The Trauma Myth

Susan A. Clancy is a psychology researcher at Harvard University in the field of memory.

In January 2010, Perseus Books published her book The Trauma Myth,[1] in which she suggests that child sexual abuse is rarely a traumatic experience for the victims at the time it occurs, and is instead described by victims as confusing.[2] She argues that later in life, after the memories are processed, examined, and more fully understood, the experience becomes traumatic. Clancy writes in “The Trauma Myth” that when she arrived at Harvard in 1996, the trauma theory held that “a child will only participate in abuse if forced, threatened, or explicitly coerced” (p. 41). Then she interviewed victims and learned, “They did not fight it. It was not done against their will. They went along . . . only 5% tried to stop it” (p. 41). Clancy concludes that since sexual abuse of children is not violent per se, the millions of victims who did not experience their sex abuse as traumatic grapple with crippling thoughts of shame, embarrassment, and self-blame, thus compounding their suffering. She advocates for a refined understanding of the immediate effects of child sex abuse in order to better help those who are currently excluded from a clinical and popular culture that embraces the trauma model.

No comments: