Saturday, 13 March 2010

Why do women identify themselves as victims of childhood sexual abuse?

Sociologist Jo Woodiwiss argues that a pervasive self-help culture has led women to look to the past for the causes of their troubles, sometimes inferring childhood sexual abuse from no more than a checklist of symptoms:

"The fierce debate over "recovered memories" of childhood sexual abuse was rekindled last week when an open letter from the scientific advisory board of the British False Memory Society was sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury requesting that the Church of England withdraw support for The Courage to Heal, a self-help book aimed at victims of such abuse.

Professor Chris French's follow-up article on the science of memory is interesting, but it would be potentially more productive to explore why and how women (it is largely women) turn to self-help or therapy in an attempt to explain and/or improve their lives, and ultimately come to identify themselves as victims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA)..."