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Free Content On Power Differentials and Children's Rights: A Dissonance Interpretation of the Rind and Associates (1998) Study on Child Sexual Abuse

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This article offers a children's rights perspective on the controversial Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman (1998) meta-analytic research on the long-term effects of child sexual abuse (CSA). Previous rebuttals of this research have not offered a dissonance interpretation. Dissonance theory is used to explain why some victims of CSA may underestimate the coercive elements in such situations, leading them to minimize the perceived harm flowing from the experience while ironically inducing enhanced coping. The Rind and colleagues notion that a "research definition" of CSA is not automatically embedded with social and legal presumptions is contested. Contrary to Rind and associates' notion of "some CSA experiences as consenting" (Rind et al., 2001, p.751), it is argued that all CSA is inherently abusive and exploitative due to the minor's inability to give informed consent, even where the victim perceives the contact to be consensual and reports no psychological harm. Thus, adult sexual contact with minors is an infringement of basic, universal human rights relating to security of the person in terms of bodily and psychological integrity.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Lakehead University Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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