The Victimalization of the Sexually Abused Child

  • Hans Boutellier


Secularized, fragmented morality is geared towards the victim. The more graphic the representation of the victim and the more sympathy people can feel, the more chance there is of the victim being recognized and acknowledged as such. In this chapter, I make an effort to illustrate this postulate developed in the previous chapter on the basis of one of the most striking victim resurrections of recent times, the resurrection of the sexually abused child. It is not the nature of the suffering that makes it so striking, but the enormous power this particular victim was able to muster in the limelight of the eighties.


Sexual Abuse Child Abuse Sexual Harassment Sexual Experience Sexual Contact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 5.
    Plus of course the legislation on incest and sex with children that has been passed in the course of time.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    The study by Pleck (1989) is also relevant in this connection; it referred to three periods in American history that witnessed a heightened interest in family violence including incest: 1640–1680, 1874–1890 and 1960–1980.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    According to Finkelhor (1982), in the past it was mainly “moralists” who focused on the problem. They were the same people who opposed sexual education at school and a humane treatment of sexual offenders.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    In Dutch law, incest between adults is not prohibited, but children born of these relations legally have no paternal relatives and bear their mother’s name.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    In his final report (1980, p. 50), Melai made the following comment: “I would think that in the event of even the slightest lack of clarity about the harm of sexual relations between adults and juveniles, the benefit of the doubt should go to the protection of the juveniles.”Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    In this connection, I would like to refer to Kelly (1988), who was opposed to the “revival” of the concept of incest in the. Cleveland Affair and was in favour of a subjective definition of sexual abuse.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Perhaps one indication of the precarious nature of the new relations is that well-educated women more frequently see themselves as victims of sexual harassment than less educated ones (Van Buuren, Wöstmann et al., 1985)Google Scholar
  8. 16.
    The reverse of “sentimentalization” was the “legalization” of the position of the child, which coincided with a growing interest in the rights of the child (see e.g. Franklin, 1986).Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    To show how rapidly this emancipation process unfolded, I would like to remind the reader that in the Netherlands it was not. until 1956 that women officially came to have full legal capacity, that up until 1970 the husband was viewed as the legal head of theGoogle Scholar
  10. 19.
    For a feminist critique of the collaborating mother, see Wattenberg (1985).Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    In this connection, various authors have proposed assigning each client a separate therapist in incest cases (see e.g. Jonker, 1987).Google Scholar
  12. 21.
    In this context, the discussion was opened about the reliability of children’s statements, for example when “anatomical dolls” were used. A comparable debate has started on “hidden memories”, which are discovered later in life at therapeutic sessions.Google Scholar
  13. 22.
    Compare as regards this point “the power of what comes naturally” in the relations between the sexes (Komter, 1985).Google Scholar
  14. 23.
    A man’s seed should not go to waste“ see also ”Abuse and Religion. When Praying Isn’t Enough“ (Horton and Williamson, 1988).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Boutellier
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Ministry of JusticeThe HagueNetherlands
  2. 2.Vrije UniversiteitAmsterdamNetherlands

Personalised recommendations