project will be one agent toward that justice.

 

 

 

DEFINITIONS AND WORK PREVIOUSLY DONE IN THE FIELD

DEFINITIONS:

      Child Sexual Abuse- Any sexual activity between an       adult  and a legally underage person is defined as  sexual abuse, even  if  the child may "consents. Because  of  the  inherent limitation of power to children in any society  in  the world today,  any adult-child activity must be regarded  as abuse.  The majority of such abuse is incestuous» i.e.,  between  someone the child knows and trusts and the  child.  Only  a  small percentage of child sexual abuse is done  by strangers.  The harm done in child sexual abuse is in the  ultimate betrayal- a betrayal of trust.   Incest  Any  sexual  activity between the child  and  any  adult  in  a  caretaking  role  regardless  of  the   blood  relationship  existing between the two

parties  is  incest.    Incest  is  any sexual touching of any kind by that  care  taker which the child

perceives as not good.

Work Previously Done in the Field       This is a comparatively new field of study and has evolved out of the Women’s movement of the past decade.    Thus,  aside  from the Kinsey Study of the 1950’s,  most of  the  literature has been done in the late 1970’s and  early 1980’s.  Perhaps the foremost work done of what happens to  the  child  has been done  by  Rolland  Summit-  Clinical   Assistant  Professor of Psychiatry at  Harbor-UCLA  Medical  Center in Torrance, California.  He heads the Los Angeles  County  Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Center and has written a  paper, "The Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation  Syndrome"  published  in  Child  Abuse  and  Neglect(1983).   Summit characterized  perpetrators  as "obviously  not  perverted.  They tend to be hard-working, devoted family men. They may   be better educated, more law-abiding,  and more  religious  than  average." Further, Summit presents the reality  as   "...(The child is the victim of unprecedented, relentlessly  progressive intrusion of sexual acts by an  overpowering  adult  in  a  one-sided victim-perpetrator   relationship"       (Summitt, 1983, p. 182)

       Other   writers  have  detailed  by  case-study  method  women’s  stories  who  were sexually  abused  as  children (Armstrong,1978). Only now, when the power relationship has  been balanced, when the women are adults, do women begin to  come forward and tell their stories.  Their reactions have  been what has been seen in Vietnam veteran as a group  and  labeled, "The  Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the  DSM- III (FBI, 1984, p.14). Flashbacks, dysfunctional sexuality, stuffed  feelings, and  other disorders work to  keep  the  victim  a victim.  Only when she begins to tell her  story  and  to  begin  to heal does the problem  begin  to  abate.  (Mayer, 1983).        Jeanne  Odell, in an article entitled, "Traumatized  Child, Distraught  Adult," writes about a woman  who  was  sexually  abused  by her religious father, a  conservative  Christian  and pillar of her church.  Odell  states, "How dare we say, then, that this deviant behavior occurs among  Christians and in Christian homes? Yes, it does happen and often"(emphasis supplied). The truth of these incidents is demonstrated through crippled emotions in the lives of  the  victims." Odell writes from a very religiously conservative point of view, and her article was printed in Pychology For Living,  a publication of the Narramore  Christian  Foundation  of  Rosemead,  a highly conservative  religious  organization. As is to be expected, problems are addressed  of the individual level and systemic theological or ethical  problems are left unexamined (Odell, n.d.).       The case-study method is the methodology of a number of  best-selling books-i.e.,   Kiss Daddy Goodnight by Louse  Armstrong (1978© and Daddy’s Girl by Charlotte Vale  Allen  (1982).  These  books detail the experiences of adults who have  been  molested as  children.  Armstrong  repeatedly makes  the point that "the only thing about incest that  is taboo  is talking about it.  It certainly is becoming  obvious that all too many are doing it! (Armstrong, 1978,  p.272).  Betrayal of Innocence by Susan Forward and Craig  Buck  (1978© and Father’s Days by Katherine Brady (1979)  are  also  among the self-study method  of  self-reporting.  All  these books are narratives of the victims and do  not,  except incidentally, comment on the perpetrators.       Clinically,  a  number of authors have  written- again  primarily of treatment for the victim.  Child Sexual Abuse by  David  Finkelhor (1984),  Father-Daughter  Incest  by  Judith Lewis Herman (1981),  Susanne M.  Sgroi (1983), Handbook of Clinical Intervention in Child Sexual Abuse,  and  others clinical books detail treatment for the victim. Most  pay only passing attention to the perpetrator.  Further, I can  find no studies which examine  Dr.  Summit’s  premise  that "perpetrators are...more than average religious". Nor  does any study analyze the relationship of Christian sexual theology  and child sexual abuse.  Thus the purpose for my  present study.       Two sociological studies are available:  Thou Shalt Not Be Aware- Society’s Betrayal of the Child- by Alice Miller (1984),  and  Incest: A  Family  Pattern  by  Jean  Renvoise  (1982).  The  former  is a new study and  the  latter  a  psychological   study  of  victims  and  perpetrators  with helpful historical data.  But overall, there is a paucity of  material and material from a Christian  prospective  is  virtually nonexistent.

Scope and Limitations of the Project

 

      I  have  designed a study of perpetrators—a  group  of  Parents  United—men  who have been  caught, convicted  of child molestation, and sentenced to this group as a condition of  their rehabilitation; and a control group  of  a random  sample of men who are married with children in  the family obtained from the Parent-Teacher Association of Long  Beach Unified  School  District as well as  colleagues  of   church members of my church.  Part I of the study explores  Christian sexual theology and the reasons for its crisis at  this  time  in history.  Part II develops  the  study  and  evaluates the statistics for significant correlations which  would  prove or disprove the thesis that child sexual  Abusers may be more religious, more authoritarian, and tend to more  autocratic family styles than average.  The paper is constructed  so that the theological part can be  separated from  the psychological part in order to better  facilitate publishing in a theological journal, in a psychological or sociological journal- or together.

Procedure for Integration of Theology/Socio-Psychology       The project itself deals with the relationships between  authoritarianism, religiosity,  traditional patriarchal  family, and child sexual abuse.  The theological work  is done using library research, theological inquiry, and earlier works  of Christian theologians of  human  sexuality.  Work  is  done of articulating a new sexual  theology-one  which will aim at reducing incidence of child sexual abuse  within Christianity.  The socio-psychological work is done  with three instruments—all three studying perpetrators—to  indicate authoritarianism, traditional family, and religiosity.  The  control group and the perpetrators were  given  the same indices and appropriate correlations measured  and  compared.

       The study is limited to perpetrators. Study of victims  is  too  great  a task and abundant  literature  exists  of   healing of victims.

 

 

CHAPTER 2 Christian Sexual Theology- Mixed Metaphors

Christian Sexual Theology as a Factor in Child Sexual Abuse       When we discuss Christian sexual theology, we must talk  about  at  least three differing historical  traditions  as  they  have been understood in American religious tradition.  First, we  must  discuss sexual theology in  the  Aquinian school  as traditionally practices by Roman  Catholics  and  particularly American Roman Catholics.  Secondly, there is  the  relational theology of American liberal  Protestantism  as  embodied by the neoorthodox and liberal theologians  in  the  early twentieth century.  Such august men as Reinhold  and  H. Richard Niebuhr and Karl Barth simply  continue  Reformationist  theology without a pure treatise of  sexual  theology. However, in contemporary times much is being made of  their theology to revise our traditional thinking of  a  theology  of  sexuality.  Thirdly, we need to  examine  a  theology of sexuality from the  conservative/fundamentalist  historical  prospective  if only from the rationale of  the  sheer  numbers of people this tradition has  affected  and, because of the mass media, will continue to affect.

Human Sexuality in the Roman Catholic Tradition

       To effectively discuss the Roman Catholic tradition, it  will  be  necessary  to trace the development  of  Catholic  theology from the early patristic era.  It is here, from  the second to the fifth century, that foundations for what  I will demonstrate to be an extremely repressive  theology  were laid.       While the Church Fathers affirmed St. Paul in the Bible  regarding  the  indissolubility of marriage, the need  for  fidelity, and  the mutual duty of spouses, they  reinterpret the Biblical theology in three major ways: 1:  In  attempting to develop a middle  ground  between asceticism  and licentiousness practices by the  pagans  as  well  as  some who called themselves Christians  but  were later  branded  "heretics", the Fathers found  comfort  in   Stoicism. 2:  From  the  Stoic  idea of  the  purposefulness  of  humanity, the Fathers adopted the sexual theology that the  purpose  for human sexuality was procreation  of  children.  Sexual  abstinence was therefore as virtuous after a person  was married as before. As a result of such views,  there arose  a  double  standard  of morality; one for ordinary Christians and one  for  those  who were called to a  higher  purpose  (Kosnik, 1979, p.51).  The  church  thinker whose ideas tend to  be  identified  with   church  dogma  regarding  human  sexuality  is   St.  Augustine. While he did do some things to help clarify the  sanctity  of marriage and to hallow the moral value of  the  conjugal act; nevertheless, the whole of his teaching of   human sexuality is conflicted and ambiguous. His teachings are  decidedly  anti-body and he tends to equate  the  body  with  sin.  Rosemary  Reuther,   in her essay of  "Virginal  Feminism in the Fathers of the Church", states,         Augustine  believed  that  the  seat  of  ....disordered  affection due to sin is the male  penis, wose spontaneous tumescence, in response  to sensual stimuli and independent of  consciousness, is  the literal embodiment of that "lay in the  members  that wars against the lay of  the  minds".  "Augustine’s  horrified description  of the  male erection and its key role in  his  doctrine of sin and the transmission of original usually  brings embarrassed laughter from - historians of doctrine,   if they have the temerity to refer to it at all. It is usually supposed  to  reflect   some   personal   sexual   hang-up  of Augustine’s  resulting from obsessions caused  by  his  illicit sexual experiences, and thus not to reflect of these doctrines themselves. A personal   obsession  it may well have been, but  one  that reflected  a collective obsession of  Augustine’s    religious culture. Such a pointing to the erection of  the penis as the essence of sin was  a     biographic- but nevertheless a perfectly consistent expression of .......this entire system of

theological  anthropology  of  which  it  was  an expression" (Ruether, 1974, p.163).       Reuther  may be a bit unfairly caricaturing  Augustine; it  is true that to Augustine it was not the  body that  tempted  the soul to sin, but the sin  of  the  soul  against  God that caused the "wars among the members of the  body- which God alone can resolve: (Kerr, 1966, p. 66).       James Nelson also gives Augustine a special  place  in  the  development of Catholic sexual theology.

"One of the fall’s clear marks is that the genitals are no longer under  our voluntary control, and our

insatiable search for self- satisfaction  though  evident  in all spheres  of  life  is particularly      evidenced      by      the      genitals’  disobedience" (Nelson,  1978, p.53). Aside from being particularly anti-body, as noted before, this description of  sin  is also a male perspective, ostensibly  referring  to  involuntary erections, and tends to view sexuality and the  genitals   as   if  they  were  "other  than   the   male".  "Augustine," says Nelson, "does give a marvelously accurate and vivid description of lustful, unloving sex, but, fatefully, he sees no power in love to transform the sex act in  any significant ways (Nelson,1978,p.53).

Again in fairness to Augustine, the fall comes about as a  result of the free choice of the  soul, not  body, and  results in alienation from self, neighbor,   and God (Kerr, 1966, p.   61).  Further, his dualism has more to do with  Greek understandings of the sharp divisions of spirit, mind  and  body than it has to do with sin, for sin corrupts all  these "parts of the human person.

The early fathers continue the dominant Biblical  patriarchal hierarchy between male/female to which they added  the  Greek  dualism alluded to  earlier. This  syncretism  resulted in what feminists have seen as a dualism in regard  to  the  treatment of women—Eve as seductress or  Mary  as  Virgin (Reuther, 1974, p.159). This innocence/seductress    dichotomy of virginity and innocence may play a part in the  whole scenario of child sexual abuse.

       The patristic fathers were by and large all affected by    the Greek Platonic dualism of the day. Thus the Christian church  shifted  from a Biblical "naturalistic" religion  of this-worldly   hope....to  an...alienated   experience   of  reality  ...expressed  in  a dualistic  doctrine  of  being." (Reuther, 1974,  p.151). 

Because  the fathers are by and large neo-Platonists, they accepted for the most part neo-Platonist dualism. This dualism is an ontological dualism, whereas  the  dualism  of the Bible  is  a  not-too-deeply-thought-out observation and description of natural  overlay by faith-a "salvation history". For the Biblical writers,  the dualism between the natural and fallen estate is not an ontological category-for the patristics it is. The result       of  these writings was that by the end of the patristic era  the  attitude  of the church towards sex was  in  the  main suspicious  and pessimistic. Yet no clearly defined theology emerged (Nelson, 1978, p. 54).

       By the early middle ages, the writings of the "penitentials"  reflect  that the church had, probably by  way  of practical necessity, moved some distance from Stoicism  in regard to human sexuality The attitude towards sexuality  were  influenced  to a large degree by the  faulty  anthropology  prevailing at  the  time   For example, married couples  were  exhorted to abstain from sexual  intercourse during  menstruation because it was thought to  deform  the baby if one resulted (Kosnik, 1979,   p. 56). Further, the  sperm  were  thought to contain a  little  "homunculus", a  perfectly  formed miniscule male infant, which traveled to the womb to be incubated there. If the sperm which impregnated  the woman encountered any hardship on its  hazardous  journey, it  was said to have been deformed into a  female child! Despite the faulty anthropology, this period in  Catholic  thought in general moved some distance from  the   body-fearing  Stoicism to a more human-centered  understanding of human sexuality (Kosnik , 1979, p.58).        With  the  advent of Scholasticism in the  high  middle  ages, and  particularly  the theology of  Thomas  Aquinas, Roman Catholic sexual ethics approached the point at  which it  stayed from the eleventh century until the nineteenth  century. Aquinas views pleasure in the sexual act as  not  wrong  if  governed  by reason. His natural  law theory,  however,   according to Nelson, led his successors to a kind of  sexual  laundry list  dominated  by  "thou-shalt-nots".                  "Procreation   remained   as  the   only                 legitimation of sexual  activity.  Further, the                 Thomistic distinction between acts `in accordance                 with  nature’ and acts `contrary to nature’ was                 diligently maintained. The former type of sexual                 act preserves the procreative possibility hence                 a  sexual  sin in accordance with  natural  was  a                 lesser violation of the moral order than was that                 sin  contrary to natural in which procreation  was                 impossible. The lesser violations (though still                 serious  sins)  included  fornication, adultery,                 incest,   and  rape.  Acts contrary to nature                 include masturbation, homosexual acts, and bestiality.                (Nelson,  1978, p.279). The curious conclu-                 sion  to which such reasoning could lead is  that

masturbation  is  a greater moral  evil  than  is rape! (Nelson,   1978,   p.57).        But  more important to our study here is that  masturbation in this system is a greater moral evil than incestHence many  men  raised in the Catholic pre-Vatican II  traditionally  molest  their children for a number of  reasons--   not  the least  of which is the "repetition compulsion to which  we have  alluded--  but rationalize their choice by alluding to Catholic theology that states that adultery or that masturbation would be a greater moral evil.        It  was  in the twentieth century that  major  advance occurred  in  the area of Catholic  moral/sexual  theology. Many  factors influenced this development, among them  new developments  in theology which led to a more  person-centered approach to sexual ethics and new insights  to  human  sexuality  from  the behavioral sciences. The  advent  of  birth  control  pills and easier access to other contraception as well as a growing concern about overpopulation led to  the  second Vatican Council’s  consideration  of  human sexuality  in  its  treatise of The Church  in  the  Modern  World. In this treatise the doctrine of thought of the  procreative  is rejected for the unitive in the sexual act.  This  is  a major breakthrough  in  Catholic  thought, but implementation  of  this theology down to the parish  level  takes time.  The majority of people we will see as  ministers  and parish priests in the foreseeable future will  be people raised under the old, Thomistic theology and accordingly shaped (Kosnik, 1979, p. 67).

      Human Sexuality in the Liberal Protestant Tradition.

       The  sixteenth century Protestant reformation did  some  things to overcome negative sexual  theology was ambivalent. Both Luther and Calvin, in their emphasis  of  salvation by grace alone and not by works  of  the law, denounced the monastic tradition which had flourished earlier  in the church. Marriage was lifted  to  at  least  an  equal with celibacy, and in Luther’s  case  was commended above celibacy. But Luther saw marriage as necessity only  because of the force  of  lust. "A  positive affirmation of sexuality evaded him. (Nelson,1978,p.55).

       Luther  believed  that  the shame associated  with  the  sexual  union is itself sin and a result of the  fall. He  believed  that  the  body was in itself  neutral  and  that  lustful  thoughts  proceeded from an evil  heart, again  a  result  of the fall. "Vice" according to Luther  in  his   writing, Inerrationea in Muse- "is not cured by abstaining from  things  given  by  God but  by  proper  use  and  governance of them" (Ruether, 1974, p.298).

       Calvin largely agreed with Luther but Calvin emphasized hat  companionship  and not procreation and  restraint  of lust  was  the chief end of  marriage. Calvin  argues  in opposition  to  Luther that the wife, instead of  being  a receptacle  for the seed of the male and a "proper" object of  his  desire, was instead to be a lifelong  friend  and  companion  of  him. However,   Calvin`s doctrine of  the absolute  depravity of fallen humanity mitigated this  doctrine and  the ambiguity of sexuality and  moral  theology continue  in  this bipolar fashion through  the  next  few  centuries. (For  a  fuller explanation of this  trait  in Calvin, the  reader  is directed to Demosthenes  Savramis’  book, The Satanizing of Woman- Religion Versus Sexuality, Doubleday,   1974,   page 7¸ and following  (Nelson,  1978,  p.56).

       The theology of the reformers paved the way for liberal Protestantism  to  lessen  the effects of 

Catholic  sexual  theology. But  the positive strains which  the  reformers  opened  were  mitigated in the West, especially England and the United States, during  the  nineteenth  century by the Victorian era. On the one hand, the evangelical revivals of the period paved the way for a new humanitarianism. There was an increased fervor for the  poor, for education (the Sunday School movement, and for working conditions (Walker, 1918,   p.502).  But on the other hand, the Victorian morality of the times ensured that  sexuality and  treatment  of women and pre-marital sex  was  censured heavily.

 

      

 

 

Hillary and Mary Evans, in their work,   "The Victorians—At Home and at Work" state:

             The  Victorians were great crusaders. When they                 had got hold of a cause, they would fight for it                 doggedly—Plimsoll for the living conditions  of                 sailors, Shaftesbury  for the working conditions                 of  factory children,   Florence  Nightingale  for                 better  hospital  conditions, Stear  for  child                 prostitutes. But  not every crusader was  suc-                 cessful; no  crusade can for long succeed if  it                 runs counter to human naturae or the spirit of the                 times. The  crusaders  against  `sensational’                 literature could clean up the worst excesses  of                 the pornographic trade, but they could not ulti-                 mately   succeed  because  humans  are  naturally                 interested in …. sex. (Evans & Evans,                 1973,p.85)

       This was the age of devices placed upon children at  night  to  keep them from touching their genitals. This was  the age  of  women begging their doctors  for  clitoridectomies because they were enjoying sex—and worse, doctors accommodating them (Hellerstein, 1981,   p.177). This was the age  of  sexual  hypocrisy, in which  an  evangelical  morality  exhorted  a  sex-negative  standard which went  counter  to  natural impulses.                  "It  is not too much to say that, more  than                 any others single factor, the Evangelical Movement                 in  the  Church of England transformed the  whole                 character of English society and imparted to  the                 Victorian  age  that moral earnestness which  was                 its   distinguishing  characteristic--   a   moral                 earnestness  which  was perhaps  especially  con-                 spicuous in the Victorian agnostics of the 1800’s                 who  inherited it from the Evangelical  tradition

itself  against  which they  were  in  rebellion. (BBC, 1949, p.9).

