The Rape Victim: A Project of the Committee on Women of the American Psychiatric Association ...

By Elaine Hilberman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
EIGHT
THE CHILD RAPE VICTIM

In preparing this monograph, it was anticipated that there might be a larger body of information about the child victim because social attitudes about the sexual molestation of children would dictate more empathy than is the case for adult victims. Although child abuse and incest have become relatively popular subjects for scrutiny, the literature about children who are raped is scarce. Further, the attitudes reflected therein are for the most part identical to those which prevail about all rape victims. In a recent brief guide to office counseling in a case of sexual molestation of a child, 1 the opening statement is "The child often plays some part in encouraging the sexual situation." The author goes on to state that "repeated sexual involvement with the same person says clearly that at some level the child wanted the relationship to continue" and finally and remarkably, he urges the clinician to "use a supportive, nonjudgmental approach" to dealing with the situation.

The few articles in the literature either focus on the medical aspects of treatment 2,3,4 or criminal justice implications. 5,6,7 There is superficial attention given to the emotional trauma of the event, other than instructing the clinician to have the pediatrician or family doctor see the victim in follow-up or to "refer the patient to a child psychologist or psychiatrist for the prevention or treatment of any resulting psychoneuroses."2 The one article on immediate management of a child victim written by child psychiatrists 8 reports a series of nine cases, the authors stressing the point that only one of these was a "true rape." These authors cite the case of a 12 year old girl who "was grabbed by two men on the street and dragged into an abandoned home. A witness confirmed this story. Her unconscious complicity is suggested by her stated wish in the emergency room to bear the baby if she were pregnant and to keep it." The same authors, however, do acknowledge that while a seduc

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