Obfuscation-to cloud over; obscure; make dark; or unclear; to muddle; confuse; bewilder. [Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1982, P 980]
Studies, surveys and research are the epitome of obfuscation. It is ironic then that little is done on a local or national level unless a study, survey or research project has been done. Before a traffic light can be installed in certain intersections there needs to be a study done to document the number of car crashes, and number of lives lost. However, if the number of car crashes or lives lost doesn’t meet a ‘predetermined’ number-Sorry, No can do!
Hm-m-m, one life or one person’s car isn’t important enough to consider that based on the nature of the car crash there is a problem that needs to be remedied by installing a traffic light? The nature of the car crash is not sufficient to spend the money to save other lives or cars according to officials in any town or municipality. If the number of car crashes meet the predetermined number, Voila! a light is put in. How the number of car crashes necessary to warrant a traffic light is determined is a well guarded secret.
Why, am I talking about this mundane topic? The topic is a simple example of what we, as managers of our society, have decided is acceptable criteria for addressing or solving any societal issue. For any societal issue to be addressed, a study needs to be done, statistics submitted and criteria for addressing the issue developed. Herein lies the dilemma, who decides what the criteria needs to be on any given issue? And who decides the best method to gather data which is unbiased and/or accurate? You guessed it researchers, submitting data to politicians, government officials (elected or appointed), and people who have a vested interest in the issue. Insidiously, the vested interest might not be to benefit the afflicted.
The intended topic of this article is-violence, rape, spousal abuse, physical or sexual child abuse. Violence, rape, spousal abuse, physical or sexual child abuse is society’s worst scourge. Why? Because we have created and sanctioned the same obfuscation system which rules traffic light installation. Contrary to a car crash at an intersection, these scourges impacts everybody’s life for many years, rather than only the few who have a car crash at a particular intersection. It is tragic we use the same methods to determine whether we need to address these societal issues.
-62% of females are sexually abused by age 18. Finkelhor, David and J. Dziuba-Leatherman. “Victimization of Children.” American Psychologist Vol. 49:3 (1992): 173-183.
-31% of males are sexually abused by age 18. Ibid.
-More than 60 million adult survivors of incest and sexual child abuse live in America. *Note these are only reported cases. It is believed as great as 50% of sexual child abuse is unreported. Forward, 1993
-99% of sexual abuse survivors know their perpetrators
-80% are abused by family members, 19% are abuse by other trusted adults. CCPA, 1992
-Of 50 male sexual abuse survivors, many were as young as 8 years old. FBI Uniform Crime Report, 1991.
-96% of female rape survivors were younger than 12 years old and knew their attackers. U.S. Department of Justice, 1992.
-A study of 10,000 female children under age 18 raped in 1992, reports that 3,800 girls were under 12 years old. U.S. Justice Department, study conducted in 11 states and the District of Columbia, June 1994.
-Of teenage, unwed mothers, 60-67% were incest survivors. Los Angeles Times survey, 1993
-96% of teenage prostitutes were sexually molested in childhood. CCPA, 1992. *Almost 80% had become prostitutes before age 18. Ibid. *60% of prostitutes were 16 or under; many were younger than 13. Ibid.
-Over 80% of the mothers of incest survivors were also sexually abused.
-57% of sexual child abuse and incest perpetrators are survivors of sexual child abuse. Goldstein-Harte Study 1973: Carter, et al.
-A perpetrator abuses an average of 117 children. National Institute of Mental Health, 1988.
-extensive evidence substantiates the fact that sexual child abuse has taken place for centuries. D. Corwin (1990) cites that in London many believed that sexual “congress” with a child would cure venereal disease. Of capital rape prosecutions between 1730 and 1790, 35 percent of the cases involved victims younger than 10 years old.
-1896 in The Aetiology of Hysteria, Freud discusses his “Seduction Theory” acknowledging the sexual abuse and incest of children.
