Constructions Of Childhood Sexual Abuse

3621 Words 15 Pages
This essay will posit that in contemporary Western societies a cultural contradiction is apparent. On the one hand there is anxiety surrounding child sexual abuse (CSA) particularly around the concept of ‘the paedophile’. Yet, this concern is situated within a socio-economic and cultural context that simultaneously constructs children as sexually desirable. This essay will argue that these should not be seen as separate issues but rather as interconnected. That is, it is only through seeing these two issues in conjunction with one another that any resolutions will be able to be reached. This essay will analyse the constructions of childhood, sexuality and in turn, childhood sexuality. It will evaluate the impacts these constructions have on …show more content…
Thus, any perceived threat to childhood innocence magnifies societal and parental concern. There are, of course, legitimate concerns about children’s vulnerability to exploitation and abuse from adults and other children. Although, somewhat ironically it is in the name of protection that children’s vulnerability and exploitation is actually exacerbated. This occurs through three specific processes: denying children knowledge of sexuality impedes on their awareness and competence; the notion of childhood innocence is actually fetishised and commodified, and children are constructed as desirable; Othering of the ‘paedophile’ provides the foundations for moral panic, which renders invisible the true nature of CSA as occurring in familial settings (Robinson, …show more content…
The essay then outlines the socially constructed nature of sexually ‘deviant’ behaviour and within that ‘the paedophile’. However, it is medico-legal discourses that are the focus of the news media. This was identified as problematic because most of what people know about society comes from the media and as Giddens (1991) said, it is the media that influence public perceptions. The sensationalist reporting on CSA does not help to comprehend the problem, but further maintains the dichotomy of the 'ordinary ' and ‘deviant ' man as created within hegemonic masculinity (Hanmer,

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