      This mechanism of sexual repression issues forth in its own opposite  in obsession with sexual fantasies. This can be seen  in  the Victorian  underculture  (Hellerstein, 1981, p.411). Thus Victorian society was a schizoid society  in regard to morals and moral theology.

       Miller (1984, in her study Thou Shalt Not Be  Aware,  states:

             If we picture [Freud’s readers, the women of the                 bourgeoisie of that day, with their elegant long                 dresses  that hid their ankles, and the men with                 their  stiff  white collars and  faultlessly  cut                 suits  (for  it can hardly be supposed  that  his                 books were read by the working class, it is not                 hard to imagine the outrage and indignation  that                 would have greeted the fact presented above. The                 indignation would not have been directed  against                 this  forms of child abuse per se but against the                 man  who dared to speak about it. For  most  of                 these  refined people were firmly convinced  from                 an early age that only fine, noble,  valiant and                 edifying  deeds  and subjects ought to be  talked                 about  publicly and that what they as adults  did                 behind  closed doors in their  elegant  bedrooms                 very definitely had no place in print. Satisfying                 sexual  desires with children was nothing bad  in                 

their eyes as long as silence was preserved, for                 they were convinced that no harm would be done to                 the children unless the matter was discussed with                 them. Therefore,   the  acts they performed were                 shrouded in silence,  as if children were  dolls,                 for  they firmly believed a doll would never know                 or  tell what had been done to it. In order  to                 ensure  discretion, children were  not  sexually                 enlightened; their  erotic  activities—such  as                 touching  their  genitals or  masturbating—and                 any  show of interest in sexual matters  were                 forbidden. At the same time, they were raised in                 the  Spirit of the Fourth Commandment (honor  thy

                father  and mother, and their entire life  was                 dominated by the principle of respect for  their                 parents. Children  thus  had to come to  terms,                 without  anyone to help them, with the  irrecon-                 cilable contradiction  that it  was  filthy  and                depraved  to touch their own genitals but that it

 was  also wrong of them not to allow an adult  to

 play with their body (Miller, 1984, p.153)

       This  legacy is the heritage continued to the  liberal-fundamentalist  split in American Christendom in the 1920’s and the legacy which all Protestants in America inherited.

       The Neo-Orthodox Movement in the mid-twentieth  century saw  some progress being mad in moral theology, but again the  theology  as a whole was ambiguous  and  erratic.  H. Richard  Niebuhr (1963) laid the foundation for a  progressive moral theology with the articulation of a theology  of  "response" in  his  book "The Responsible  Self"  and  other writings.

       In " terms, the question "What shall I do?" may  be answered in three ways:  "I shall do what is right;"  "I  shall  do  what is good;"  and "I shall do what is best  or fitting."

       Niebuhr categorized those persons who would answer  the question by raising as prior the

question,

what is right?"  as those who would categorize human beings as primarily  citizen. These  persons  are called  deontologists,  from deontos—the duty.  Deontologists would understand history as  understanding the laws the citizens  of  history  were obeying. And deontologists would characterize human sexuality as  a sea of laws built into the scheme of things  by which  all persons would be compelled to  obey. Christian deontologists would characterize sexual behavior as a  God-given  sea  of rules and regulations those rules found  in  the Bible) by which human persons must conduct their sexual activities or be found outside grace.

       Those persons who would answer the question by  raising as  prior  the question,   "What is my goal or  ideal?"  are called teleologists. Teleologists—from telos (end or goal to which a movement is being directed)--understand anthropology  and sociology as human beings in society  and community. They  understand history as understanding what  ideals the society was striving toward, and would characterize human sexuality as striving toward the highest  good,  that which is sea forth in nature. Christian teleologists, many of whom are Roman Catholic, follow Aquinas in defining   the  "highest good" in sexuality to be the  procreation  of  children.  They  would  therefore characterize  as  "good"  anything that could be demonstrated to produce a child, and "bad" anything that could not, as has already been stated.

      According  to Niebuhr, a better approach toward  moral  theology  is  through  relationalism. Relationalists  are  those  persons who would answer the question by raising the  prior  question, "What  is  the  most   appropriate?"  --or responsible--  thing  to do?" A relationalist would  understand sociology and anthropology as describing human beings in relationship. History is understood best as a description of the question,  "To what challenges was the society or individual responding?" Relationalists characterize human sexuality as responding to what is most appropriate  or  most  fitting.  A Christian relational ethicist would  ask  the question, "What is the most responsible thing to do in  this sex-relational situation?"regardless of the rule,  or  highest  good.  Actions would be characterized as more  or  less  responsible  according to a continuum rather  than  a two-sided, dualistic, "right-wrong" judgment.

      Although Niebuhr’s work was an important groundwork for  modern sexual ethicists such as Nelson, other Neo-Orthodox theologians were not so charitable. Barth,   for instance, "rejects  any  view  that would make men and  women  equal,   because  the sexual differentiation itself is the  sign  of  limitation  proper to the creature. Where the relation is  one  of equality and oneness in being in  the  Trinity,   in (hu)man(s)  the  relation is one of duality  and  inequality"   (Ruether, 1974, p.325). Barth thought that neither man nor  woman was complete without the others and from that  incompleteness   issues  the  functional  difference  in  roles.      Should  woman attempt to overcome that differentiation  she  falls into the sin of pride. Although Barth’s writings of   human sexuality itself were limited, by extension of  this  theology, he  has  contributed to the current  silence  in  liberal Protestantism in the area of child sexual abuse.        In Barth’s theology, obedience plays a key role. Woman (and child) must be obedient to man. Here "the qualitative  difference  between God and humans has been extended to man and woman/child! (Ruether, 1974,  p.325). The emphasis is of authority of man and obedience and subservience in women and children.  Thus woman receives her sexuality only from man  and by logical extension has no independent  sexuality  of her own. Of course, neither does man have an independent  sexuality  of his own—the key difference is that the  male position is the dominant one in the complementarity. Children are to be obedient to the male in the household. But  what if the male is sexually abusing the child?  Barth did  not address this question (Barth, 1960).        Thus liberal Protestantism fared little better than did  Thomistic  Catholicism  in  the  area  of  moral  theology.    Steeped in Victorian Evangelical morality,  Liberal Protestantism arrived to the latter half of the twentieth century almost  as ill-equipped to deal with the sexual  revolution  as Roman Catholicism.

Human Sexuality in Conservative/Fundamentalist  Moral Theology"

       The   history   of  conservative   and   fundamentalist  Christian  moral theology parallels that of liberal Protestantism  until  the  liberal/fundamentalist  split  of  the 1920’s,   at   which   point  the   paths   diverge   quite considerably.  This  parallel must be modified by a  brief discussion  of the strains of Anabaptist and Puritan  piety  manifest in modern fundamentalism and conservatism.

       The Anabaptist influence can be seen in the emphasis of   a  church  life  drawn apart from a  corrupt  culture,  and evangelistic  zeal,  and  a determination to transform  the  political community into the kingdom of God (Fackre,  1982, p.13).  Puritan  piety  is  manifest in  an  abhorrence  of  "pleasure"  and hedonistic  practice»  indeed,  some  might  interpret   conservative/fundamentalist  pronouncements  as totally anti-body,  anti-pleasure,  anti-world. H. Richard  Niebuhr  (1951) would characterize this Christianity  as  a  manifestation  of  the stance of Christ against  Culture.   Many  are  more legalistic and rationalistic  than  liberal  Protestants.   There   may  be  a  conspicuous   religious   nationalism married to fundamentalism.       Gabriel  Fackre (1982) in his book about the  religious  right,   lists   a   typology  of  Christian   conservatives/fundamentalists that would include the following:

       1. Fundamentalists are characterized by an adherence to       "seven fundamentals" including Biblical innerancy,  separatism,  sectarian strains, and a militancy in defense of its   doctrines

       2.  Old Evangelicals or born-again Christians  stress       the  conversion  experience  and  holiness,   and  are  not typically militant or usually apocalyptic

       3.  New  Evangelicals insist on the relevance of faith   to  culture,  stress  intellectual ability  and 

orthodoxy.       They  roughly correspond to the readership of  Christianity  Today.

4.  Justice and Peace Evangelicals express their faith in more radical political and ecclesial action and they can  be  exemplified  by periodicals also,  The Other  Side  and   Sojourners.    These   Christians,   from   Anabaptist/high  Calvinist perspectives, critique Christian accommodation to  American culture.       5.  Charismatic Evangelicals are sometimes  apolitical   but are increasingly social action oriented,  and emphasize  charismata as listed in I Corinthians 12-1´ (Fackre,  1982,  p.18).

       During  the era of the fundamentalist-liberal split  in America in the 1920’s,  polemic waxed loud and  strident  concerning the "modernism" of the liberals. In reaction to  this  "modernism,"  fundamentalists (whose "five points  of  fundamentalism"  had been articulated at the  beginning  of   the  controversy late in the nineteenth century at the wane  of the Victorian era),  went sharply the others way.  These "five  fundamentals" included the inerrancy  of  Scripture,  the deity of Jesus,  the virgin birth,  the substitutionary atonement,  and the bodily resurrection and return of Jesus.  (Walker, 1918, p.517).       By  1930 the resolute drive to oust liberals from  their  denominations  had  failed for  fundamentalists,  and  they withdrew    into   independent   churches   and    splinter  denominations. From these splinter denominations grew modern fundamentalism.  It is interesting to note that, in the beginning, these  churches  were  absolutely quietist  in  the  social  sphere.  In fact,  documents of the early preaching of such activist  fundamentalists as Jerry Falwell reveal that this  quietism  was evident throughout the 1960’s  (Young,  1982,  p.27).  Then,  for a variety of reasons,  not the least an  apprehension  of the viability of the activist  tactics  of  the liberal church,  fundamentalism burst forth in the late 1970’s  and  early  1980’s with an activism  unequalled  in  history.  Largely due to the electronic media,  these  new  fundamentalists have gained a large audience from whence to  level their attacks of the sexual mores of society.

       In  matters  sexual,  fundamentalists have  entrenched  themselves in Victorian morality.  Fackre says about  the  fundamentalist:

            Violation  of  sexual norms and  the  theoretical                 legitimation  of  this breakdown come  under  the                 severest  attack;  homosexual practice  and  its                 defense  as an "alternative lifestyle";  abortion                 and its pro-choice ideologues;  pre-marital  sex,                 adultery,  and  divorce;  sex  education  in  the                 public  school—which  is believed  to  encourage                 sexual  promiscuity;  feminism  and  its  alleged                 denial   of   the  hierarchical   family   order,                 encouragement    of   lesbianism   and    general                 promiscuity,  and destruction of true femininity;                 governmental  endorsement  and  encouragement  of                 feminist  goals;   promulgation  in  the   media,                 especially  television  and cinema,  of  all  the                 foregoing;   the  beat  of  rock  music  and  the                 rhythms and habitat of the disco which contribute                 to the atmosphere of moral degeneracy;  the easy                 availability  of  modern  literature,   with  its                 sexual   promiscuity   and  deviancy  in   public                 schools  and public libraries»  the  pornographic  magazine

   and   book  trade   which   feeds   on                 contemporary  prurience;   the  liberal  church’s                 flirtation  with situation ethics in its teaching                 of sexuality; and the general breakdown of family

   life manifested in and facilitated by all these trends" (Fackre, 1982, p.8)

       Alongside  the  near-obsession with the sexual sins  of society,  emphasis of authoritarianism also has been  taken to  the extreme.  If Barth emphasized the authority of the  male,  the fundamentalist is super-authoritarian. The fundamentalist  can be said to have allowed the male to  usurp   the  role of God in male domination,  a charge  leveled  at Barth by Romero, to the extreme (Ruether, 1974, p.324).

   Given  these repressive views toward sex education  and  sexuality in general,  it comes as no surprise that experts charge that child sexual abusers are more authoritarian and  tend    to    be   more   religious   than   the general  population (Summitt, 1983, p.182).

Our study will presently bear this out. One problem of  fundamentalist/conservative  moral theology is that it  too  narrowly defines "the line" beyond which one may not cross. Acts are seen in black and white with no grays.  There  is  no understanding of continuums in this theology.  When one  is  taught the maxim of Jesus that to think a sin is as bad  as  to do it,  why not go ahead and do it?  So if  one  is thinking thoughts about one’s child,  for some it is not so  hard  a step to the act of sexual abuse.  For others,  the theology   that  children  are  one’s  property  and   male  authoritarianism   and  theology  of  obedience  leads   to  rationalization that sexual abuse is permitted.  Or perhaps  the low impulse control and previous conditioning leads  to  the   sexual  abuse  and  then  the  theology  is  used  to  rationalize the abuse that has already occurred? Arguments of this sort are rather like arguing which came first,  the  chicken or the egg.  The point is that the theology  needs  reworking so as to not lend support to a betrayal of trust.       The surprising fact that although other types of incest are  specifically prohibited in the Bible, incest with one’s son or  daughter is not prohibited can lead a man who has  been  taught that the Bible is a rulebook with all the rights and  wrongs  contained in it to conclude that it is all right to  commit incest with his child

       Although  this has been a rather lengthy discussion  of the  theologies  which  lead us to where we  are  in  moral theology  as it applies to child sexual abuse,  it has been needful to apprehend a historical picture of the failure of  American  Christendom  to respond to the  crisis  of  child  sexual abuse.  Although liberal Protestantism has given us  the best tools to deal with the crisis,  the tools need now       to be honed and begun to be used. We now turn to the task  of explicitly articulating the problem as we have it today.      

 

The Child Sexual Abuse Problem  in American Society Today

       The  typical  offender  in child sexual  abuse  is  not obviously "perverted".  They tend to be hard-working,  devoted  family  men  who appear of the average  to  be  more educated,  law-abiding and religious than average. Summitt says:

             The  prevailing  reality for  the  most  frequent                 victim  of child sexual abuse in not a street  of                 schoolground   experience  and  not  some  mutual                 vulnerability  to  oedipal  temptation,   but  an                 unprecedented, relentlessly progressive intrusion                 of sexual acts by an overpowering adult in a one-                 sided victim-perpetrator relationship.  The fact                 the  perpetrator  is  often  in  a  trusted   and                 apparently  loving  position only  increases  the

imbalance  of power and underscores the  helplessness of the child (Summitt, 1983, p. 182-83).

 

       The FBI manual of pedophilia states:

             The incestuous father is typically authoritarian,                 domineering,  and  inspires  fear in  his  family                 (Meiselman II,  57).  His demonstration of power                 typically  manifests itself in a tendency to  be                 overcontrolling and overtly restrictive. He may                 require  that his daughter come  home  directly                 after school and, [when she is old enough] forbid                 her  to interact socially with boys her own age.                 Frequently  the father exercises control  through                 excessive  disciplinary actions or  by  granting                 the victim special factors. These favors alienate                 the   victim   from   the  mother  as   well   as                 siblings,  who  may be jealous and  perceive  the

                child as being spoiled by the father (FBI,  1984, p.7).

 

 

Having said all this,  let us now deal with the theological and  practical  problems which arise from this theology  as clergy  today attempt to grapple with the problem of  child sexual abuse. First to be mentioned is the problem of denial.  Often  there  is  an unwillingness of the part of  the  clergy  to admit that such problems exist (at least in their congregations)  to the extent that the social service people  indicate.  The  attitude  is  that since  they  are  Christian people,  and  God is to some extent with them,  they do not have  these problems.  Churches want to hold to  the  myth  that their faith in God takes care of all worldly problems.       Many  clergy  are loath to examine just how their  theology  may help perpetuate child sexual abuse. Repressive sexuality was "the way they learned,  the way it’s always  been  done, and the way it should always be done." They fear the consequences of an open and honest stance toward sexuality.  They fail to see how repressive sexuality reaps its own reward.  As Ruether says, "The by-product of violent libidinal  repression  ....generates  its own  opposite  in  vivid  sensual fantasizing under the guise  of  antisensual  polemics" (Reuther, 1974, p.172).  One need only note just  how  many "Freudian slips" in the church are  sexual;  just   how  many hymns and liturgies  contained  veiled,  probably   subconscious  sexual  messages  to recognize the  truth  in  Ruether’s comment.        Within  churches,  there is the problem of  the  myriad  ways  to  approach Biblical interpretation.  For the  more conservative church,  obviously many passages can be interpreted to fortify the authoritarian position of the father.   Delaplane states,  "A child protective service worker  complained  to  a victim advocate that he went to a  house  to  remove  an  abused child and was confronted by  the  father   with the objection, `What do you mean I can’t beat my childż I’m a Christian!’" (Delaplane n.d., p.3).        The  reality  of the situation is that  many  Catholics  have  grown  up in a pre-Vatican II world in which sex  was  highly  repressed and thus are dysfunctional in this  area.  In  fact,  Catholics are disproportionately represented  in  the ranks of criminals and child sexual abusers (Renvoize, 1982,p.86).  The failure of Thomistic theology in this area  is  too often demonstrated by the sexual wounded-ness pastoral counselors see in the lives of Roman Catholics. Kosnik  states,  "inadequate  theology......fails to formulate  the  Christian ideal in a manner faithful to fundamental  values  yet also (be) responsive to the changing historical,  sociological,  and  cultural conditions in which this ideal must  be  realized" (Kosnik, 1979, p.98).        Liberal Protestants did not escape the fruits of  their authoritarian  heritage.  Clarence Snelling,  professor of practical  theology at Iliff School of  Theology,  told  me that in his generation,  person after person came to him as  pastor  and told stories of being sexually abused by  their  fathers.  Snelling’s generation was the 1920’s-world war II  generation  (Snelling,  1985).  While there are  signs  of redemption  of  the horizon in liberal  Protestantism,  the   heritage has been,  as has been demonstrated,  a reaping of  theologized  Victorian morality.  Perhaps liberal  Protestants  have escaped more lightly than have  fundamentalists  or Roman Catholics, but the results are there nevertheless.       Fundamentalists  have  reaped the  whirlwind  of  their  reaction  to "liberalism" of the late nineteenth and  early  twentieth centuries.  " Religion serves,  in many ways,  to   impede  the  development  of flexible  thinking  processes.      This  ultimately results in adult thinking that  is  rigid,   confined,  and stereotypical" (Chesen, 1972, p.8). The results  of  religious dogmatism are psychologically  that  a religious  "fail-safe" is built in to the mind  to  protect   from  any new information which might challenge the core of  dogmatic faith.  A dogmatic thinker is protected by his or  her religious fail-safe from the surrounding new input  and  can  avoid and shut out consideration of the conflict altogether.  The  mind tells the individual simply that he  or  she is right.  His or her "faith" tells him or her so. In  this  way the dogmatic/authoritarian thinker  is  protected  from any consideration that he/she might be wrong.  Fundamentalism too often thrives of dogmatic thinking"  (Chesen, 1972, p.26).       In both Protestant and Catholic  fundamentalism,  "profound lifelong religious indoctrination" may assume the form of  a  punitive conscience in the adult.  This  serves  to  stifle the person’s conscious recognition of normal drives; they  are  therefore unable to deal with them in  times  of  stress" (Chesen, 1972, p.34).       In the case of child sexual abuse,  the abuser is often an abused child himself.  In these cases, he is often only repeating  a behavior that he has learned and in many cases  there is a sort of "repetition compulsion" involved—if  he can  just  repeat the experience over and over through  his  own son/daughter,  perhaps he can get it right; heal his own inner wounded child!  In  other cases,  repressive  sexuality has tended to lie dormant  in  the  subconscious,  building as the basic sexual drive went  unrequited  and  finally exploding in child  sexual  abuse, which the offender may have rationalized as more acceptable  than masturbation, an affair, or sex with a prostitute.