In the U.S. in 2000 over 3 million child abuse and neglect reports were filed and one million were confirmed. There are 3,000 children abused each day and four of them will die. Forty percent of these children were under the age of six. The age group with the highest abuse rate is 0-3 years. Nationally the highest form of abuse is neglect followed by physical abuse. In March of 2001 when President Bush declared April National Child Abuse Prevention Month he stated the cost of child abuse and neglect in the U.S. was $258 million dollars a day. This includes the price of intervention, the treatment of children who have been emotionally, physically or sexually abused as well as the indirect costs of the long term consequences both for the child and our society. Prevent Child Abuse America.
In 2000, there were 261,000 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. [2000 National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics.] Of these 261,000, 114,000 were victims of sexual assault, 55,000 were victims of attempted rape, and 92,000 were victims of completed rape. [2000 NCVS.]
Because of the methodology of the National Crime Victimization Survey, these figures do not include victims 12 or younger. While there are no reliable annual surveys of sexual assaults on children, the Justice Department has estimated that one of six victims are under age 12. [Child Rape Victims, 1992]
“Have you heard about crime declining? It’s true (as best we can tell). While figures for any single year are considered somewhat unreliable because they are based on a small sample size, the more-reliable long term trend looks good. Since1993, rape/sexual assault has fallen 52%.” Here are more figures for recent years.[2000 NCVS.]
Dr. Frank Putnam of the National Institute of Mental Health and Dr. Martin Teicher of Harvard Medical School studied 170 girls, 6-15 years old–half had experienced corporal punishment, half had not–for seven years. The girls who experienced corporal punishment had symptoms such as:
-abnormally high stress hormones, which can kill neurons in brain areas crucial for thinking and memory
-high levels of an antibody that weaken the immune system
Teicher completed a series of brain studies on 402 children and adults, many of whom had corporal punishment. His findings revealed that corporal punishment creates:
-arrested growth of the left hemisphere of the brain which can hamper development of language and logic -growth of the right hemisphere of the brain (the site for emotions) at an abnormally early age.
The AMA ignores these studies. Why does the AMA ignore these studies? The answer lies within the obfuscation theory and other noted researchers work, such as: Judith Herman, M.D.
Judith Herman, M.D. author, Father-Daughter Incest undeniably confirms obfuscation abounds with regard to protecting woman and children from society’s worst scourge: “As in the case of other crimes against women and children, for too long the power of the justice system has protected the men who victimized them… As long as the justice system remains a male preserve, it can hardly be expected to reform itself… The initiative for those reforms that have already been carried out has come almost entirely from women: from the rape counselor, the child advocate, and the small minority of women who work within the system-we look forward to a time when women, who are so frequently the victims and rarely [research reveals women are more frequently the offender than previously reported] the offenders, adjudicate the majority of domestic and sexual crimes.”
Statistics and studies notwithstanding, physical and sexual abuse and incest against female victims is so common it can be considered an epidemic.
Claire R. Reeves, President/Founder of MASA (Mothers Against Sexual Abuse) says, it best in her foreword to-If I’d Only Known… Sexual Abuse in or out of the Family: A Guide to Prevention, Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, in her statement:
“If a disease affected our children in these enormous numbers we would declare a national emergency. Monies for research to find a cure would be made available immediately. Sadly, this is not a platform that you will find popular with politicians or a topic of conversation at a social gathering. Americans have always taken the stance that what happens in the family is a ‘family matter.’ Family values are the platform of many elected officials without looking at the real issue, ‘What constitutes a family?'”
In summary, we can not afford to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Voltaire said, “We are not only responsible for what we do, but also, for that what we don’t do.” Sartre stated, “Those who ignore the past are condemned to repeat it.”
We have been ignoring information regarding the aftereffects from violence since the beginning of time. To continue to ignore these aftereffects is being part of the problem and the purveyor of obfuscation. It is never too late to change what isn’t working.