Two studies suggesting children who have sex with adults suffer little to no emotional damage are being met with shocking silence. Compare that to twenty years ago, when nearly the same research received resounding condemnation from both the legislative and scientific communities.
Psychologist Bruce Rind released two published studies within the last year. One examined the long-term impact of underage boys having sex with much older, adult men. The second on underage girls having sex with much older, adult women. Overall, Rind concludes that such experiences are neither necessarily abusive nor traumatic, and tend not to cause lifelong emotional pain and dysfunction.
Instead, Rind indicates sexual encounters between minors as young as age thirteen and much older adults of the same sex can be a positive, enjoyable experience for the young person, who can grow up to be, "just as healthy, happy, sexually well adjusted, and successful in educational and career achievement."
In 1998, Rind published similar studies and conclusions, which received strong backlash. Now, nearly twenty years later, the same basic information is being met with deafening silence.
Back then, the American Psychological Association condemned Rind's claims. Furthermore, a 1999 Resolution passed by both houses of Congress rejects Rind's published conclusions "that indicate that sexual relationships between adults and ``willing'' children are less harmful than believed and might be positive for ``willing'' children," adding Congress opposes "attempts to normalize adult-child sex or to lower the age of consent." The resolution stated, "Children are a precious gift and responsibility given to parents by God," and, "Elected officials have a duty to inform and counter actions they consider damaging to children, parents, families, and society."
Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage and Monogamy told CBN News today's lawmakers' indifference to child-adult sex is disturbing.
"Many are afraid of sounding "negative" about sex today, and being pilloried on social media for it," he explained, "The law still treats such acts as statutory rape, but the share of cases that are actually being brought to justice is very small."
Regnerus continued, "We focus on the educator-student interactions, and pretty much little of nothing else. Teachers who transgress here seem to be the only cases of interest anymore. I'm not making claims about what just punishments ought to be. I'm sounding an alarm that there is published, peer-reviewed (so-called) "evidence" now that minor-adult sex is not very problematic. And I very much think that is not the case."
Regnerus said Rind's research can be discredited for a number of reasons. The data is old, dating as far back as the 1930's. It's a small sample, looking at a total of a mere 47 cases of child-adult sexual relationships, approximately.
Regmerus says it's highly erroneous for Rind to conclude that just because the child victims report their sexual encounter with a much older adult was "wanted" and he or she "liked it," doesn't mean the interaction wasn't psychologically harmful.
Likewise, adults, who as children, had sexual encounters with much older adults who self-report they are happy and healthy, might not accurately assess their own emotional well-being and might not recognize the impact those acts had on their psyche.
"The failure to recognize that consent and pleasure do not prevent harm and pain downstream, and unequal power is utterly unavoidable here," Regmerus said, "Adults have a moral responsibility to consider minors as sexually off-limits, and act in consonance with that. Rind seems to think we should answer moral questions scientifically. I think that is unwise."