       Had  the theology of the person allowed him to  lead  a  more  permissive life in which the volatile sexual emotions were acknowledged,  the person would have been more  likely  to  have been able to allow those drives to be expressed in more  socially acceptable ways.  As our study  will  demonstrate,  less rigid,  more democratic family style and less authoritarianism  leads to less sexual  abuse.  Presumably  one  of the tenets of democratic child-rearing is  openness  for children to learn and explore sexuality.

       Renvoize states,  "it is in sexually severe,  not sexually  lax,  families,  that children are most in danger of sexual abuse" (Renvoize, 1982, p.105). And Finkelhor (1979) found  that  girls  with  mothers who punished  them  for  asking  questions  about sex or for exploring their own bodies were  75%  more vulnerable to sexual abuse than was  the  typical  girl  in the study (Renvoize,  1982,p.98).  Thus the open, democratic approach to sexuality leads children out of  the  path of sexual abuse and to a healthier,  happier lifestyle  and less social disturbance of the family. But fundamentalist theology does not allow for such flexibility.        T.  W. Adorno and his colleagues made a study (1950) of   the  authoritarian personality shortly after World War  II. His  raw  data suggested that "only fully  conscious,  very  articulate, unconventional Christians are likely to be free of....authoritarianism" (Adorno, 1950, p.743).  His  study  suggested  that  either  fundamentalist  religion  produced  authoritarians or authoritarians were drawn to  fundamentalist  religions.  But the data suggested that these  religions  were  selected  not because of any  deep  piety  but because  of the fact that these religions provided a structure  in  which the authoritarian  personality  felt safe.       Fundamentalism, in short, was effective because it provided   the  authoritarian  personality  with a clear-cut  list  of "do’s  and  dont’s";  something  "to hold on to"  (Adorno,  1950, p. 734).

       One  such  interview  by Adorno led  to  the  following  conclusions  concerning  the authoritarian personality  and  religion:  (1)  a restrictive superego in  which  material   pleasure  is denied and obeying and being obeyed is highly  regarded;  (2) a compulsive and punitive religious  belief;   (3)  an overly rigid conscience which,  however,  may  show strains of ambivalence; (4) a God-concept which is confused  with an earthly,  strong,  helpful, "father" (Adorno, 1950,  p. 737).       This pattern found in the  fundamentalist-authoritarian leads to an overly adjusted, conformist individual. He/she both  loves and hates the "father" and transfers this ambivalence  onto groups and persons with  lesser  power,  both politically and physically. Any person or group who threaten  the "status quo" threatens the authoritarian-religious as usurpers of control. The identification of the authoritarian  character  with  strength  automatically   excludes anyone  and everything that is regarded as "down",  "weak", "non-strength". This is accomplished with moral invectives  reinforced  by selective proof-texted Biblical  Scriptures. (Adorno, 1950, p.759).

       It  is worth noting that the above description  of  the  authoritarian-religious in no way applies only to Christian  fundamentalists.  Jewish  fundamentalists (strict Hasidim)  and Moslem Ayatollahs and their followers also exhibit  the  same  degree  of rigidity.  Everywhere authoritarianism  is  authoritarianism   and  fundamentalism  is   fundamentalism (Adorno, 1950, p.759).       Thus  it  is that we arrive to the latter part  of  the  twentieth  century  with a confused and  confusing  sea  of Christian/cultural  sexual ethics.  Adding to this problem  is the practical fact that the advent of the birth  control  pill in the 1950’s and 1960’s has ushered in a new paradigm       in sexual ethics. No longer able to suppress female sexuality with the fear of getting pregnant, society casts about  for  a new anchor,  some new foundation with which to regulate sexual behavior.  Some will, no doubt, take refuge in  old,  secure sexual mores. But this shift in paradigm will  not allow,  practically,  these old forms to function  much  longer.  The  confusion  we  see in the area  of  sex-role definition, sexual behavior, turmoil in the Western nuclear  family,  and  child  sexual abuse are combinations  of  all these factors to challenge us as Christians to re-think our  moral and sexual theology.  It is to this task I now turn.

 

 

Healing the Problem: Toward a Christian sexual theology that can become a part of the solution.

       As  we analyze the three strains of Christianity  which   we  spent some length in the last section reviewing,  we find  problems within each that will hinder our search  for   healing our cultural sexual schisms. Within fundamentalism that same rigidity which  creates   the  authoritarian problem prevents its healing.  Further,  fundamentalism’s extreme individualistic natural focuses any   treatises  of  sexual mores of the individual and  not  the   system. For example, some books of child sexual abuse have  begun  to surface in the conservative Christian  community.       One of these is David B.  Peters(1986),  who has written  a   book,  A  Betrayal of Innocence,  about child sexual  abuse from  a  conservative Christian standpoint.  Some  of  his   insights  are valid and certainly anything written for conservative  Christians serves to break the silence  surrounding  child sexual abuse and dispel some of the myths  concerning  this  pervasive problem.  For  example,  Peters recognizes  that incest is a real problem for the  modern   family  and  tends not to scapegoat "secular  humanism"  or  homosexuals  or Communists for these  problems.  The  main  problem  with  the  book,  in my opinion,  is the  lack  of critique of a system which would through its  authoritarian  natural  and system of Biblical interpretation reinforce the offender and not the victim.

       One  of  the  major  things that  can  be  accomplished  through the fundamentalist/conservative Christian camp is a  commitment  to  a reinterpretation of the Bible  and  other  Jewish and Christian traditions.  Many Bible passages  can  be interpreted to fortify the defense that "the husband and  father is the head of the house and, therefore, can enforce   the  obedience  of  his wife or children as he  sees  fit"(Delaplane,  n.d.,  p.2).  But even within the traditional  prooftexting style of Biblical interpretation,  value judgments  must  be  made.  Gay rights proponents  within  the church have long asserted that this type of value  judgment  is made concerning Levitical law. Persons who condemn homosexuality  of  the basis of Levitical law  regularly  admit  "maimed"  persons to the priesthood,  eat  shellfish,  rare  steak,  and wear trousers. This, claim proponents of homosexuality,  represents  a  value judgment to adhere to  one component of Levitical law and ignore others.

       If  conservative  Christians are intellectually  honest  they  will admit that there are value judgments within  the  prooftext.  Given  that reality,  it is a small  thing  to begin  to  emphasize the very high ethic of compassion  and  justice  which is inherent in the overall emphasis  of  the  Bible and specific to certain texts. Many people are leery of the harsh accounts of the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet, it is significant  that historically among Jewish people down  to  the   present  day  the  tradition  of  protection  of  the vulnerable is a given.  Certainly no one would find justification for abuse of a spouse or child in the teachings of Jesus,  and St.  Paul’s teaching in the epistles regarding  parental  authority and spousal relations  contain  mitigations  in this regard,  upholding the highest standards  of  mutual respect. In this sense, fundamentalists and conservative  Christians  may begin to emphasize justice for  the child abuse victim while still holding their same method of Biblical interpretation.        Systemic problems within conservative Christianity  and  fundamentalism are less pliable,  because religious institutions are generally accepted,  for all of their imperfections,  as representative of God. And when teachings occur of  "spare the rod and spoil the child",  as appeared in  a  recent article in the Long Beech Press-Telegram, many children  find  themselves feeling that they are at  fault  and abuse,  physical and/or sexual,  is what they deserve since daddy is to be obeyed (Rosemond,  1986).  Presently I will  set  forth  an ethic based on agape which  will  address  a  tentative solution to some of these systemic problems.

      Within the Roman Catholic tradition, teleology mandates that  moral  theologians grapple with what is the  "highest  good" for humanity and the world.  The question for  them, as has been stated,  is "what is the goal of this act?" By  following  the  Aquinian tradition of defining the goal  of  sexual acts as procreation alone,  this moral theology  has  had  problems moving into this new moral paradigm with  the advent of the birth control pill. Further assumptions that  Aquinas  borrowed from Aristotle were false anthropological  assumptions about the nature of women.  These  assumptions   can be critiqued based of the same arguments that were used  to  critique Aquinas; assumptions about human sexuality  in  the last chapter, that they were based on male observations  in  "nature".  These assumptions led to the erroneous conclusion  that natural always intended to produce males so  a   woman is a man gone wrong (Nelson, 1978, p.63). Again, this point  is reinforced by natural law perspective,  with  the real  danger  being  that  woman will  be  reduced  to  the procreative role.       The theory of natural law is supposed to have the great advantage  of being objectively based and rationally defensible  as a basis for moral judgment.  Yet  when  examined closely  it  is seen to be too narrowly defined as  Aquinas has  it  in that it defines "nature" only  in  the  spatio-temporal sphere. Further, in its detailed prescriptions it become  unclear,  irrelevant and inapplicable to modern society.  If the prescriptions do not become irrelevant they  become accommodated to the changes of society.  And lastly, as we have demonstrated, they become absurd, as in the case of the masturbation vs. incest dilemma. Therefore, as D.J. O’Conner (1967) concludes, the theory of natural law is, in  finality,  as relativist as any other (O’Conner, 1967, p. 79).       But  neither  do we throw the baby out  with  the  bath water.  We  cannot deal with our sexuality apart from some  understanding of nature.  What is being repudiated here is  not natural law per se,  but Aquinas’ particular  interpretation of natural law.  To consistently reinterpret natural law and ourselves is always necessary.

       Other  problems  with the Roman Catholic stance are  (1)  tradition,  particularly those traditions that are grounded  in the cultural sexism of the modern times and those traditions  which  ignore  "the growing  gap  between  what  the  Catholic  Church  officially teaches in matters sexual  and what  the  faithful  have come  to  believe (mainly through science) and  practice" (Kosnik,  1979,  p.98),  and (2) the authority of the Pope. The  latter  may  be interpreted as a sign  of  advance  or  conservativism  depending  of the persuasion of  the  Pope.      This  present Pope (John Paul II) has not thus far shown any proclivity to progressive reform in sexual theology;  in fact,  quite the  opposite is the case.        The  liberal Protestant moral theology has been  critiqued  by feminist theologians such as Ruether and  Harrison for seeing the world colored through western glasses tinted by "modern institutions of marriage,  family relations, and sexuality."  Liberation theologians have criticized  relational  ethics of the grounds that they are too romantic in  the area of community, family and conflict. Harrison says,     

  "I  suspect  Protestant  liberal  intimacy-romanticism  has       combined  [in American culture] to create a scenario  of  a       perfect  world  where  natural and human  spontaneity  would       merge to end all moral dilemmas (Harrison 1985, p.81).

  Harrison (1983),  in her book on abortion, describes in   more  detail  the historic struggle of women  to  gain  the reproductive  right to their own bodies which current moral  theology  lacks.  Her main criticism of  both  traditional Catholic   and  Protestant  Christianity  is  its  lack  of  balance,  of inclusivity, of allowing the female experience  and  historiography  to be admitted to the  moral  theology debate. This is the "paradigm shift" to which I referred—the  advent  of the birth control pill and  the  scientific possibility for women to—en masse—solve the  problem  of fertility (Harrison, 1983, p.161©.  As Harrison  so  aptly argues,  this  development places procreative power for the  first time in modern history in the hands of women;  and this  is  a powerful and  profound  political  happening  (Harrison 1985, p.125). This is a good sign,  for anything  which  contributes  to  a more open,  democratic  style  in   sexual  matters may contribute to the alleviation of  rape,  child abuse and child sexual abuse.       But  in my opinion,  liberal  Protestant  relationalist  moral  theology  contains embedded in it the strains for  a  most  productive  look at the problem of  the  revision  of  moral  theology  in  the late  twentieth  century.  First, Reinhold   Niebuhr  articulated  a  philosophy  of   norms, particularly  at the level of community,  that  pointed  to reciprocity  and mutual love as a basis for human beings to live together. At the level of institution and society, he advocated  justice based on equality,  which rests  on  the  power  of  the people in that society.  Although  much  of Reinhold  Niebuhr’s  moral theology could be criticized  on the basis of masculinist norms,  at least here are embedded  the seeds of a moral theology that will include a  balanced  male/female participation (Neibuhr, R. 1949, p. 190).       H.  Richard  Niebuhr also articulated a moral  theology  which  encompassed the theory of "responsibility",  or  the  life  which  he  sees  patterned  in  Jesus,  the  life  of response. Ethics is therefore a hermeneutic exercise which involves the person in application of the gospel message of   Jesus   to   make  it  come  alive  in   his/her   everyday life (Niebuhr,  H.R.,  1963,  p.67).  It is on the basis of living  a  life of response that James  Nelson  and  Joseph Fletcher  have  articulated  a  "response-oriented"  sexual ethic.

       On  the  basis  of this articulated  ethic  applied  to sexuality,  "we  are called to respond to the presence  and activity  of  God in the midst of varied and changing  contexts.  We are called to a life of responsible  initiative and creative action in the newness of each situation and in its continuity with the past. Sexual acts are evaluated in  terms  of  their  fittingness  to what  God  is  doing  and intention  in   the   midst   of   human   relationships" (Nelson, 1978, p.120).       Before turning to application of certain moral criteria to child sexual abuse,  It will be helpful to first articulate a moral sexual theology which is a synthesis of fundamentalist,  Catholic  and  liberal Protestant  thought.  A synthesis of these three styles,  while difficult,  is  not  impossible.  It  can be possible that what is fitting  can  also be right and good. But this is not romantic panacaea.   There is no theology without its theology of suffering,  of  the cross.

       The  premises  are that (1) suffering exists,  and  (2) the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus has revealed the full scope of Christian existence,  which is eschatological.  The epistle to the Hebrews quotes Jesus’ prayer in  the  Garden of Gethsemane as revealing the ideal  Christian attitude  toward  existence;  the resurrection is  seen  as  proof  that  the Jesus prayer was  answered.  The  passage suggests  that by reflection of the  suffering,  death  and exaltation  of Jesus,  the Christian community has  learned  that  the Kingdom of God,  for which it prays (and in which love  is  the only effective law because God  is  love)  is already  eschatologically changing the world as we now know  it, and has been doing so for 200° years. God is through the community establishing the kingdom by transforming  the  present world with everything that is in it—nothing excluded—in  the  image of the risen Christ.  That means  that sickness  and suffering,  as we find it in this  world,  is  also  undergoing  the process of  transformation  into  the image and likeness of Christ,  but the process has not come  to  an end.  Christian prayer for the suffering is not for God to make "pie in the sky" but for the divine transformation of the present order of the world and for the gift  of  the  Holy Spirit-agape.  The Pentecostal coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church is the promise of that transformation,  and  everything done in the name of Jesus is  the anticipation  of  the  eschaton.  In  that  eschatological  light, suffering has taken on a new, positive meaning.       In this light the premise,  "no pain,  no gain," can be  verified.  In  the area of sexuality,  women in particular can   testify   to  the   suffering   involved,   if   only   biologically. The first experience of intercourse is painful  to  most  women  but is the  means  to  intimacy  with the beloved.  Childbearing  is suffering but afterwards yields the joy of a new life.  The purpose here is not to glorify suffering  (Biblically,  pain  in childbirth is seen  as  a curse,  as  is all suffering)»  but to emphasize that  when  seen  eschatologically,   suffering can take  on  a  positive meaning. So we bear in mind the critique of romanticism of  the  relational ethic and eschatological romanticism  with the   acknowledgment  of  the  reality  of  the  cross  and  suffering in our moral theology.       I  am grateful to Norman  Pittenger,  Anglican  process  theologian,  for  the insights which follow in my  proposal for   revisions   in   Catholic  moral  theology   and   in fundamentalist theology.  Pittenger,  moving from within a  tradition  which espouses teleology,  advocates making  the  goal of sexual activity agape (Pittenger, 1978, p.65). When the telos of sexuality is love,  the natural law of Aquinas  is  expanded  to include abstract notions  instead  of  the limited Aquinian notion of only tempero-spatial concepts to  be considered in a telos.  Scripturally, the notion of love  as  the end of sexuality can bear up.  Jesus says that to  love God and neighbor as self—on these depend all the  law and  the prophets.  Christian love is therefore by definition  a  participation in the love of God  brought  to  the world in the human being in Jesus Christ. In the Christian  doctrine  of the incarnation we do not see the exception to  the  rule when God became human but the chief  exemplification of all that is good,  noble and human.  Jesus  stands  before  us  as the completion of what God can and  will  do  with  our human striving for becoming who God has  intended us  to  be.  Christian love as the highest moral  category  therefore  offers  us an opportunity to correct  the  self-centered  attitude  that seems so "natural" to  most  human beings—what Reinhold Niebuhr rightly identified as the sin of pride (Niebuhr, R., 1941, p.186ff). Love becomes a moral imperative and not just a sentiment.  Christian love  furthermore  opens  for us the knowledge of who we are in  the becoming.        In  the human existence there is a God-given  drive  to  love,  to express ourselves in love and find in that reciprocity  a fulfillment of others.  The capacity to love  is the most profound truth about humanity—we can love.  The  desire  to  love,  of which sexuality is one of the  signs, even  with all its distortions,  is not accidental;  it  is  integral  to human life and  existence.  Furthermore,  the  love that constitutes the basic category of human existence  will and must always reach out of itself in such a way that  it becomes personal and personalizing, thus contributing to the  creation of the other as a  person  (Pittenger,  1978,  p.77). Receptivity, too, can be and is a creative process.   Reaching out and receiving,  reciprocity of intimacy—this,       too, is part of our human inheritance.        To  ascribe love as the highest good inevitably  forces us  to relativity in choices,  but relativity is pinned  to love.  Thus  relativity is not an "anything goes"  concept but,  as Pittenger says, "the perception that there must be  adaptation  of the central ethical principle to  the  given  situation" (Pittenger, 1978, p.72).        As  Nelson  says,  "Love is not the only  principle  of Christian  sexual  ethics,  but  it  is  the  central  one"  (Nelson,  1978,  p.109).  The  ethical  principle and  the   central ethical norm is God as Love and as Lover.  Related to this central norm are others,  such as freedom, justice, truth, faithfulness, keeper of covenant, hope and peace, to  name a few. Yet it speaks to human beings in their finite and  sinful condition and to the circumstances in which  we  are placed.  And this is both natural and inevitable since we  are being made in the image of God,  an image  that  in  concrete   manifestation  in  our  midst  is  Jesus  Christ  (Pittenger, 1978, p.77).       Catholic  sexuality  begins to admit  strains  of  this  response-based  morality  in  Vatican II in a  paper  which "called  for a renewal of moral theology in which  morality is seen as a vocation,  a way of life,  a total response to God’s  invitation lived out from the depths of  a  person’s  being" (Kosnik, 1979, p.110).  Kosnik  and other  Catholic  moral  theologians are moving to a  more  response-oriented  style of decision-making about moral theology. For example,  Kosnik critiques Aquinian theology on two  fronts:  the  fact that morality cannot merely be objective but  must  also include the subjective  criteria  of  human intent;   and  the  fact that human sexuality is  infinitely more  complex than could have been imagined by  a  medieval  thinker such as Aquinas.        Kosnik  suggests that human sexuality under a telos  of  growth  and integration be judged by certain norms.  Among  these norms are the self-liberating aspect of sexual  activity, the quality of other-enriching growth that can occur,  the  degree  of  honesty,  fidelity and joy  that  the  act  serves,  the degree of social responsibility displayed, and  the  degree  to which the act is life serving  rather  than  life-defeating.  Obviously,  with specific pastoral guidelines,  some  of the more obvious problems of the  Aquinian   theology  that   have  been  articulated  would  be  solved (Kosnik, 1979, p.112ff)       Nelson,  in  articulating a relational ethic with agape  at its core, suggests these guidelines for sexual acts:

             "First, love requires a single standard and not a                 double standard for sexual morality...Second, the                 physical  expression  of  one’s  sexuality   with                 another  person  ought to be appropriate  to  the                 level   of  loving  commitment  present  in  that                 relationship...Third,  genital sexual  expression                 should  be  evaluated in regard  to  motivations,                 intentions, the nature of the act itself, and the                 consequences  of the act,  each of these informed                 and shaped by love" (Nelson, 1978, p. 127).

      The  motive should be love of God,  self and  one’s  sexual partner.  The  intention  should be human fulfillment  and  wholeness.   The  nature  of  the  act  itself  should  be  evaluated in light of wholeness and love.  Some acts, such  as rape or mutilation are inherently wrong. They are wrong  not  only because they are unloving,  but because they  are  unjust.   The   consequences  ought  to  be   weighed   and responsibility taken for the outcome of the act,  as in the  conception of a child,  for example (Nelson,  1978,  p.127- 129).

       These  principles can then be applied to the problem of child sexual abuse. Often, as I have said, there is an unwillingness on the  part of clergy to admit that problems of child sexual abuse exist  in their congregations to the extent that the social service  people  indicate.  Many are afraid it  "would  be  damaging  to their witness" to admit  such  problems.  But  denial  is  a  problem inherent in the whole  child  sexual  abuse  syndrome,  and  if we subscribe  to  the  principles  suggested  above,  we must be honest and confront  reality.       And always the body of Christ has at its best taken on evil  and done its best to eradicate it.        Among the most practical things we can do is to exhibit an  attitude of openness and honesty around the  issues  of  sexuality.  Families  who  are victims of incest  have  an uncanny knack for knowing who may be open to their problems and who may be judg-ment-al, or deny or avoid the problem.

     A  revision of our sexual ethics may be in order to  be able to admit the sexuality of youngsters and to take steps to  protect them based on that knowledge.  While  education  such  as some child sexual abuse experts advocate is a  key approach,  there  are other measures that may be  taken  to protect  children,  which include physically protecting the child  whenever possible and believing a child who  reports sexual abuse. These measures are discussed in more depth in the last chapter.        Churches   and  clergy  must  take  advantage  of   the  knowledge  of  the social and  psychological  sciences  and  their   strides   in  understanding  human   sexuality   to acknowledge  that  children  are sexual  beings  (sexuality  involving more than just genitality but involving our whole  beings)  and  that children need  information  about  child  sexual abuse in terms that they can understand.

       Further, we can know and be alert to the signs of child  sexual  abuse  in  a family. These indicators  are  listed   below:

             1. Role reversal between mother and daughter.                2.  Extreme overprotectiveness or jealousy toward                 a  child by a parent (parent sharply restricts  a                 child’s contact with peers and adults outside the                 home)                3.  Inappropriate  sleeping  arrangements  (child                 sleeps  with a parent on a regular basis or with                 both  parents  where  she is  exposed  to  sexual                 activity)                4. Prolonged absence of one parent from the home.                5. Mother who is often ill or disabled.                6.   Extreme   lack  of   communication   between                 caretakers.                7.  Inordinate  participation of father in family                 (includes  a  father who  is  "symbiotic"—overly                 involved,  as  well  as  those  who  are  aloof,                 withdrawn.) The symbiotic father may be  praised                 by  churches as the "ideal" father because he  is                 so close to his family.                8. Extreme paternal dominance of spouse.                9.  Work  or activity schedules which result in a                 caretaker   (especially  male)   spending   large                 amounts of time with a child or children.                10. Extreme favoritism shown to a child.                11.  Severe  overreaction by a parent to any  sex  education offered a child.                12.  Caretaker  who has been sexually abused as a  child.                13. Geographic isolation of a family                14. Overcrowding in a home                15.  Family  has  no social or  personal  support  system.                16.   Alcohol  or  drug  abuse  within  a  family  (Peters, 1986, p.103).

       We  as  the  church can dispel the  myths  about  child  sexual  abusers and child sexual abuse through education or actually  speaking  out in sermons.  Some of  the  current  myths are as follows:       1.  Child sexual abuse is rare. In fact, at least 25% of girls and 10% or boys are victims of child sexual abuse.       2. Child sexual abuse is limited to the poor. Really,   incidents  are  reported from all walks of  life,  but  the  median is a middle-income family.

3. Homosexuals  perpetrate child sexual  abuse.  The fact  is  that the vast majority (over 90%) of child sexual  abuse  is perpetrated by heterosexual men and male teenagers.       4.  Children make up stories about being  abused.  In  reality,  children  almost never lie about what happened to  them,  and when they do lie, it is almost always to protect   the  abuser.  So the lying child tends to  understate  the problem, not overstate it

       5.  It couldn’t happen to me or anyone I know.  Child  sexual  abuse  is so common you probably know one  or  more  victims personally (Delaplane, n.d., p.2)

       Another  practical  thing we can do is to  examine  our church   and   our  culture  for  systemic  problems   with authority.  Treating  Proverbs 22,  23,  26,  and  28  and Ephesians and which deal with the father’s authority in the  home  in a sensitive and egalitarian way can  help  to  alleviate the mind of a child who is being sexually abused.   Sensitivity  when it comes to dealing with the abused child  is also needed. One woman, to whom I spoke personally, and  who asked to remain anonymous, was a victim of child sexual abuse.  She came to her teacher,  a nun, and disclosed the fact that her father was molesting her. "Sister said I was  going  to hell because I had lost my virginity," she  said,   "and then she urged me to tell my father no."  Obviously   this  approach by someone religious was not helpful at  all to the victim.

       The  church  can also make acknowledging the  addictive behavior relative to child abuse a  priority.  Recognizing  that repentance, prayer, conversion experiences, confession and other religious experiences,  while important, will not  cure the problem is essential.  Like other addictive behaviors,  treatment  is needed.  In California,  clergy  are required  to  report child sexual abuse unless it is  under the  seal of the confessional.  A recognition  that  legal intervention as well as therapeutic intervention may be the  best approach is necessary to the solution to this problem. For unlike other addictive behaviors, the compulsion of child   sexual  abuse has no "bottoming out" experience of its own.  Arrest,  trial,  sentencing, and serving the sentence often  provide the only "bottom" to this addictive behavior.

       Clergy  and churches need also to develop good  working  relationships between therapists, child sexual abuse units,  and  other  helping professionals.  This is  essential  to becoming  part  of  the solution instead  of  part  of  the  problem.

    Churches  can  also develop positive programs to be  of assistance  in the problem of child sexual  abuse.  First,   churches  can provide responsible child care.  There is  a  critical  need  in the United States for child  care  as  a  result of economics and the reality of working mothers.  A  word of precaution,  however,  is in order. Where there is   child  care,  there  are  those who would seek to  prey  on children.   Churches   must   verify  the   references   of employees.  Often  child molesters have a  record—pastors  and boards need to check before hiring. Finally,  churches  can provide single parent programs and parenting programs.  Education on the subject of child  sexual abuse can be a part of these programs. And churches may  facilitate  or  host support groups  for  victims  and  families,  including  offenders.  Healing groups  such  as  therapy groups can be provided.

       Perhaps  the most important aspect to all this  support  involves  being open,  available,  and letting that fact be  known.  Signs on rest room or other walls offering help to victims and offenders alike, sermons preached from pulpits,  an open and affirming style toward sexuality,  knowledge of  the subject—these say loud and clear to families of sexual  abuse   that   someone   is  there   who   can   hear   and  help (Delaplane, n.d.).      Aside  from  these practical aspects dealing  with  the   denial of the extent and reality of the problem, a revision  of  sexual ethics along the line of that advocated in this   chapter  may  hopefully issue forth in the  alleviation  of   some of the problem.

      First, letting go of the rigid control religion has had on  sexuality in this century will almost certainly  result  in an alleviation of the mechanics of sexual repression and the  resulting demonization of the sexual urges,  if  other researchers cited are correct.  Openly affirming that  God created our sexuality and declared it "Good, very good" may eventually help to rectify the compulsive aspect of certain  sexual acts.        Secondly, allowing for the relationality of sexual acts will result in a more open, freer attitude toward sexuality which  will hopefully issue forth in a more responsible use  of  sexuality.  The casual observer who appraises  Western society  may see instead of responsible sexuality a  morass of irresponsible behavior. But all the data is not in. In  truth we’ve had only about twenty years of the  possibility of  relationality  in sexual ethics minus the  ever-present  fear  of  pregnancy.   More  time,  more  education,  less  repression may indeed lead us to more responsibility.

       Further,  Masters and Johnson (1966) have proved clinically what we intuitively knew—that masculine sexual  responses are quicker,  more urgent, at times more compelling than  are female sexual responses.  Theology,  for all its  masculine  preponderance,  tended not to  accommodate  this  fact of human sexuality in its ethic. Particularly in this  century,  the  spiritualized Victorian morality of the West  tended not to take into account the urgency and strength of  male  virility  and instead  encouraged  "sublimation"  and repression  if a male were denied the regular sexual outlet of a wife.       Using the relational sexual ethic,  masturbation can be encouraged  rather than discouraged—so long as it  is  not  used as a substitute for human relationships or a technique   for avoiding real intimacy.        Nelson, in  looking at teleology and deontology in sexual ethics, articulated norms around which Western society organized itself and which presumably arose from the Judeo- Christian  ethic.  He advocates that between the  two  extremes  of understanding the rules as universally prescriptive  and  as only useful guideline there  exists  a  third possibility—to  presume in the rule’s favor.  In his opinion,  tried  and tested moral rules have serious value  in society and therefore have moral weight. But to presume in the  rule’s favor is to allow for exceptions and  to  place the burden of proof upon the exception  (Nelson,  1978,  p. 124).

       For  example,  suppose a married man with two daughters  has  a wife who becomes physically incapacitated.  If  the  man were a devout Catholic or a fundamentalist  Protestant,  he  might  interpret his body of moral information  to  say  that  adultery is worse than incest and thus commit  incest upon  one or both of his daughters.  Using the responsible style of decision making,  we would presume in favor of the rule  prohibiting adultery.  This man would  have  several   choices.  First,  he could remain celibate for the rest of  his  life—the only option really left to him by the  rule.  But  placing  the burden of proof on him if he  chooses  to  depart  from the norm,  he now has several choices open  to   him.  First,  should he be unable to remain continent,  he  could  masturbate.  This act is morally neutral using  our  ethic.  Or he could visit a prostitute, or have an affair.  In  descending order of morality,  based upon the potential  harm to human beings perpetrated by his act, the LAST thing  he should choose to do is have sex with his children.       The foregoing example is of course idealized, for it is  doubtful our man will consciously make distinctions between  the choices as we have.  But whatever he chooses to do, he  has   nevertheless   made   a   choice,    consciously   or  unconsciously.  The hope is that by teaching people to use  the responsible ethic, child sexual abuse may be alleviated in some measure.

 

 

CHAPTER 3

Authoritarianism, Religiosity and Child Sexual Abuse.

A Psychological Correlational study

Dispelling the myths about child sexual abusers: Who is and is not the offender.

       Child  abuse occurs in all  cultural,  ethnic,  occupational and socio-economic groups.  Frequently, abusers had deficient childhoods or were abused themselves.  They tend  to  be  socially isolated and they are  often  experiencing  marital and/or emotional conflicts.

       Typically,  offenders  are divided into several categories for discussion.  The FBI manual on pedophilia classifies offenders into pedophiles and incestuous fathers,  the latter  further  divided into  symbiotic  and  psychopathic personality   types.   The  manual  further  divides   the symbiotic  personality into four  classifications--  tyrant, rationalizer, introvert, and alcoholic (FBI, 1984, p. 7).        What  percentage of offenders are we talking about when we discuss pedophilesż  All studies indicate that the percentage is low. Roland Summitt describes the more prevalent  problem as incest.  "Strangers,  weirdoes,  kidnapers,  and other monsters provide a convenient foil for both child and  parent against a much more dreadful and immediate risk—the betrayal  of vital relationships,  abandonment  by  trusted caretakers  and  annihilation  of  basic  family  security" (Summitt,   1983,  p.182).  All  available  research  is remarkably  consistent  in a  discomforting  statistic:  a child  is  three  times  more likely to be  molested  by  a recognized,  trusted adult than by a stranger. The risk is   not  at  all remote.  Even the  most  conservative  survey implies  that  about 10% of all females have been  sexually victimized  as  children by an adult relative, including almost 2% involving the man in the role of the father. The latest  and  most  representative  survey  reports  a   16%  prevalence  of  molestation by relatives  (Summitt,  1983,   p.182).       Of all the types of offenders we have described, pedophiles  most  fit  the stereotype of  the  "dirty  old  man"  hanging  out  around  children  to lure  them  into  sexual activity.  In fact,  the FBI manual classifies two further  types  of  activity to which  pedophilia  may  lead:  child pornography and child prostitution.  Often pedophiles form  societies  and circulate newsletters.  Sometimes they form  organized "sex rings" (FBI, 1984, p.24).       The   magnitude   and  scope   of   pedophilia,   child pornography,  and sex rings is difficult to determine.  As we have previously noted,  child molestation in any form is  usually  perpetrated in secrecy and its victims rarely  report it.       However,  there  are  a  few  studies  to  indicate  the  incidence  of  molestation  by  pedophiles  as  opposed  to incestuous offenders.  Gene G.  Abel (1979),  Director of  the   Sexual  Behavior  Clinic  in  the  New   York   State  Psychiatric Institute,  suggests that "child molestation is  a more serious and frequent crime than rape" (Abel, 1979). Abel found that the child molesters he studied had molested  more  than 6 victims each on the average,  as compared  to less  than  one-third  that many victims by  rapists  (FBI, 1984, p.24).        Police have also found large mailing lists in the hands of  child  pornographers—in one case,  over  30,000  names (FBI,  1984,  p.26).  Further,  interviews with pedophiles found  them  admitting to molesting  startling  numbers  of children—one  pedophile,  for example,  admitted molesting  over 5000 boys.        Some  people believe that if a man molests a  boy  this means  that  the man must be homosexual.  Although  it  is possible for the pedophile to have latent homosexual tendencies, the figure for pedophiles who identify as homosexual  is  no higher than the figure for non-molesters who identify as homosexual. In other words, about 10% of pedophiles are homosexual,  as  are about 10% of the  general  population.   The  notion that all pedophiles are homosexuals is a  myth.       One manual for pedophiles stated:

            Pedophiles  can  be of either sex or  any  sexual                 orientation:  i.e.  heterosexual,  homosexual, or                 bisexual.  Some  pedophiles, believing that their                 sexuality is natural,  harmless,  and an integral                 part of their personality,  would not wish to  be                 changed  of their sexual orientation even if this                 were  possible,  which  it is  not.  Pedophiles                 haven’t chosen their sexual feelings. They just                 find    themselves   attracted    to    children                 (FBI, 1984, p.23).

       This  quote  implies that pedophiles see  their  sexual feelings  as  a  lifestyle and many would beg  society  for  tolerance.  However,  given the research establishing  the  harm done to the victim, their pleas usually fall upon deaf  societal ears.        While  instances  of pedophilia  which  are  discovered  usually  get much media attention,  most experts agree that  the   major  problem  is  not  child   pornography,   child  prostitution,  or pedophilia,  in which the offender is unknown to the child, but incest. Laws exist now to take care of  the  problem  of  the  "dirty  old  man",   the   child  pornographer (the Supreme Court in New York V.  Ferber held that  child  pornography was child abuse and not a form of expression  protected  by first amendment rights)  and  the parlayer of child sexual abuse.  The problem is  enforcing the existing laws we have (N.Y. v. Ferber, 1982).        Incest is by far the more common of the two major types  of child molestation experience. Incest generally develops in  multi-problem  families and develops along  with  other  problems.  Often  incest occurs in conjunction with family trauma (such as death or illness of the  mother),  violence in  the home,  or drug or alcohol abuse.  Most  incestuous family members have poor impulse control.  The perpetrator may easily be an uncle,  a grandfather,  a stepparent, or a sibling. In the majority of cases, as has been stated, child  sexual  abuse involves someone the child knows and  trusts.       But   perhaps  the  most  devastating  of  the   incestuous  molestations concerns the father or father-figure. This is true because the child involved both loves the father while at  the  same time is experiencing betrayal by  him.  Less often the mother is involved in actual child sexual  abuse,  but  when  she  is  involved,  the  effect  is  equally  as devastating  to  the  child,  perhaps more so  because  the  mother   is   often   seen   as   the   nurturer   in   our  society (FBI,1984,p.9).       Although the dynamics of family child sexual abuse  and pedophilia  are  similar,  pedophilia  involves  individual psychological problems, while incest involves family dysfunction.  An  exploration  of the effect of incest  on  the family follows subsequently.  Many therapists,  clinicians and  social workers,  as well as law enforcement  personnel  have  concluded that father/daughter incest is rampant  and of epidemic proportions (FBI, 1984, p.9).

       In  almost  all cases of  father/daughter  incest,  the father was incestuously abused as a boy or witnessed sexual relations  between his own father and sisters  (FBI,  1984, p.7).  These men were emotionally deprived of affection as children  and  were  often deserted by their  own  fathers.    Meiselman   notes   that   incest   offenders   are    more authoritarian  and domineering and that they manage to  in still fear in the family (FBI, 1984, p.9).       Summitt  notes that when the incest is discovered  the offender almost always denies the charge. Further research indicated  that when treatment began,  almost all  fathers, during the course of the treatment, admitted that the child was telling the truth (Summitt, 1983, p.190©. Further,  the vast majority of investigations prove valid and most of the children  were  less  than eight years old at the  time  of  initiation (Summitt,178).        Who  is the perpetrator in incest cases and how can  we profile  him—less often,  her (Only a small percentage  of  women  molest  their  children but as  we  have  said,  the molested women tends to marry a molester).  The profile of  the  incestuous father,  according to the Federal Bureau of  Investigation,  is relatively straightforward. He has been often sexually abused as a boy and when he reached  puberty  left  home.  As a result of his own family dysfunction  he has  been emotionally deprived of affection and  attention.       His own father often deserted him.  He is typically authoritarian, domineering and inspires fear in his family. His demonstration  of  power  typically manifests itself  in  a  tendency to be overcontrolling and overly restrictive.  He  can  be  psychologically typified in one of  two  ways—the  sociopath and the symbiotic personality.        The FBI bulletin (1984© recommends incarceration of the psychopathic  personality because their conclusion is  that no treatment will work with him. However, the prognosis is  better for the symbiotic father.  The FBI lists four types of   symbiotic  father—the   tyrant,   rationalizer,   the introvert, and the chemical abuser (FBI, 1984, p.7)       The  tyrant  rules over the family and as we have  said exercises  control  unduly over the chosen  incest  victim. This type may threaten physical force in order to have  sex  with  his daughter (or son,  less often).  He may use episodes  of  rage  and/or loss of control of  his  temper  to emotionally  browbeat  the family into  submission  to  his demands.  Outside  the  family the tyrant may seem like  a milquetoast  or a "Clark Kent" personality.  He  may  take  great   pains  to  ensure  his  respectability  within  the community  so  that if his incestuous activities  are  ever  found  out,  no  one will believe that he could do  such  a thing.   He   may  take  great  pains  to  "set  up"   the daughter/son so that they appear as the delinquent.  Often  the child will enable the perpetrator to do this  as,  when the child becomes an adolescent,  s/he will begin to assert him/herself by acting out.

The  tyrant  is the one who rules his household with  a rod of iron.  He may be overtly over-controlling,  refusing to  allow his children to exert natural  independence  from him.  He may be jealous of his daughter’s receiving attention  from  boys her own age.  He exerts  control  through excessive disciplinary action.  He may typically be considered  the  pillar of a community,  a strong and  demanding  man.  He may be a strong member of a local church, usually a  church which advocates strict discipline and  authoritarianism.  This man may use threats of physical force  upon his   children,   but   rarely  need  to  use  it  as   his psychological intimidation will usually work.  The  tyrant may  have genuine affectional feelings for his daughter and be terrified of anyone coming between him and her.  He may seem  to  be paranoid at home but rarely  will  allow  this characteristic to be seen outside of his family.  He has a  fear of intimacy and a great fear of people,  both of which  he   attempts   to  satisfy  in  physical  sex   with   his daughter (FBI, 1984, p.7).        The second type of symbiotic father,  the rationalizer,  feels  guilty and uses rationalization as an ego defense to assuage  his guilt.  The rationalizer will use patent  excuses  for  molesting his daughter such as "she  asked  for  it",  "she  enjoys  it," "it’s a form of sex education"  or  "I’d  rather have her learn from me than from  some  stranger." This man often confuses sex with love. The rationalizer  justifies incest by believing that this is just  his  way  of expressing his love for his child.  He often cites unsatisfactory sex with his wife and/or a need to  initiate his  child  into  the sexual act himself "instead  of  some clumsy boy." He may justify incest on the grounds that the child needs to be educated about sex.  The fact is,  however, that all this is an ego defense mechanism for a guilty  conscience to keep away the label,  "deviate,  child molester" (FBI,1984,p.7).

       Rich  Snowden,  who conducted therapy sessions  therapy with  offenders  for a year,  writes that  offenders  would  loudly decry their victims and turn the situation around so  that they were the true victims. These rationalizers would proclaim  that  they were innocents who were seduced  by  a "Lolita" child or were entrapped by a scheming  wife.  The "Lolita"  story is an embellished version of "she asked for it" (Snowden, 1982, p.4)       Freud,   according  to  Rush  (1980),   was  the  chief  provocateur  of this and even today provides a  defense  for   the  child  sexual abuser of the rationalizer  type.  Alice Miller uses her whole book to repudiate the Freudian  drive theory  in favor of Freud’s earlier theory of child  sexual abuse (Miller, 1984, p.203). "In his essay on `femininity’ Freud  wrote  that almost all his patients reported  sexual abuse at the hands of their fathers" (Miller, 1984, p.203).   But he could not bring himself to believe that so many men  in civilized Vienna were sexually abusing their  daughters.   So  instead he decided that these women who had trusted him  with their most painful secrets were lying.  But that  was  not  the end of it.  He claimed that whenever girls report assault,  they are actually revealing their innermost fantasies, expressing their true nature, and that these expressions mean that they want to be `seduced’" (Snowden, 1982, p.4). As Miller so aptly puts it, therapists who ascribe to the  drive theory can unwittingly subscribe to  a  Freudian  version of, "She asked for it" (Miller, 1984, p.156ff).       In treatment, many child sexual abusers of the rationalizer type seem to be married to "evil women," another type of  rationalization.   The  story  goes,  "a  well-meaning  natural father is brow-beaten by an insistent,  controlling  wife  into doing something terrible to his children."  The typical  rationalization  is  "My  wife  made  me  do   it" (Snowden, 1982, p.5).       A last rationalization involves generosity.  The generous  father  gives the children "what they like  and  what  they ask for" (Snowden,  1982,  p.6).  These rationalizers  would  use candy,  favors,  and special relations with  the  child  to extract sexual favors,  which they had  convinced themselves the children needed.

       But in reality, the rationalizers who in therapy become  honest  with  themselves  admit  that  they  used  parental authority  and  power to command sex and the  silence  that  goes with incest (FBI, 1984, p.7).    The third type of symbiotic perpetrator, the introvert,  is a person who,  lacking social skills,  is unable to form normal  adult male friendships and who turns to his  family  for his emotional and physical comfort.  He finds that his demands  are too much for his family and may find that  his wife  turns  away from him.  This is the family that  "implodes",  whose energies turn inward and who literally consume  and devour each other and the family unit with  them.    As  the father turns more and more to the  family,  if  the  mother has to be absent due to illness or even death—or if  the  mother  turns away emotionally from  the  father,  the father  will  turn to the daughters.  It is this  type  of  father who may begin a "gentle" initiation into incest that increases  in  frequency and intensity  (FBI,  1984,  p.8).       Summitt states:                 "The  prevailing reality for the  most  fre-                 quent  victim  of  child sexual abuse  is  not  a                 street  or  school-ground experience and not  some                 mutual vulnerability to oedipal temptations,  but                 an   unprecedented,    relentlessly   progressive                 intrusion of sexual acts by an overpowering adult                 in  a one-sided victim-perpetrator  relationship.                 The  fact  that  the perpetrator is  often  in  a                 trusted  and  apparently  loving  position   only

increases  the imbalance of power and underscores                 the  helplessness of the child"  (Summitt,  1983,                 p.182).       The  introvert  father  or father-figure turns  to  his family  for all his needs.  This type is usually  socially inhibited,  shy,  or socially retarded,  unable to maintain  normal  social friendships.  The more introverted  he  becomes,  the more attracted to his children.  Too often his control  breaks  down--  he becomes depressed and  initiates sexual   contact  with  one  or  more  of   his   children  (FBI, 1984, p.7).       The  last  type of symbiotic perpetrator identified  by  the  FBI  is  the  alcoholic  incestuous  father,  who  may  initiate  sex  with his children under the influence  of  a  drug while in blackout.  For him,  the choosing comes when he  chooses  to take the first drink,  because  he  has  no control over how many others he will drink.  The alcoholic incestuous father also perpetrates violence and other types of  verbal  and physical abuse on the family while  in  the alcoholic  blackout.  This father typically is in an agony of  guilt,  drinks  or  uses  to  assuage  the  guilt,  and  perpetrates  more acts of which to be  guilty  (FBI,  1984,  p.7).

       The alcoholic incestuous father is one who has conflicting  dependency needs—a need to be independent and at the  same time a deep need to be cared for.  He drinks  because he is an alcoholic but he may perpetrate incest while under  the  influence  of  alcohol,   which  reduces  his  impulse control. Alcoholic families are very disturbed families in  many  other  ways  and often incest  happens  beside  other  traumas  such as family violence,  jailing of the father on drunkenness or disturbing the peace charges, abandonment by  the father (for long periods of time) and verbal and  psychological abuse (FBI,  1984,  p.7).  Someone has described life  with the family of an alcoholic as like living with a  machine  gun in the living room on a revolving  turret—one never knows when the gun will go off. The result of living like this for the family is a lack of knowing anything  for sure—an  inability to establish trust.  And  trust,  says psychologist Erik Erikson, is the foundational stone of all  that  we  learn emotionally and  psychologically  (Erikson, 1950,  p.247).  So families of alcoholics are disturbed in  tremendous  ways prior to any incestuous occurrences  (FBI, 1984, p.5)       If  one adds incest to the alcoholic home,  often it is like  adding the straw that breaks the camel’s  back.  But the  true  victim  is the child,  who may  take  refuge  in multiple  personalities or insanity in order to  cope  with the  many forms of trauma which are happening to her in the alcoholic home. There is emerging currently in the body of psychological  literature a profile of "Adult  children  of  Alcoholics"  with describable sets of symptoms of the  "ACA  syndrome".  Incest  is only one of many manifestations  of this syndrome.

       The  last  type  of offender to be  considered  is  the psychopathic  type.   The  psychopath  seeks  stimulation,  novelty,  pleasure and excitement. This is the man without  a  conscience,  with no feelings of guilt and no mechanisms available  to  him to understand the  consequences  of  his action.  These  persons were so scarred in their own childhoods that they have developed a strange  personality—one that is virtually untreatable. But the psychopath is manipulative, persuasive and charming. He may convince judges, juries  and  therapists that their treatments  or  remedies have  worked with him,  only to molest again.  Psychopaths see  people  as  objects and seek to use  them  to  satisfy themselves.  So although they can be persuasive and  charming, the other side of their personalities are abusive and vicious.  Incestuous  fathers of the symbiotic type may be treatable, but most law enforcement officers and therapists agree—psychopathic incestuous offenders need incarceration  and  not treatment,  as do most  pedophiles,  advocates  of  child  prostitution  and child  pornographers  (FBI,  1984, p.18).       These arbitrary categories are useful only to a degree,  but  obviously there is some overlapping  of  "categories".      Some  fathers,  for example,  seem to be pedophiles in  the  sense that they prefer children to adult women. A study by  Abel  (1979©  at  the New York  Psychiatric  institute, and quoted  by Renvoize, examined the average number of victims  of   pedophiles   and   incestuous   fathers.   Homosexual  pedophiles  averaged thirty-one victims in their lifetimes.     Heterosexual pedophiles averaged  sixty-two.  Heterosexual  incest offenders had an average,  however, of just over two victims per offender,  but the victims were molested over a  longer period of time.  Another issue of importance which was revealed by this study was that incestuous fathers were more amenable to treatment than were pedophiles, suggesting that family dynamics might be more important than psychological dynamics in family incest (Renvoize, 1982, p.90). Time  and  again—although there are no studies  to  my  knowledge—writers  and  case workers refer to the  respect  for  organized religion of the incestuous  fathers.  Roger and Florence Wolfe,  therapists who work with offenders  in  Seattle,  observed  that offenders are "more religious than other people" (Renvoize, 1982, p.86). In Britain, Renvoize  (1982)  states that the London Times" noted in  an  article, "Roman  Catholics  are  vastly overrepresented  among  drug addicts,   alcoholics,  compulsive  gamblers,  prostitutes,  night  club strippers and convicted  prisoners."  Renvoize further states, "It would be interesting to know whether the American  experience  is  repeated among members  of  other  religious groups in Britain which exhibit something of  the same  fervor as that to be found in certain American sects"   (Renvoize, 1982, p.86).

The  occupations of incestuous or sexually abusive persons  are also stereotype-dispelling.  People in the  very  professions  one would hope to be free of sexual abuse  are the very ones who repeatedly appear in the reports.  There are  boy  scout  leaders,  preschool  teachers,  ministers, counselors,   doctors,   lawyers,   professors,  policemen, firemen,   and   hosts   of   other helping   professions represented (Renvoize, 1982, p.84).  The  FBI  manual  on  Pedophilia states,            A  case which may illustrate this is a  clergyman                 who ran a farm for wayward boys. He had the boys                 engage in sexual orgies with sponsors and clients                 of  the  farm  which were filmed and  sold  as  a                 remembrance   or  memento  of  the   acts   which                 transpired (FBI, 1984, p.24).        Over  and over again it is theorized that  sociological factors  play  the key role in father/daughter  incest  and psychological  factors play the key role in other types  of family dynamics.  Adele Mayer (1983© in her book, Incest: A Treatment  Manual  For Therapy With  Victims,  Spouses  and Offenders" illustrates this theory with the following table: Type  of Incest       Motivation Father-Son...................Homosexual conflict Older sibling-sibling.......Unconscious conflicts Mother-Daughter.............Psychosis/Infantilism Mother-Son........Gratification for Absent Father Grandfather-Granddaughter....Assertion of manhood (Mayer, 1983, p.22).       Mayer  further  quotes   a study by Slager-Jorne  (1978) stating the family sociological dynamics as follows:    "In father-daughter incest,  the entire family is  involved  and  each member is active in perpetuating the abuse.  Incest  is motivated largely by urges to  satisfy  underlying emotional   needs   rather  than  by  a  need  for   sexual  gratification" (Mayer, 1983, p.22).  According  to  Mayer,  certain  typical indicators can predict with a fair  amount of accuracy the probability of incest:

1.  Marital  discord  and a poor  sexual  relationship between parents.       2.   Unwillingness  of  the  father  to  seek   sexual relationships outside of the family.       3.  Role  reversal  between mother and daughter  which makes  the daughter the central female figure in home  with the responsibility of satisfying the needs of the father.

       4.  Conscious or unconscious condoning on the part  of  the mother of the relationship between father and daughter  (Mayer, 1983, p.24).       We  shall examine the sociological effects of incest on  the family dynamics in more detail later.       We  have discussed the individual molester and  who  he  is. Before concluding this section, I want to explore some  more systemic kinds of issues that play into the problem of child sexual abuse—i.e., the sexism of the system

       Snowdon (1982© writes,          I considered myself a "nice guy" who "could never                 do  such  a  thing."  I wanted  these  men  [his                 offender clients] to be monsters.  I wanted them                 to  be  different  from  me,   as  different   as                 possible.  Yet  as  I heard them  talking  about                 childhood and their early teen years,  I was less                 and  less able to deny how much we had in common.                 We grew up learning the same things about how  to                 be  men,  though  we practiced them  in  somewhat                 different  ways or to different  degrees.  These                 were  things  we never asked to learn  and  never                 wanted  to.  Often they were forced upon us  and                 more  often we did our best to resist.  But that                 was  usually not enough,  and one way or  another                 these lessons in masculinity got inside  us.  We                 were  taught that privilege is our birthright and                 aggression is our nature,  so we learned to take,                 but not to give. We learned to get affection, or                 express it,  mainly through sex.  We expected to                 marry  a  woman who would provide for us  like  a                 mother,  but  obey  us like a  daughter.  And  we                 learned  that women and children belong to  men,                 and there is nothing to keep us from using  their                 labor  for  our benefit and their bodies for  our

pleasure and anger" (Snowden, 1982, p.2).       The  FBI  manual  on pedophilia  states,  "as  long  as  society  remains uncaring and permissive about  incest,  it will  continue to thrive (FBI,  1984,  p.18).  The key  to dealing  with incest is not only on a individual  treatment level but also on a societal level.  The crime of  sexual abuse children  goes  grossly  underreported,   and  when reported,  children  are systematically subject  to  almost more   trauma  than  the  sexual  abuse  itself  by  social agencies, hospitals and police.       Harrison  (1985©  in her book Making  the  Connections:  Essays in Feminist Social Ethics says:                "Morally  evil  behaviors  that  are   frequently                 classified  as  sexual  offenses—molestation  of                 exploitation  of young children,  rape,  publicly                 intrusive  pandering  of  sexually  explicit   or                 obscene  material,  and the offensive hawking  of                 sexual   devices,   including  solicitation   for                 prostitution—are  wrong.  In different degrees,                 not  because  they  involve  genitally   explicit                 activity   but   because  they  express   morally                 inappropriate  power relations  between  people--                 physical   and   psychic   assault   or   obvious                 insensitivity  to the dignity of another person’s                 rights  and capacity for  self-direction....these                 acts   are   wrong  because  they   involve   the                 harassment  or  the  abuse  and  degradation   of                 persons  who are relatively powerless to  resist.                 Such   acts   intend  humiliation  or   control"                 (Harrison, 1985, p.112).        Feminists,  like many liberal theologians such as  Reinhold  Niebuhr  and his political realism,  focus the problems  of  sexual violence at the target of power. The problem is not sex  but control and abuse—and not abuse of sexuality but abuse  of power.  Harrison properly makes the observation that  in a sex-phobic society these issues of violence  and  sexuality  will  become confused and sexual  violence  will  take  on  an aura of being especially dirty  or  polluting.       But,  she contends,  such acts need to be "desexualized" in  order  to understand them as the acts of assault that  they  are (Harrison, 1985, p.112-13).       Feminist  theologians  look historically at the  church and  lay a large portion of the responsibility for the  way things  are  in Western society today at the  feet  of  the church  fathers who articulated their theology of male supremacy.  Rosemary  Ruether  traces  an  antiwoman  polemic  through the writings of the early fathers and wonders  that  we have been able to evolve a theology of wholeness from so  negative  a beginning.  We have examined this theology  at length  in chapter two,  so further examination would be to belabor a point.

