Sunday, January 24, 2010

There seems to be a book burning party going on in the survivor community...

The book is called: The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children and it is written by Harvard educated Susan A Clancy. (I think the “A” may stand for asinine) In her book, Ivy league degreed, yet still *uneducated* Clancy claims that children who are sexually abused are rarely damaged physically OR psychologically.
In an interview, Clancy was asked, “What do you mean by the "trauma myth"? 
Her explanation: “The title refers to the fact that although sexual abuse is usually portrayed by professionals and the media as a traumatic experience for the victims when it happens — meaning frightening, overwhelming, painful — it rarely is. Most victims do not understand they are being victimized, because they are too young to understand sex, the perpetrators are almost always people they know and trust, and violence or penetration rarely occurs. "Confusion" is the most frequently reported word when victims are asked to describe what the experience was like. Confusion is a far cry from trauma.”  Clancy went on to say, “For 30 years we've been working on preventing sexual abuse. But we've skirted around what sexual abuse really is. The kids don't know what's going on, and they often enjoy it. They're not going to resist.”
Clancy also shares that she experienced quite a backlash from her book while working at Harvard. When asked how bad it was she says this: “It's bad enough I moved to Nicaragua. When I was at Harvard — the peak of my career, at the university you want to be, surrounded by all the people who were the titans in the field — there was just so much bullshit going on. People focused on a type of abuse that affects maybe 2 percent of the population, millions of dollars for funding that doesn't apply to most victims, bestselling books written by therapists misportraying sexual abuse. I would try to tell the truth. I would be attacked. Grad students wouldn't talk to me. Professors would tell me to leave for other fields. I just felt disillusioned. I got this opportunity from the World Bank to do cross-cultural research on how sexual abuse is understood in Latin America. I came down to Central America, and I've stayed.”
I have so many thoughts swirling around in my pea-sized trauma-brain I am not yet sure how to process what she is saying. I vacillate from wanting to tell her it is “that bad” to just shaking my head and letting it be –because clearly she will never understand. But my problem with letting it be is so many people already ignore what goes on, or believes that it isn’t “that bad”, that I cannot, in good conscious, not speak my peace about this outrageous misleading book, written by an uneducated woman who not only believes that there are no lasting physical or psychological effects from being sexually abused as a child but also believes it is not the abuse itself that is traumatic, but rather, the “Therapeutic” culture dictating to the victims how they should feel about the abuse they experienced.

Listen up, Susan Clancy:  It is that bad. And 5 year olds do not “enjoy” being fucked by grown men, in their own homes, which is supposed to be a place of safety. A 5 year old's vagina is not meant to be penetrated by a grown man’s penis. A 5 year old does not find it “pleasurable” to have a grown man’s dick shoved down her throat. It is that bad, Susan Clancy, and it does have life-long lingering effects. And as far as the “therapeutic” culture telling me how I should “feel” about it? Well, I have trusted only one therapist with how I “feel” about it, she did not ever force her opinions on me of what I should feel. I’m fairly certain she wishes I didn’t *feel* as bad as I do most of the time, as I’m sure she does not want to continue taking dissociative midnight phone calls from a child who relives the pain over and over and over again.  I'm pretty sure she hates that I continue to test her care and question her trustworthiness after we've worked together for nearly 4 years.  But she has never once said, "Grace, it wasn't that bad."  And she believes me when I tell her it is that bad. 

There are lasting effects, Susan Clancy. I could write a BOOK on the effects, both physical and psychological. Just because someone chooses not to disclose the abuse for 30 years, or even in their lifetime; just because someone can outlive the abuse and grow up and function in society so no one would ever guess what happened – that doesn’t mean it was okay.

I was 5 years old when my mother brought my step-father into our home. I was 5 years old when he first touched me. I did not find it pleasurable to have a drunk man pawing my 5 year old chest. I felt only searing pain the first time he fucked me. And he did it again, and again, and again. Year after year he fucked me and sodomized me, Susan Clancy. And if you met me on the street, you would never know that. You would think I am an educated, polite, well-functioning woman, living the American dream. But I cannot even pour bleach into the washing machine because it reminds me of the SF’s semen in my mouth. I cannot eat or smell specific foods. I have no idea what intimacy is and I cannot make any sort of connection between sex and love. I have trouble fucking my husband not because I don't like to have sex, but because of the "lingering effects" that happen after I fuck him. I cannot trust people to see the "real" me, because of the ignorance of people like you who will say, "It was not that bad.",  and on most nights there is no safe place. But you would never know of those “lingering effects” of being fucked as a child. 

And for me there is no escape Susan Clancy. I was 5 years old and I could not jump on a plane to another country to escape the “backlash” I lived in. For me, it was “that bad”, Susan Clancy, and there was no escape.  And it's uneducated nitwits like you who speak on a subject they know nothing about; people like you, Susan Clancy, who make us believe that we should be ashamed for believing it was "that bad". 

It is people like you, Susan Clancy, who make me thankful for my therapist who does believe me when I say it was "that bad".  It's people like you, Susan Clancy, who make me want to flush my shame right down the toilet and write my own book telling everyone just how bad it was to be fucked as a kid.   And some day, I just might!  And when I do, I will send an autographed copy, first edition, to you - in Nicaragua, where you ran away to hide, because the backlash of your unsubstantiated theory was too great for you to bear. 
*Oh the Humanity!*


  1. Well, I'm sure glad Susan was able to hop on a plane and escape. We have enough trash here without her. We still have Marsha Marsha Marsha. They sound like two peas in a pod. It really was that bad, but as long as we can still look normal on the street and smile when we pour the bleach, well... some people desperately need us to do that so they can pretend.

  2. WOO! YOU GO, GIRL!!!
    I didn't know this book existed. I'm glad I didn't know this book existed. How did you find it??

    Oh, my gosh, I cannot believe someone would write that stuff. I wonder what she based her stats on... Oh, my gosh...

  3. I can't believe such a book could actually get published. No wonder she had to escape the country, what was she thinking? It amazes me though, that when a whole community tells you 'you're wrong, you should work in another field' etc. what makes her think she's right and everyone else wrong?
    I think she may be in serious need of mental help herself!!!

  4. My head has that 'splodey feeling again.

  5. Okay, so, I feel like I need to comment more. I think I am the person she's talking about when she says there are kids who have sexual experiences and enjoy them. What I experienced was not painful or horrifying at the time.

    **That's why it was abusive. Because I was too young to know it was wrong.**

    Yeah, it was just a game. And? So what? I still went through 15 years of psychological dysfunction before I ever sought treatment. No one asked about trauma. They just drugged and hospitalized me. I went another six years before I found a therapist who was willing to even examine how those early experiences were still affecting me. And lo and behold! I started to get better.

    Maybe I should read her book. Right now, I'm just really not getting her point.

  6. Superla! Hey, lady!

    I think this author's way of handling this material gives alot of people's heads that 'splodey feeling. It did mine (which explains all the profanity and angry name-calling). I think a lot of the reason is because she makes too many leaps of logic that leave no room for the many intracacies of each individual's experiences, makes irrational generalizations, invalidates the survivors and then says that that is not what she is doing (because, you know, that would just be wrong!). And this woman has no problem coming right and saying dissociative amnesia does not exist. It simply doesn't exist because she says it doesn't. Her entire approach is crazy-making.

    (And just a thought - there ARE 'sexual experiences' in childhood. The big question is -- which incidents were 'experiences'/ experiments, etc, and which were abuse? I don't think it is uncommon for abuse to color even things that may not be so simple to clearly label.)

    There is a very excellent post that was written this past Friday, Jan. 22:

  7. Lynn, too bad she didn't take MarshMarshaMarsha with her when she fled! I just breathe through my mouth with the whole bleach thing...I make accomodations so I can live...and not "bother" others or have them think it was "that bad".

    Ivory, I had heard of the book - and then last Friday I had read a post someone wrote about it -but wasn't in a position "mentally" to respond. Then I read another one..then Lynn wrote one....and by Sunday I felt like I couldn't just let it go. It's wrong for her to make those outlandish statements and assumptions. She has no idea what it was like!

    Laura :-)~ I hope you're doing okay and the "train" has slowed some for you.

    Zan ~ Yeah, maybe she is...but I still feel like punching her in the face! What really cracks me up is her statement that the MHP community are the ones who make us "believe" it is traumatic. When really, I the majority of the MHP community just want us to shut up and behave - therefore minimize the "trauma" or at least "contain" it. Clearly, Susan Clancy hasn't studied up on DBT or CBT - she should do that - I should mail her a flying nun DVD perhaps.

    Superla ~ yeah, I had that 'splodey head thing about 4 days last week. Please don't buy the book -I'm sure she gets commission - and what she really needs is a good floggin'. Or, perhaps a whack with a belt buckle...maybe a good rogering by her's really "not that bad".

    Lynn, yes, I think there is perhaps a tiny dif between "experimenting" with your boyfriend under the bleachers at school and having your legs, or mouth, forced open and someone you "trust" shoving his dick in... Ya think?

  8. Excellent post...thanks for sharing the truth!

  9. Excellent post and comments - all.
    My experience was not painful like yours, Grace. Neither was it enjoyable.
    It was terrifying.
    No, there was no physical pain or marks or bruises... except sometimes my mouth would bleed from having my lips pressed so hard against my teeth.
    The terror came from my father putting his hand over my face to keep me quiet while he did his thing. He didn't really need me there... he just wanted me to see. Somehow that is what the sick pleasure was.

    I've come to realize that all of what he did was a power thing. He did it to prove how powerful he was... because that's what grown men have to do with a two or three year old child, right?

    It's sick and it is wrong and it caused a serious problem with trust and an inability to enjoy sex... not to mention what you have already msaid - lack of intimacy and a disconnect between love and sex.

    For someone to completely disregard the feelings of a helpless child is so beyond my reasoning - I hope she doesn't have children.

    It makes me wonder if she is the one in the book she is talking about - the one who enjoyed it, and now she is trying to cover up her own shame and guilt by normalizing it.

  10. Read it for yourself.