Is the way we teach children about sexual exploitation all wrong?

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by Cloo, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Cloo

    Cloo Surfeit of lampreys

    Came across a very interesting blog about victim blaming. The psychologist writer feels that a lot of harm is being done by the way children are educated about abusen (‘You showed me a CSE film when I was 13 years old… this is how it affected me’ – A letter for #nomoreCSEfilms) . To summarise it probably a bit simplistically:
    • The focus on talking about scenarios and 'what could she [and it usually is 'she'] have done differently/ what would you do in that situation' blames the victim
    • Scary films that show graphic abuse are not based on any evidence-backed research into effectiveness, do not involve input from psychologists and can be very harmful or desensitising for kids, and especially traumatic to victims of abuse, of whom there are likely to be a fewif you are showing it to a whole class
    • Too often these are used after abuse to try to make some or other point to a traumatised child (again, without any advice from a properly qualified person)
    • Often these films show a stereotype of middle class white female victim and older male abuser, but if you're going to educate kids about this, a variety of victims and abusers should be discussed
    • Most online abuse doesn't involve careful, gradual grooming, or pretending to be a child - mostly it is adults who make contact and swiftly move on to threats and blackmail (I had no idea about this, she seems to know what she's talking about though I haven't seen her sources on it).
    She feels the focus should be on the abuser's choices and actions, not the child's, though I'm not sure how or if she is proposing children be helped, but she does say there needs to be more focus on a more effective police and legal response to stop abusers in the first place.

    It certainly raises some interesting questions. I can see how it is problematic to tell children they must 'defend themselves' against these people and how that approach must make victims feel worse. But how can we inform kids about the risks posed by these people without making kids feel too responsible?
  2. crossthebreeze

    crossthebreeze Well-Known Member

    Thanks for linking to that Cloo - her whole blog is brilliant, and those films sound horrifically re-traumatising and victim-blaming - I'm going to pass the blog on to some people at work who might be interested.

    She goes into a bit more detail in some of her other articles about how she would approach some of these topics with children and young people - talking openly about sex and relationships, and using a feminist approach to give young peoples the tools to think critically about behaviours and expectations, and the way sex is portrayed in the media, including porn.

    She makes a good point though:
    “Would you also agree that no matter how much you taught your children about the dangers of roads, the green cross code and how to stay safe; you still could not blame them if a dangerous driver who wanted to harm children swerved towards them, mounted the curb and ran them over?”

    “Child sex offenders are not the physical, constant, non-motivated dangers like the motorway that you can tell kids not to play on. They are the dangerous driver who swerves, mounts the curb and runs over the child, who cannot predict it will happen and cannot protect themselves from the impact.”

    Rather than focusing on the victim's behaviour, more effort needs to be put into going after perpetrators, and certainly naming their behaviour as wrong - and victims need to be made to feel secure, and given the support and space to recover from trauma - not blamed for their own abuse.
    Riklet, seventh bullet, Mordi and 2 others like this.
  3. Cloo

    Cloo Surfeit of lampreys

    Thanks, hadn't found the bit about her approaches - I like the feminist approach to discussing it. Much more empowering and probably hits the message home more effectively too.

    Mordi and crossthebreeze like this.

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