       Feminist ethics would critique social mores of  Western culture by looking at the sexual violence against women and children  and  acknowledging the historical biases  of  the church in reinforcing if not creating the social conditions which foster this violence. Ruether states             Perhaps  the task of Christians  today,  as  they                 take stock of this tradition and its defects,  is                 not merely to vilify its inhumanity but rather to                 cherish  the hard-won fruits of transcendence and                 spiritual  personhood,  won  at such  a  terrible                 price  of the natural affections of men  and  the                 natural  humanity of women.  Without  discarding                 these  achievements,  we must rather find out how                 to pour them back into a full-bodied Hebrew sense                 of creation and incarnation,  as male and female,                 but who can now be fully personalized  autonomous                 selves and also persons in relation to each other,         not against the body but in and through the body"        (Ruether, 1974, p.179).        Because  of  predispositional  factors  reinforced   by  parental authority and male power,  incest continues in the United  States.   Miller  writes,        "The victimization of children is nowhere forbid-                 den:  what  is  forbidden is to write  about  it.                 Prostitution,  the  pornography  trade,  and  the                 almost obligatory obscenity typical of tradition                 ally  all-male  groups such as the  military  are                 part  of the legalized,  even  requisite  reverse                 side  of [the…cleanliness and order mandated by                 the  observance  of strict moral  principles  and                 hostility  to instinctual  drives].[There  should                 be….a conscious identification with the child as                 victim,  in  contrast to an  unconscious  identi-                 fication with the adult" (Miller, 1984, p.192).       There  is,  according to Medea and  Thompson,  a  clash between  the old sexual mores,  in which a woman traded sex for love and security,  and new sexual mores,  in which men and women are expected to be autonomous individuals who are perfectly  capable  of being in control of  every  part  of  themselves,  including the libido (Medea & Thompson,  1974, p.45).  This comes about, as has already been stated, as a result  of  a paradigmatic shift in sexual  mores  stemming from  effective birth control methods which free women from fear of pregnancy in the sexual act.  But confusion in the sexual marketplace reigns.  The issue is power. Women are the  target  of aggression,  but so are  children—and  the problem is not confined to female children.  The pedophile likes  children and often does not care which  gender.  In  incest the victim is more often a girl but in at least  one out  of  ten  cases the victim is a  boy  (Renvoize,  1982,  p.28).  And once a victim,  as we have said,  the boy will tend  to grow up an abuser,  whereas the girl will grow  up and marry someone who will tend to abuse her children. She will  not  often abuse them herself.  In  other  words,  a  powerless boy-child will grow up to marry a  power-yielding woman.  Both  are  victims of a system  which  perpetuates itself.       The  problem is one of systemic embedded patriarchy  as  well  as an imbalance of power in  interpersonal  relationships.  The  patriarchy is composed of two  elements:  its  structure and its ideology.  The structural aspect is made up of  organizations which relegate  certain  individuals, groups and classes to certain positions.  Women, children, and  non-white races are part of the groups which are relegated to less powerful positions.  The maintenance of  the hierarchy  or structure is dependent on the maintenance  of the ideology.  The ideology is supportive of the principle of  a hierarchical order and disavows an egalitarian order.   The  ideology thus legitimizes the order and thus makes  it  right,   natural  and  sacred (Gondolf, 1985, p.32). Sexual  abuse  of  children  can thus be viewed  as  an  historical expression  of patriarchal domination expressed against  a  "lesser" subgroup.       The  male  role is defined as follows:  (1)  a  stigma  attached  to anything even vaguely feminine,  (2) the need  for  success,  status  and admiration,  (3)  strivings  for  toughness,  confidence and self-reliance,  and (4) thriving on  an  aura of aggression,  violence  and  daring.  These  attitudes  are hazardous to male health as well as  to  the well-being  of  women  and  children.  Aggressiveness  and competitiveness  cause  men to put themselves in  dangerous situations. Emotional inexpressiveness cause psychosomatic  and  other  health problems.  Men take greater  risks  and  expose   themselves   to   undue   physical   danger    and  psychological  stress.  The male role encourages  specific  behaviors that endanger health, such as tobacco smoking and alcohol  consumption.  And  the male role discourages  men  from  taking adequate medical care of themselves  and  from seeking  counseling and other psychological help (Gondolf, 1985,  p.43). Thus it is not only to the advantage of women and  children  to  reform  the  system,  but  also  to  the advantage  of  the male.  In other  words,  an  oppressive system  oppresses  the oppressor as well as the  oppressed.  Perhaps  the  "advantages" of such a system  are  not  such advantages after all!       So the offender in child sexual abuse is himself  (less often herself) a victim of child sexual abuse, or childhood violent  abuse.  He seems to be caught in a sexual compulsion of the repetition type.  Except for the  psychopathic category,  perpetrators  of child sexual abuse are amenable  to  treatment and generally hate themselves for  what  they  are  doing,  while  at the same time maintaining their  ego defenses through denial and  rationalizations.  Pedophiles and other non-father-figures involved in child sexual abuse usually  are  involved  as a result of  psychological  ego-defense  mechanisms.  Fathers and stepfathers are  usually  involved as a result of family disorganization and  dysfunction. These individual problems are sometimes amenable to treatment   (more   often  than  not  if   conditions   are right—motivation,  discovery, etc) . The offender may be of any socioeconomic level and in any profession. Often he gravitates  to  professions  in which there  is  access  to children,  especially  if he is a pedophile.  But the  men implicated  in  most ongoing sexual molestations  are  "not inferior  in intelligence and psychotic. They are usually a  churchgoers, decent providers, and are usually of average  intelligence.  It may be only when  their  activities  are discovered that they display neurotic behavior (FBI,  1984, p.3).

       This is the profile of the individual molester. Systemically,  the men are socialized, as Rich Snowden has said,  as most men are socialized.  The systemic sexism and power problems  in  the  society  are more  difficult  to  treat,  primarily  because individuals are more amenable to  treatment than systems are to reform.  The denial  surrounding child  sexual  abuse is typified by the publicity  accorded  some  recent  day-care centers whose  employees  have  been accused of child sexual abuse. The end result is that only  three  of  the defendants in one case have been bound  over  for  trial.  On a recent syndicated television talk  show,  parents discussing child sexual abuse stated that in  every case  of  child  sexual  abuse that  the  participants  and audience knew of,  the schools were still operating and the  participants    free    from    the    criminal     justice system (Winfrey, 1986). When forced, many institutions will deal with child sexual abuse, but, because of the denial of child  sexual abuse,  the institution just wants to get the  "sticky" matter over with and "get back to business". And the business is the business of denial and refusal to see. The  criminal justice system lands squarely on the side of the perpetrator.  It lands there for two reasons: (1) a  sexist system which sees a decent, hard-working man accused of despicable, unbelievable acts and does everything to get this nice man off the hook,  and (2) an adversarial  system  which  does not take into account the inability of children to testify in a manner that adults would.       The  United  States government  has  suggested  certain  community  responses  to the problem of rape which  can  be applied to child sexual abuse:  among them community education,  revision of criminal justice agency procedures, supportive  victim services,  and law  reform  (Carrow,  1980, p.3). I would add that institutions, including the church, need to be about working on a revision of patriarchal model of  male-female relationships,  acknowledging the errors of   patriarchal Christianity while affirming all that is  good  in  their legacy.  It is in this manner that theology  can  inform  and  abet  secular  disciplines  to  alleviate  the  problem of child sexual abuse.       Besides reforms in these areas, child-rearing needs to  be in a system of egalitarianism and justice to the best of  our  ability.  Children  need  advocates,  especially  the victims of sexual abuse.  "It should be obvious to  clinicians  that  the  power to challenge and to  interrupt  the accommodation  process carries an  unprecedented  potential for  primary prevention of emotional pains and  disability, including an interruption in the intergenerational chain of  child abuse" (Summitt,  1983, p.191). If parents cannot or  will  not  be advocates,  if police act  adversarial,  if courts act punitive,  it is Summitt’s position that  at least  therapists can be the child’s advocates.  And  this paper  maintains that pastors can also act as  the  child’s advocates.  But  in  the  therapeutic  field,  as  Summitt  admits, an evolutionary model has been followed in the area  of  child  advocacy rather than a revolutionary  one.  And  with  information just becoming available to  overcome  the  denial of clergy in the process of child sexual abuse,  the  ideal  of  clergy of all faiths opting to advocate for  the  child rather than the perpetrator may be a long way away.

       But  the facts are undeniable.  Child sexual abuse  is  more  common  than either clergy  or  laypeople  think.  It  happens in our churches,  and it involves families which we  would never think as having problems, much less problems of  incest.  Ministers in the church can exhibit a willingness  to  be  the  vanguard when it comes to child  sexual  abuse rather than being part of the incredible denial of  society  that  problems like these exist.  The myth that  religious  men  rarely  rape  or  molest  must  be  confronted.   Sex  education  must  begin  at  home  and  be  supplemented  by  churches and schools. Renvoise states:                 "One   of   the   characteristics   of    sexual

              offenders....was...that  they were more religious                 than other people. This went hand-in-hand with a                 surprising  ignorance  about sex—and  they  come                 from  families where information about  sexuality                 is strictly restricted. They believe in the most                 extraordinary  myths,  and have very  few  facts.                 For  some  of these religious people all  sex  is                 sin,  it’s  all bad,  so what difference does  it                 make what you do?" (Renvoize, 1982, p.86).

       To  sum up this section about who the offender is,  the following list of "Facts and Fallacies" is offered:

 Fallacy: It is easy to recognize a child  molester                 because  he  is  the "typical dirty old  man  who                 always wears a raincoat.                Fact: He is not easily recognizable.                Fallacy:  Only  "Criminal  types" and  people  of                 lower social status commit these crimes.                Fact:   The  offender  may  be  a  well-respected                 prominent member of the community. He comes from                 all  walks of life and may be from any aspect  of                 the social spectrum.  Child molestation knows no                 cultural or economic boundaries.                Fallacy:  Children should be warned only to  stay                 away from strangers.                Fact:  In the majority of cases,  the offender is                 not  a stranger,  but rather,  someone not  only                 known to the victim but the family as well.                Fallacy: Homosexuals molest children.                Fact:   The   offender   is  not  a   homosexual.                 Pedophilia,   per  se,   must  be  viewed  as   a                 completely  separate issue from one’s gender and                 sexual preference (FBI, 1984, p.8).

 

The  Effect  of  Incest on the Organization of  the  Family        Until  the  early  1970’s it was  thought  by  experts,  psychologists and sociologists,  that was not particularly harming,  either to the socialization of the family or to the child.  But with the advent of the women’s liberation movement in the 1970’s,  adults molested as children  (incest  victims  as  children) began to come  forward  and express  the  pain  they  had  repressed.  Further,  these adults,  mostly  women  but  more  than  a  few  men,  made themselves  available  to researchers  and  therapists  for objective  research.  This  research  validated  what  the adults  molested as children knew,  that there was  immense psychosexual  damage sustained by the children which  often did  not manifest itself until adulthood.  As the  problem  began  to be recognized,  there began to be manifest a concern for those children who were still in the situation  of   being  sexually  abused.  The first  community-wide  pilot  program  to  help offenders and their victims  was  Parents United,  started  in the mid-1970’s in Santa Clara  County, California.  Child  sexual abuse is a devastating problem and if we could solve this social problem many other social   problems  would be solved—child sexual abuse  is,  in  the opinion of the experts, at the root of much chemical abuse, physical child abuse,  family dysfunction, even crimes such as theft, murder and rape. Incest  as  a Disrupter of Family Functioning as  a   Sociocultural Unit.       At first glance,  incest may be seen as a cohesion when we look at the family as a sociocultural unit.  Undisclosed incest serves to isolate the family.  The family begins to see  itself as a very close-knit family and deludes  itself  into  thinking it is a very normal family.  Renvoize says,       "Incestuous families bind themselves together with ropes of       mutual dependence,  fear of separation and secrecy,  and if       any one member tries to break away the bonds are ruthlessly       tightened.  Locked  together by their emotional  relation       ships  they insulate themselves away from the rest  of  the       world" (Renvoize, 1984, p.100).

Therefore what at first appears  to be a solidifier of the family as a  sociocultural       unit  is,  on a closer glance,  dysfunctional.   If  we  look  strictly at the function of  keeping  the family together,  incest, like chemical abuse, functions to reorganize the family around keeping the secret. As father begins to function more and more like a "little  god",  the whole  family reorganizes to accommodate the changes.  The family,  as we have said,  may appear like a  normal,  very  close-knit  family.  In reality,  they are bonded in  very  destructive,  emotionally crippling ways to individuals, as we shall explore later.       In many families where incest is widespread,  lines  of  authority,  demarcation and roles become unclear. The father  or  perpetrator has crossed the lines of  demarcation and  may  actually become a child while at  the  same  time exercising strict authoritarianism within the family.  The child may be placed in the position of becoming the "little mother" by her own mother,  who exhibits dependency characteristics. The mother, because of failure to deal with her own  molestation  as a child,  is often in a  subconscious collusion, as  we have said.  She misses clues which  would alert her to the molestation happening to her child.  Further,  she  may be so dependent upon the  perpetrator  that when told about the incest by the child or others,  she may downplay  the importance of what is happening or deny  that it is happening or accuse the child of lying.

    These  lines  of  authority and  lines  of  demarcation denoting roles become blurred in the incest family, yet the family  shifts  to accommodate the blurred distinctions  in  order  to  keep the secret and keep up the  "happy  family" myth.  Barriers  of  age  and  relationship break  down.   Family   rules   are  strict  and   not   easily   altered.    Friendships with outsiders is strictly discouraged, because   children may discover that they are not,  as they have been told, "just like other families" (Renvoize, 1982, p.103-4).

Perhaps surprisingly to some, it is in sexually severe, not sexually lax, families that children are in most danger of sexual abuse. As Renvoize states:        Able,  Becker  and  skinner  (1980©  refer  to  a                 study  by  McConahay  and  McConahay,  in  which                 seventeen primitive societies were rated for the                 amount   of   sexual   permissiveness,   sex-role                 rigidity  and  violence contained  within  them.                 There  was  found to be no  correlation  between                 sexual  permissiveness  and  violence,   and  no                 correlation between sex-role rigidity and sexual

 permissiveness.    But   there   was   a   signi-                 ficant   correlation  between  sex-role  rigidity                 and  violence, the latter being measured  by  the                 severity  of punishment in child rearing,  number                 of   rapes,   murders,   tribal   attacks,   etc"                 (Renvoize, 1982, p.105).                 

Of course, one needs to be careful in generalizing from non-industrial to industrial societies,  but,  as has  been noted  before,  Renvoize  points out,  "people in the  very professions  one  might  think ought to be  free  of  taint repeatedly  appear  in the reports  (of  incest)--teachers, policemen,  boy scout leaders, ministers, lawyers, doctors"  (Renvoize,  1982,  p.84). And, again, "one of the characteristics  of sexual offenders is that they were  more  religious than other people, because they come from families in  which  information about sexuality is strictly  restricted"   (Renvoize,  1982,  p.86).  So perhaps the assumption can be made  that,  just  as in the study of  primitive  families,  sexually  severe  families put the child at risk of  sexual abuse.

       So,  while undisclosed incest may function as a sort of  "glue" which may keep the family together,  it is a dysfunctional glue.  When the incest is disclosed,  there are  a  number of reactions.  Almost always the perpetrator denies that incest has occurred and accuses the child of lying: if  the child is not the one who discloses,  the child may even lie  to  protect the family.  The pivotal person  in  this family  drama  then  becomes the mother.  If she  has  any  semblance   of  a  healthy  self-esteem  she   leaves   the perpetrator  or takes other appropriate steps to ensure the child’s safety.  If not, she will deny that the incest has occurred or minimize its importance and will take steps  to  ensure  that  the disclosure does not disrupt the  way  the  family functions (Renvoize, 1982, p.116).

       Obviously this sociological approach often does not sit  well  with  many feminists.  In their view  the  offending parent  has  a sexual deviancy and it is that which  causes  the problems in the family,  not the other way around. But  incest  is a problem of family dysfunction in which  inadequate people come together and react in ways in which  they were  taught.   Mothers  who  were  sexually  molested  as  children  are  drawn  to and marry men  who  were  sexually  molested   as  children  and  who  will  molest  their  own  children.  Thus  incest as a family pattern  needs  family      therapy to remedy (Renvoize, 1982, p.116).

      The Effect of Incest Upon Individuals In the Family

       Like  rape,  most incestuous activity between an  adult and  a  child is not sexually motivated.  There are  other  issues at work which lead to the offense—family issues, as we  have said,  of power and control and inability to  deal with frustration, feelings of helplessness and inability to  effect change in one’s life. Fathers often cite unsatisfactory  sex  with their spouses as a reason  for  initiating  incest with their  children (FBI, 1984, p.7)       Treatment  for the offender consists of evaluating  the  motives  and  potential for  change.  The  FBI  recommends  incarceration  for sociopathic offenders and treatment  for   symbiotic  ones  (FBI,   1984,   p.17).  Some  researchers, according  to Mayer,  assert that no treatment is effective with incest perpetrators,  while other assert the  opposite and  cite  studies which show good results  (Mayer,  1983,  p.98).  In  general,  according to Mayer,  the indices  for  prognosis are: (1) age of onset, (2) duration, (3) intensity and/or severity,  and (4) frequency of occurrence.  She says,  "If the age of onset is young and the duration long-term   with   considerable  intensity  and   frequency   of occurrence,  the  prognosis for rehabilitation  is  guarded   (Meyer, 1083, pp.98-99)       Even  for these indices to be evaluated,  however,  the incest must be reported and the FBI manual recommends  that  the criminal justice system must be involved to provide the  impetus for the perpetrator to involve himself in treatment  (FBI,  1984,  p.18).  When I attended the annual forum for  Parents  United  in the Fall of 1986,  I heard a  panel  of  perpetrators-in-treatment  admit to the audience that  were it  not  for  the  involvement of  the  police,  and  their conviction  by  the courts,  they would never  have  stayed around  Parents United,  a self-help group to which  judges  routinely  sentence offenders (similar to the  sentence  to  Alcoholics Anonymous given to many chronic alcoholics).

       What happens to the perpetrator when incest is reported  is   that  the  perpetrator  is  removed  from  the   home. California  state  law demands that this  occur  until  the  family  situation is evaluated.  Often the perpetrator  is not allowed back into the home until long after sentencing,   when it is reasonably certain that he will not again molest his child. The family is then disrupted, but hopefully the dysfunctional  glue  will be dismantled by therapy and  the family put together again with more functional ties.       The mother,  as we have said,  can be a colluder in the  incest,  often "setting up" the child to be molested by the father,  (whom she has married because of his propensity to  molest)  by making the child her surrogate.  The mother  is often  a dependent person who is abused  herself,  passive, compliant,    and    used    to    acquiescing    to    male authority (FBI, 1984, p.8).       If the child tells the mother about the incest,  as  we  have  said,  several things may occur:  she may leave  the  perpetrator,  she may initially believe the child but later minimize  the importance of the telling and not take  steps to protect the child, or she (unfortunately, all too often)  may  accuse  the child of lying or otherwise deny that  the  incest has occurred.  Meiselman reports the following con versation  between a mother and daughter in  a  therapist’s  office:

                Daughter:  (raising voice) You don’t see how we                  could have done it..

                Mother: No, un-unh. No.                Daughter:  (angrily) We went to the  dumpˇ  We                  went out into the sticksˇ  Right out                  there  in the cow pastureˇ  OK,  you                  went away!  Everybody was away  from                  the  house!  We’ve  had it in  your                  bed!  We’ve had it in my bed!  We’ve                  had   it  in  the  bathroom   floor!                  (Mother utters a loud moan.)

                Daughter: We’ve had it down in the  basement;                  In  my bedroom down there,  and also                  in the furnace room!...               Mother:  (shakily) I just can’t believe it, I                  just can’t, just can’t...                Daughter: Mom...                Mother:  (with a trembling voice) Just can’t                  see  how  anything like  this  could                  possibly  happen and how  you  could                  treat me this way.                Daughter: Because....                Mother: (shouting  and  weeping) After  all                  I’ve done for you!  I’ve tried to be                  a  good  mother,   tried  to  be   a                  respectable  mother,  and you accuse                  your  father of something that’s  so                  horrible, that’s.....                Daughter: (shouting) Mother, it’s true! You’ve                  got to believe it...                Mother:  (to  therapist) She’s my  daughter,                  and I love her, but I cannot believe                  this……..                 (Meiselman, 1978, p.173).            

The message the mother is telling the daughter here is,   "If  you love me,  don’t tell me about this." Yet  it  is imperative  that  the child be  believed.  If  the  mother refuses, a therapist or any official who believes the child will  often be enough to help to restore the lost sense  of trust in cases of incest. The practical result of a mother  not  believing the daughter is that the daughter will often  vacillate between insisting on the truth of the incest  and retraction  when  the  mother’s denial makes her  feel  too guilty.  It is in this way that the mother plays a pivotal   role  in  either  alleviating  the  harmful   psychological effects of incest or furthering them       The effect of incest on the child is devastating.  The  child  has been taught that she is to obey her  father,  to anticipate  punishment  for any show of  defiance,  and  to  believe that what her father does is unquestionably in  her best interests. When confronted by her father’s authority,  she will acquiesce.  Meiselman says,  "the lack of force or  specific  threats in father-daughter incest should not lead  to the conclusion that the daughter is actively cooperating  in  the activity.  The daughter is usually passive-because of the father’s authority, out of a sense of loyalty to the  mother,  believing  she  is protecting a  younger  sibling, blaming herself for the assault, and for many other  reasons (Meiselman,  1978, p.149). The child, despite myths to the contrary, is not seductive nor does she seek out the sexual affair initially.  Snowdon, who leads a weekly counseling group for  men who had committed incest,  has this to  say about child seductiveness:

        Therapists generally report that incest offenders                 are non-threatening men,  that they are charmers                 and  wimps,  and  that  their  acts  were  merely                 "distorted  love"  or "misplaced  affection".  I                 listened carefully to these descriptions and  did                 not know what to think about them, until taken by                 surprise  one night in group,  I found out just a                 little  pushing  will bring out  what  is  really                 beneath  the  surface.  I started  a  discussion                 about   enforcing  court  orders  and  there  was                 suddenly a tightening of muscles,  a clenching of                 teeth,  and  a pounding of fists.....I sat  there                 amid  the  rising anger,  a grown  man,  and  was                 afraid.  Everything  fell silent within  me.  I                 stopped  hearing the staccato voices  all  around                 me.  I could only think about a child facing one                 of these men alone.  The fear she must feel» the                 bottomless  anger  she must know is  there,  even                 when  he  is using her  body  politely,  speaking                 gentle encouragements to her........she must know                 that her father is still her master and she  must                 either  obey  or risk his rage.  I  could  only                 think  about  a  child who had to find a  way  to                 survive assault by herself,  who unlike me,  had                 no  escape,  no  home of her own to go to  at  1:                 o’clock  when  group was  over"  (Snowdon,  1982,                 p.3).

       Further,  Snowdon  tells  of  a man in  his  group who  happened to turn on his television to the Donahue show  and catch  an  incest survivor telling the story of  her  life.    For the first time in his life,  he found himself listening  with  his  heart  and  not  his  emotions.   He  began  to understand  his daughter’s terror,  the fear with which she  lived,  the  damage  done to her,  her  sexuality  and  her  psyche.  He  broke down and wept through the show:  it was with the truth told from the point of view of the child and the woman that his therapy started.  This man was one  who had  used the "Lolita" theory to justify his  perpetuation, but when the truth was known, he finally was able to admit,   "Of  course  she seduced me,  but that was only  because  I  seduced  her  into  seducing me—I was  the  adult:  I  was  responsible" (Snowdon, 1982, p.4).       Often  victims  of incest,  far from  being  oversexed,  display  an aversion to sex with anyone.  LaBarbera,  in a  study  on seductive father-daughter  relationships,  finds  evidence  of  fearful attitudes toward  male  sexuality  in  daughters    involved    in   sexualized    father-daughter  relationships.   And  many  incest  victims  are  sexually   unresponsive (LaBarbera, 1984, p.949-950)       Besides  the psychosexual problems reported in  victims of incest there are many, many more. Summitt describes the child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome, which is characterized by secrecy, helplessness, entrapment and accommodation,  delayed, conflicted and unconvincing disclosure, and  retraction (Summitt, I983, p.181).        Summitt states that "virtually no child is prepared for  the  possibility  of molestation by a trusted  adult:  that possibility  is  a  well-kept  secret  even  among  adults.    " ....The only consistent and meaningful impression gained by  the  child  is one of danger and fearful outcome  based  on  secrecy" (Summitt, 1983, p.182).       The   second   phase   of  the   child   sexual   abuse  accommodation  syndrome is that  of  helplessness, including  physical  size and the developmental problems of  children.    Persons  who  work with child sexual victims are  narrowing  the  mean  age  at  which  onset  of  molestation   occurs.      Currently  the  mean  is nine years of age but 25%  of  the victims are five years of age or younger.  Certainly these children  are  helpless.  What follows for  the  child  is entrapment  in  the situation  and  accommodation.  Summit  says,  "If  the  child  did  not seek or  did  not  receive immediate  protective  intervention,  there is  no  further  option to stop the abuse.  The only option left the  child is to learn to accept the situation and to survive.  There is no way out, no place to run" (Summitt, 1983, p.184).       The  child  often  resolves that when he  or  she  is  old enough,  he  or she will stop the abuse and often then disclosure   is   delayed  until  the   child   feels   enough independence to disclose. When this occurs, the disclosure often  occurs  in the context of other acting out  and  the child  is  not believed.  Pressure is put on the child  to recant,  as we have seen first from the mother,  and  later from the criminal justice system. Both police and badgering attorneys  try to get the child to recant.  Summitt  says:                 "Beneath   the  anger  of  impulsive   disclosure                 remains the ambivalence of guilt and the martyred                 obligation  to  preserve  the  family.   In  the                 chaotic   aftermath  of  disclosure,   the  child                 discovers  that  the bedrock  fears  and  threats                 underlying  the  secrecy are  true.  Her  father                 abandons  her and calls her a liar.  Her  mother                 does  not believe her or decomposes into hysteria                 and rage.  The family is fragmented and all  the                 children are placed into custody.  The father is                 threatened  with disgrace and imprisonment.  The                 child is blamed for causing the whole  mess,  and                 everyone seems to treat her like a freak. She is                 interrogated  about  all the tawdry  details  and                 encouraged to incriminate her father.  Under all                 this  pressure,  she  is  likely to  reverse  her                 story" (Summitt, 1983, p.188).       The  effects of the incest on the child include but are not  limited to feelings  of  helplessness,  hopelessness,  isolation  and self-blame:  pathological dependency,  self-punishment,  self-mutilation,  selective  restructuring  of reality  and multiple personalities.  For many victims  of  incest  the rage incubates over years and erupts  in  abuse against offspring.  In the case of males, as has been said, the  rage  springs forth in overt sexual abuse and  in  the case of females in a tendency to allow their children to be abused.  Substance  abuse  is extremely common  in  sexual abuse   victims   who  have  attained  adulthood,   as   is  delinquency,  antisocial behavior and crime.  Victims frequently show posttraumatic stress disorder and sexual  dysfunction.  These  are  mountainous problems which  society  tries to address individually,  treating, for example, drug abuse  or delinquency without addressing the  child  sexual abuse   which   may   be  the  root  of   many   of   these problems (Summitt, 1983, p.183).

 

     Institutional Response: Church and Society

       Randy  Frame,  writing in Christianity Today and quoted  in the Preferred Guide,  a newsletter for Preferred  Risk   Insurance, says

For  as  long as she can  remember,  Rebecca  was                 sexually  and physically abused by her  parents,                 both  of  whom continue to be active  in  their                 mainline Protestant church. She remembers being                 prostituted   as  a  child  for  her   parents’                 financial gain.  She was photographed in various                 sexual acts,  including as a victim of sadism.                 She still shies away from cameras.  Although  the                 scars on her body remain, Rebecca’s emotional                 wounds have begun to heal.  However, she does not                 attribute   her  progress  to  the   church,   an                 institution  she  says  denies that  the  problem                 exists.   At  one  point  she  sought   pastoral                 counseling,   but  says,   `All  I  got  was  an                 expression of disbelief’" (Frame, 1985, p.1).

       Unfortunately,  Rebecca’s story is not unusual. I took a  panel of adults abused as children before a group of  my  colleagues at the South Coast Ecumenical Council. They had a  tendency to believe and empathize with the abused women,  but  one man abused as a boy in ritualistic  Satanic  abuse  was  called a liar.  He was not lying:  his story has been  corroborated  by five of six of his older sisters; he  was dedicated  to  Satan,  baptized in cat’s  blood,  tied  up,  tortured  and  sexually abused by a  babysitter,  an  older woman  whom all the children called "the witch  lady",  obviously for more reasons than that she looked like a witch.       He    developed    multiple    personalities    and     was  institutionalized  for a number of years,  was released  on medication.  His  therapist  recommended  he come  to  our  church.  Through continued therapy and support of  loving  people  he  began to be healed.  Today he lives  a  normal life,  though  homosexual,  and has not had a  "personality  split"  for more than three years.  This is an example  of  what  the  church  can do by simply  believing  the  incest survivor.        Society’s response to the problem is still inadequate. The  criminal  justice  system is not  equipped  for  child  testimony  and  as  can be seen in  some  recent  preschool  cases,  not adequate to handle what must be done to convict  child sexual abusers.  In the case of incest, we have seen what  happens when incest is disclosed,  the disruption  of  the  family,  the  criminal justice system.  Once  in  the criminal  justice system,  the offender has about a one  in  four  chance of getting the help he needs.  He may not  be prosecuted, he may receive probation and be returned to the home, where he will almost certainly continue to molest his  victim or another child,  or he may be convicted. If he is convicted and he gets therapy his chances are the best that  he  will not repeat his offense and that he will  learn  to deal  with  his  impulses and frustrations in  other  ways.       Nevertheless,  the prognosis for the treatment of incest is  not  good.  Mayer  recommends that professionals  evaluate offenders to distinguish between "fixated" and  "regressed"  child   sexual abuser,   or  what  the  FBI   calls   the  "psychopathic"  versus the "symbiotic".  Mayer agrees that the  fixated  offender  has  little  chance  of  successful  treatment.  It  is a tremendous problem which  needs  many  resources and solutions in our society (Mayer, 1983. p.93)

       At  the very least pastors can acquaint themselves with the  problem and be alert to those in the parishes who  may  need  their  help.  Adult women who are  dying  with  "the secret"  in their midst,  children who are currently  being assaulted,  men  who are overwhelmed with shame and guilt—all these are the church’s problems, too, and can be addressed  in  the  church.   Further,   pastors  can  acquaint themselves with helping these people by knowing how to deal with posttraumatic stress syndrome and methods for  healing this disorder.  Clinical writings by those who have worked  with  war  victims,  especially Vietnam veterans  can  help here.  But most of all pastors need to be aware, informed, and open to the challenge of interrupting the vicious cycle of abuse of both boys and girls, that is happening in both incest and child sexual abuse

 

CHAPTER 4

Conclusion and Suggestions for Further Work

       My   hypothesis  was  that  there  would  be  a   high correlation between the child sexual abuser’s religiosity,  family  leadership style,  and his authoritarianism.  This  proved only partially true—only traditional, patriarchal, autocratic  family style corresponded with  religiosity  in child  sexual  abusers,  and  none  of  the  three  indices  correlated  significantly in the control group despite  the  indications  to  the  contrary  in the  literature  of  the  inventories.   But   there   was  a   highly significant correlation  when  child  molesters were  compared  to  the  control  group in every case.  Thus it is true that  child  sexual  abusers  of  the  incest-symbiotic  type  are  more religious,  more  authoritarian,  and more autocratic  than their counterparts in the general population.

   It  appears  in  the survey that  Roman  Catholics  are  represented  in  a  disproportionate number  in  the  child  sexual   abuser   sample.   This   would   correspond   to  observations of Renvoize (1983) when she states that "Roman  Catholics  are vastly over-represented among drug  addicts,   alcoholics,  compulsive gamblers,  prostitutes,  night club  strippers and convicted prisoners" (Renvoize, 86). And, it  might be added, child sexual abuse, if the sample is in any  way representative.    If  it  is true that child sexual abusers  are  more  religious,  authoritarian,  and  more  "traditional-family"  oriented,  as  the  conclusions  suggest,  this  paper  has  presented  some  aspects of child sexual abuse that can  be addressed  by the church and some methods of becoming  part  of the solution rather than part of the problem.    First,  it  has  been  suggested that the church  as  a  sociological institution take a look at how the  theology of  sexuality  has  impeded progress and  often  aided  the perpetrator   of  child  sexual  abuse. The  church   as   institution is sociological and subject to the same sets of power abuses as any other sociological institution.  It is  the  task of the church to be on its guard a priori because of  this inherent systemic "temporal power problem" and  to be ever vigilant to side with the victim of oppression  and not with the powerful.  In the case of child sexual abuse,   the  church needs to be on the side of the victim,  not the  perpetrator

Secondly,  it has been suggested that the church  needs  to  examine  its  theology to move from  repressive  sexual theology  to  open sexual theology.  The  church  needs  a  theology which fully affirms human beings just as they are,  including their sexuality.  The mystery of the incarnation means  that  God  has sanctified our  flesh  including  our sexuality. The theology of the church has been traced from  three   lines  through  history—Roman  Catholic,   liberal  Protestant, and conservative Protestant—and found wanting.      Specific suggestions for doing a sexual theology have  been  tentatively suggested,  and no claims have been made to the  final word on a theology of sexuality.  More work needs to  be  done  in this area;  and I have full hope that  in  the latter  part of this century the task of the church will be  to continue to explore what the incarnation means to  human  sexuality.    There  will  be  some who,  no  doubt,  object  to  the methodology in study of child sexual abuse perpetrators. I do not claim to be a social researcher-I am a pastor; but I  have  to  the  best of my ability  followed  good  research  techniques.  Sampling  is  admittedly difficult  and  many psychologists  would  reject out of hand studying  a  group that  has  been  pre-defined by society  as  "child  sexual  abusers". Nevertheless, since finding child sexual abusers in the general population is all but impossible, the thesis is  that we must deal with what can be readily obtained  in the area of data and groupings.

   The concern is practical:  that the church, which as an institution produces "religious" people, look long and hard at  how child sexual abuse occurs.  The practical  concerns  include  acknowledgment  by  the church that  child  sexual abuse is one of the major disrupters of the nuclear family as  configured in the West.  Pastors and layworkers in  the church need to become acquainted with the effects of child  sexual  abuse  on the family;  particularly if  that  child sexual abuse is incestuous in the classic sense:  i.e., the  perpetrator  is a person within the nuclear  family.  This kind  of  sexual abuse is obviously the  most  devastating,  because of the power problems involved and the helplessness involved.  As  has been shown,  the child needs a  "strong one",  an  advocate,  and  if the perpetrator is a  father,  stepfather,   brother,   or  a  mother   or  stepmother,  very  often the result for the partner of  the perpetrator is acute tension and divided loyalty which  too often results in the child being not believed.  Becoming a  victim-advocate is one clear way the church can help.    Another  indication  for the church is in the  area  of   modeling   and   teaching  democratic  roles   for   family  relationships.  Recently  I was reading about a well-known  conservative  lecturer/pastor who appears on the  Christian  radio station and in print. He advocates "applying the rod  severely" to deal with rebellious and/or misbehaving  children.  He  further  advocates that a parent apply the  rod  until a child "cries the soft tears of repentance" and  not stop when the child is angry or crying loudly. This is not the kind of teaching or modeling which teaches a child that s/he  has  intrinsic worth,  is loved,  and  fosters  self-esteem.  This  particular pastor may be able to apply this  kind  of  discipline without abusing his  children,  but  I question   the  universal  application  of  this  kind   of  "discipline" because of the authoritarian nature of it and,  by extension, the tacit approval of abuse other than physical,  including  emotional  as well  as  sexual  (Rosemond, 1986)The church may be an advocate,  too, for social reform.  Currently  the  denial around child sexual abuse  is  being  broken and people are slowly beginning to acknowledge  that the  problem  exists in the proportion that experts say  it  does.  But there is a backlash beginning,  even before the child advocacy programs get much more than off the  ground.       The  church  can  again  be a major  spokesperson  for  the victims,  both children and adults.  Simply  acknowledging that  the  problem IS widespread,  that children don’t often lie about sexual abuse,  and being supportive of what  agencies may  be  available to help is one small way the church  can  help.    In  terms  of  further  research,   I  propose  several  approaches.  First,  a  reliable  instrument needs  to  be discovered,  if one exists,  or developed, if one does not,   to   discriminate  between  "authoritarian  religion"   and  "nonauthoritarian  religion".  Questions asked  from  this  study  might include,  "Are there certain denominations  or  groups that are more authoritarian than othersż If so, how does  this fact affect child abuse and child sexual abuse?"       Other  questions  arising from this  study  could  include,  "What  are the characteristics of religious groups that are  authoritarian?  What  are  the socialization  patterns  of  these groups?  How do(or do not) these patterns perpetuate themselves?"

   The  second  area would revolve  questions  around  the traditional  nuclear  family and child-rearing  techniques.    There is currently a sharp disagreement over public  policy surrounding    "the family"   in   American    society.     Conservative religious leaders and politicians alike  decry  the decay  of  the  family,   meaning  the   traditional,   autocratic patriarchal family. According to conclusions in  this  study,   this  autocratic  family  style  certainly  provides  an atmosphere in which child sexual abuse can at  least flourish if it does not actively foster child  sexual  abuse.  This  latter consideration is a question of  which  came  first,  the  chicken or the egg,  but the  autocratic family can be,  according to the study, more of a fertile breeding ground for child sexual abuse than the  democratic  family.    This   consideration  raises  enormous  social   policy  considerations.  Instead  of monies spent in attempting  a  return  to  a  more  traditional  family,  perhaps  western  societies   ought   instead  to  abandon   the   autocratic  patriarchal  family as a vehicle that was broken to  begin with,  and  instead  focus  on programs  which  effectively  promote democratic families.    In the end, those in the church and those in the social arena owe it to future generations to face these  questions for  every little child who suffers from child sexual abuse and for adult victims who have survived such abuse.    What  suggestions can be implemented by  ministers  and  counselors  in the church to combat the  hidden,  monstrous problem  which is like a cancer eating away at our families and  children? The  sheer  magnitude of  the  problem  is  staggering;  one  in four girls and one in ten boys  equals  about  70  million people in a population of  200  million!       These  raw  numbers,   as  we  have  seen,   are   probably underestimates  of the problem,  and the numbers  translate  into an enormous social problem

       Several practical suggestions

   1.  Find  out  the  facts about  child  sexual  abuse.       "Taboo" is a word that has been used about incest and child sexual abuse. As one survivor put it, "the only thing that is taboo about child sexual abuse is talking about it. Too many seem to be doing it" (Armstrong,  1977,  p.7). Denial  pervades the subject:  denial that children can be sexual,  that  the  father or father-figure (less often the  mother)  could  be doing "such a thing",  denial that the  child  is telling the truth,  and so on.  Further, the myth prevails   that  the  victim  is  somehow  responsible  and  guilt  is  fostered  by well-meaning but ill-informed adults whom  the child has decided to trust.  Knowing that children who lie usually understate   the  problem,   for  example,   is  invaluable knowledge to a minister or laycounselor.

   2.  Be alert for signs of abuse in your  congregation       Once  the symptoms of child sexual abuse are known they can be  recognized.  Offenders  need  help or  incarceration.  Families will suffer disorganization.  Remember to presume for  the  child;  s/he  is powerless  in  society  and  the offender is a "con artist". In all this, the church should  be  nonjudgmentally present  both  in its prophetic role and as  a  healer.   Churches  particularly  need to be careful if they  have  a church-supported day-care center, as they are prime targets for pedophiles.    3.   Cultivate  a  "shalom"  community  where   adults  molested  as children who are suffering in silence can feel  it is safe to share "the secret"." To do this one needs  to do  more  than  just  "be open to  a  person’s  sharing  in counseling".  Pastors  need  to preach on the  problem  in  prophetic mode and say that they are open.  Incest victims are  used to people not believing their story»  if  pastors take this step, people will come to be healed.    4.  Be  aware of the many ways of healing the  "little child  hurts"  the adult survivor will be  bringing.  Many  methods  have  been suggested for healing the  inner  grief wound,  including  group therapy,  prayer,  psychotherapy, "regression therapy",  anonymous 12-step programs, and many other effective therapies.  Most important,  however,  the survivor  needs someone to whom they feel they can  relate,  someone  who will understand and empathize with them.  And  they  need  someone who is not afraid of the  strength  and enormity of the emotions which have been repressed and will  be willing to deal with the deep tears of grief, the almost murderous  rage,   and  immobilizing  guilt  of  the  adult survivor.    The  church  has,  all to often,  been  the  agent  for  alienating the incest victim.  With proper information and  proper  perspective  the  church can become  the  agent  of  wholeness.  We’ve  only seen the tip of the iceberg in the area of child sexual abuse.  The purpose of this paper  is to challenge the church—pastors, counselors, religious—to become  those agents of healing and wholeness in this  most   devastating "silent sin".

 

Authoritarianism and Child Sexual Abuse

THE STUDY

CORRELATION  Of  AUTHORITARIANISM,  RELIGIOSITY  AND CHILD

SEXUAL ABUSE

Carolyn Dusty Pruitt

School of Theology at Claremont

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submitted to: Doctoral Reading Committee

Spring 1986

Running Head: Authoritarianism and Child Sexual Abuse

ABSTRACT

The   purpose   of  this study  was to  investigate   the

relationship     between     authoritarian     personality,

religiosity,  and authoritarian/democratic style in  family

configuration  in child sexual abusers. The  measurements

used  were  the Traditional family Inventory developed  by

Daniel  J. Levinson of Harvard University and  Phyliss E.

Huffman  (1955) of Western Reserve University»  the f Scale

for Authoritarian Personality developed by Harold  Webster,

Levitt Sanford,  and Mervin Freedman (1955); and a Study of

Religious Belief developed by L. B. Brown  (1962). The

hypothesis was that  I  would  find  a high  positive

correlation    between   religiosity   and    authoritarian

personality and authoritarian style in family dynamics. Of

the  3¶  participants in  the  study,   half  were  incest

offenders participating in Parents United,  a court-ordered

group therapy organization. The other half were a group of

men obtained from a random sample recruited from the Parent

Teacher  Association  and  colleagues and  associates of

parishioners of  my church (when the PTÁ failed  to  yield

enough participants). All control subjects were asked to

be  in  a nuclear family setting with children  present,

regardless of  whether  the  children  were  natural   or

stepchildren. Both groups were composed of a mixture  of

races but  the  Parents United  group  was somewhat  more

heterogenous than the control group. Two of the offenders’

marriages were  interracial  as was one  of  the  control

group’s. Subjects’  scores on the three instruments were

compared   for   a Pearson  Product   Moment   Correlation

Coefficient and significant comparisons were found  between

Religiosity and Authoritarian styles in governing families.

Á  T-test  was run  for all the  various combinations of

groups. A highly significant correlation was found between

the  offenders and the control group in religiosity and  in

authoritarianism,   and  in  autocratic/democratic  family

style. no significant correlation was found in authoritarian  personality  when  compared either to the  other  two  tests or  when comparing any of the three instruments in

the control group. It was suggested that the group therapy

in Parents United might have been a factor in this finding

and  that  further  studies might be more accurate  if  the

offenders were tested prior to entering Parents United. It

was suggested that the sensitivity of the  instruments or

the  smallness of  sample might account for  the  lack of

significant correlations in the control group.

 

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY,

AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNING STYLE AND RELIGIOSITY IN FAMILIES

In the 1950’s, religious life in America was at an all-

time high. Attendance was high, optimism that life would be

better   was wide-spread,   and  families were   solidly,

cohesively  together.  So goes the lore,  and the informal

Gallup  polls seem to confirm that lore.  But as optimism

decreased through the 1960’s,  so did religious life. To

day,  with the  mood in the country swinging back toward

"traditional  values",  religious life is again  becoming

vigorous and revitalized. According to the Gallup  polls

for 1957,  69% of those polled answered in the  affirmative

to  the question,  "Religion is increasing its influence on

family  life." In 197° only 14% answered in the  affirmative

But  by 1982,  the number had climbed to  over  60%

again (Gallup, 1982.).

In  line with this resurgence in religion as related to

family life, a significant group of religious conservatives

decries what  is seen as "the decay of  the  family"  and

advocates a "return to the traditional family"--  meaning a

return  to  a more male-dominant,  patriarchal  model  of

family  life.  In  contrast,   the  literature  of  those

researching child sexual abuse states that offenders within

the  family  tended  to  be  more  authoritarian  and  more

religious than average. In studying the literature, I found

that most psychological and sociological studies focused on

the victim of child sexual abuse. Those that did deal with

the  perpetrator lacked a control group with which to  compare

the offenders as a group. I wished to test the assertions of 

the  counselors in child sexual abuse  that  the  offender  is

more authoritarian and  more  religious than

average. I further wished to question whether there would

be a significant correlation between the sociological index

of authoritarian/democratic style of governing a family and

the  psychological indices of religiosity and authoritarian

personality. This paper explores these questions.

METHOD

Subjects

The  subjects were  a group of   men  who  had  been

convicted by the courts of molesting their children and who

had   been  referred  as a part  of  their  sentence   to

participation in Parents United,  a nonprofit therapy group

      for families affected by incest. In Parents United, there

is a group for offenders, one for non-offending spouses, and

one  for  daughters and sons affected by the  incest. The

control group was selected from Parent-Teacher  Association

      of  Long Beach,  California--  this yielded a self-selecting

group  of ą subjects out of 50 questionnaires distributed—

and  colleagues of my parishioners who are  distributed  in

various occupations—the   latter   yielded   another   ą

questionnaires. Three  questionnaires were  additionally

received  and were ruled out»  one because of late  arrival

and  two  because they failed to sign the informed  consent

form consenting to use the material. Good data-collecting

techniques were followed and subjects were required to sign

the  consent forms prior to actual collection of the  data.

Anonymity and confidentiality were assured to the  subjects

      by  a written cover sheet explaining the project  and  its

      objective and through use of control numbers.

Demographic data are illustrated at the figure below.

_______________

Insert figure about here

_______________

      Instruments

Three    instruments were   used   to   measure   the

authoritarian  tendencies,  authoritarian traits governing

family life,  and religiosity of subjects. "Á new f  scale

for Authoritarian Personality, devised by Webster, Sanford

and  freedman  (1955©  was used  to  compute  authoritarian

tendencies(Validity,  .77»  Kuder-Richardson reliability,

.88). The  instrument  consists of  14ą  items measuring

compulsiveness,     punitive    morality,     authoritarian

submission,   conventionality,   religious fundamentalism,

emotional suppression,  ego—alien symptomatology,  lack of

self-confidence,   projectivity,   cynicism,   romanticism,

aggression and sense of victimization. The identical items

appear in the MMPI and the CPI and have been widely used to

      measure  authoritarianistic traits. Á high score tends to

      authoritarian  personality. Some of the drawbacks in  the

      instrument include lack of some authoritarian  clusters

described   in  other  descriptions of   authoritarian

personalities  (such   as "power    and    toughness,

"superstition",   and  "sex");   inability  to  distinguish

      between "personality" and "culture;" and the relatively low

      incidence  of "false" items (only thirteen items were to be

      answered "false" while the rest were to be answered  "true"

      if  the  subject tended toward authoritarian  personality).

The  index was scored on a forced-choice true-false  basis.

The  raw scores were computed by adding the number of  true

answers. Á  high score indicates a tendency  toward  an

authoritarian personality.

"The Traditional family Ideological Scale" developed by

Levinson   and  Huffman (1955) attempted  to  measure   the

subject’s position  on a democratic-autocratic continuum.

The  scale deals with male roles of husband and father  and

the female roles of wife and mother with special  attention

to   definitions of  masculinity  and  femininity.  Also

measured  are  child-parent relationships and a few  other

indices of  autocracy  such as sex,   aggression,   and

interpersonal  relationships. five of the aspects of  the

authoritarian personality were selected for this instrument

because  of  their relationship  to  interpersonal,  family

relationships rather  than  intrapersonal,   psychological

traits.   These   were   conventionalism,   authoritarian

submission,    exaggerated   sense   of   masculinity   and

femininity,   extreme   emphasis on   discipline,   and

moralistic rejection of impulse life. Some  drawbacks

to this instrument are: (1) unarticulated major variants to

democratic/autocratic family ideology,  (2)  unarticulated

and  unmeasured  relationships of ideology to  action,  and

(3)unmeasured and unaccounted for cultural influences, such

as parental  family  ideology  as well  as institutional

cultural influences (church,  school, etc.). The index was

      scored   on  a continuum  ranging  from   -3,   strongly

      disagree,  to +3,  strongly agree. four points were added

      to each answer to obtain a positive raw score. In addition,

      questions had reverse answers from the rest of the study.

      These answers were reversed in computing the score.

The  third  instrument used was "Á Study  of  Religious

Belief "developed  by  L.  B.  Brown.  (1962).  This

questionnaire  was developed  with the  assumption   that

"religious belief  is a cognitive function  with varying

degrees of subjective certainty,  and  relationships with

other psychological characteristics" (Adorno, et al, 1950,

p.259). The questionnaire attempted to get at intensity of

belief,  personality  measures of neuroticism/extraversion,

and humanitarianism. Again, four points were added to each

answer to compute a positive raw score. Some drawbacks of

this instrument  include  the  inability  to  state   with

certainty  whether  religious behavior is a cognitive or  a

      emotive or other function, the need for caution in assuming

that child sexual abusers who give answers indicating that

they   hold   positive  religious beliefs are   therefore

"religious"  (professing religious beliefs may  be  a

      compensatory action),  and the fact that church member

ship  and attitudinal acceptance of the church rather than

personality  variables that are tested  (Adorno,  et  al,

1950, p.269).

Procedures

I  computed  the central tendency scores for all  three

instruments for  both groups. I  found  no  significant

      correlation between the f Scale and either of the other two

indices. But  I obtained a correlation between  religious

belief  and democratic/autocratic style of family that  was

significant  at the .0µ level (r=.437© for  the  offenders

      group. Correlations between  the  three  indices in  the

control group were not significant.

_______________

Insert Table 1 about here

_______________

I  then  computed the t values between  groups. There

was,   according to  the  data,   a significant  positive

correlation between offenders and the control group at  the

.00µ  level  and beyond in each and  every  case—religious

belief,  authoritarian personality,  and traditional family

(democratic/autocratic style).

_______________

Insert Table 2 about here

________________

Results

I  tested the assertion of certain authorities working

in the area of child sexual abuse that child sexual abusers

were   more  authoritarian  and  more  religious than

average (Summitt, 1983, p.221). I had expected to find, as

did    others,    a  correlation   between   authoritarian

personality, democratic/autocratic family interactions, and

religiosity. I  found a significant correlation in  child

sexual  abusers between autocratic family  interaction  and

religiosity   but   this did  not  carry  over   to   the

authoritarian  personality. I did not find a significant

correlation  between  any of the measures in  the  control

group. This was a surprising development since the initial

presentation    for   all   three   instruments indicated

significant    correlations for   authoritarianism    and

religiosity. In comparing groups, however, I found that

      the  control  group consistently and  highly  significantly

      scored lower on religiosity,  authoritarian personality and

autocratic style of relating in families. These  figures

(table 2© seem to confirm that even after treatment,  child

sexual  abusers are more religious and  authoritarian  than

average.

These  findings must  be mitigated by  the  cautionary

material    discussed    under   the    section    entitled

"Instruments". further, these findings are not conclusive

if we bear in mind that the category "child sexual  abuser"

is a predetermined one and that it is difficult to find  a

sample  of  child sexual abusers other than  those  already

defined as such by society,  law enforcement,  the  courts,

and  therapy. In  other words,  since we cannot  obtain  a

random  sample  of  child sexual abusers from  the  general

population,  we  must  rely  on  a predefined  sample  and

statistics gained from such a sample may be skewed.

I  hypothesize  that the reason that we do  not  get  a

positive   significant  correlation  between   "traditional

family "    and   Authoritarian   personality   or   between

religiosity  and  the  latter is due to the  work done  in

Parents United. The mean time in group therapy in Parents

United was just over two years,  and in that time we  would

hope for some kind of change in attitude and/or behavior of

the  subjects. As to why no positive correlation  between

any  of  the tests in the control group when we could  have

expected  to  find such positive  correlations,  perhaps a

      larger  sample was needed and could be found given a wider

      initial range of questionnaire distribution. Variables in

      sensitivity  of  instruments might  be  another   possible

reason.

Implications for further Research

While  my  study  tentatively confirms observation  of

those who work with child sexual abusers, several questions

remain. first,  the  results of those  who  created  the

instruments need  to be duplicated in the  control  group.

Although Brown comes to a conclusion that religious belief

might  not be related to other cognitive systems,  my  work

with offenders suggests a correlation,   although  his

conclusions seem justified when it comes to control groups.

But  O’neill  and Levinson(1954) concluded that  "religious

conventionalism"  related significantly  to  authoritarian

personality» and Levinson and Huffman (1955) state,

"...it would appear that active participation  in

an  institutionalized  religion  tends,   by  and

large,  to  be associated with an  authoritarian

conception  of the family and of human relation

ships generally. The problems of differentiating

authoritarian from egalitarian religious orienta-

tions,    and   of   determining  their   socio-

psychological    bases,     remain     relatively

unexplored" (Levinson ¦ Huffman, 1955, p.253).

Although more  work on such questions remains to  be

done,  implications for  both social policy and  religious

institutions are  staggering should the  results reported

here continue to be duplicated. The answer to child sexual

abuse  would  lie  in  providing a base  of  security  and

egalitarianism for the family,  in egalitarian religion and

denominations,  and in nonauthoritarian personalities,  not

in  entrenchment in an extreme emphasis on discipline  (one

of   the   traits of   traditional   family    ideology),

conventionalism,   exaggerated  sense  of  masculinity  and

femininity,  and  moralistic rejections of impulse life  as

some  popular religious and political figures are  strongly

      suggesting today.

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Adorno,  T.W.et al.’ (1950).The authoritarian personali Ť

       ty." new Yorkş Harper.

      Brown, L.B.(1962). Religiosity scale. BritishJournal of Ť

Psychology,53, 259-272.

Gallup,  G. (1982).The Gallup poll on religion." new Yorkş Ť

Macmillan.

Levinson,  D. J.,  and Huffman,  P.E.(1955© Traditional Ť

family ideology and its relation to personality.Journal Ť

of Personality,23:3.

O’neill,  W. M. and Levinson,  D. J.(1954). Á factorial Ť

Exploration   of  Authoritarianism  and  Some  of   Its Ť

Ideological Concomitants. Journal of Personality, 22, Ť

449-463.

      Summitt, Roland C.(1983). The child sexual abuse accommo- Ť

       dation  syndrome. Child Abuse and neglect, 7, 177-193.

      Webster,  H.,  Sanford, n., and freedman, M.(1955). Á new Ť

       instrument   for   studying  authoritarianism   in Ť

       personality.  The  Journal  of Social  Psychology, 40, Ť

       73-84.

14

 

 

fIGURE 1

Demographic Data

Parents United Control Group

Mean Age 42.ł yrs. 37.µ yrs.

Children:

Total number 5˛ 35

%Boys 37% 45%

%Girls 63% 55%

Race

Caucasian 1˛ 16

Black ˛ 0

Oriental ± 1

Hispanic ł 1

Mixed-Race Marriages ł 1

Religion:

Roman Catholic ą 1

fundamentalist Prot. ł 3

Liberal Protestant ´ 9

Sect ° 1

Jewish ° 2

no Religion ˛ 2

Alcohol Abuse:

*heavy **´ 4

       Moderate ¶ 13

      Use of other mind-

       altering substances: ł 1

 

       *Heavy=more than one drink daily or more than seven per Ť

      week.

       **The questionnaire was not clear as to whether the  use Ť

      of  mind altering substances was pre-or post-treatment  for Ť

Parents United. Most  do  not now use alcohol  or  other Ť

      drugs.

15

 

 

TABLE 1

      Central Tendency Table for Religious Inventory, Traditional Ť

family Inventory, and f-Scale for EachGroup

       n=1¸ n=18

      Parents United" Control Group

       RI  TfI   RI      TfI

       X 6171 2426 X 5478 1769

      X 34 2.83 134.77 X 304.33 98.28

      (n-1© 28.4· 22.1˛ (n-1© 21.3µ 18.97

       Median 127.5 339 Median 95 307

       Mode 123,163 0 Mode 95,85 299

       r .437 sig at .05 level. r .181 n.S.

n=18 n=18

Parents United"  Control Group"

RI f-Scale RI f-Scale

Ř 617±  140ł Ř 547¸     911

Ř 342.8ł  77.9´ Ř 304.3ł   50.61

(n-1) 28.47 14.82 (n-1) 21.35 20.40

Median 127.5 82 Median 95 47.5

Mode 123.163 83 Mode 95,85 47,60

r .263 n.S. r .227 n.S.

       n=18 n=18

      Parents United" Control Group

TfI f-Scale TfI f-Scale

X 2426 1403 X 1769 911

X 134.77 77.94 X 98.28 50.61

      (n-1) 22.12 14.82 (n-1) 18.97 20.40

       Median 339 82 Median 307 47.5

       Mode 0 83 Mode 299 47,60

r .106 n.S. r .052 n.S.

.paŠ

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TABLE 2

t-Test Correlations Between Each Group

 

Traditional family Mean SD(n-1© n t

Inventory

Ť

ParentsUnited 134.7· 22.1˛ 1¸  24.2¸ sig.@

Control Group 98.28 18.97 18 .005

      f-Scale Mean SD(n-1© n t

     Parents United 77.94 14.82 18 18.10 sig. @

     Control Group 50.61 26.81 18 .005

 

Religious Inventory Mean SD(n-1) n t

Parents United 342.83 28.46 18 22.13 sig. @

Control Group 304.33 26.89 18 .005

 

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      APPENDIX A

       SCATTERPLOTS-RA× SCORED ROUNDED TO NEAREST 10

      f-Scale

X

X X

X X O

X X X O O O O

X X X X O O O O O

X X X X X O O XO O O O O O

 Ť

2°  3°  4° 5° 6° 7° 8° 9° 10° 11° 12° 13° 14° 15°  16°  17° Ť

Ť

      Parents United=Ď

      Control Group =X

      Traditional family Inventory

X

X X

X X O

X X O O O O

X X XO XO O O O

X X X XO XO XO O XO O O O

 

60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170

Parents United=Ď

Control Group=X

Religious Inventory

RAW SCORE ROUNDED TO NEAREST 20

       X

X0

X X0 0

X X0 0 0

X X0 X0 0

X X X0 X0 0 0

X X X X0 X0 0 0 0

" 

260 280 300 320 340 360 380 400

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