In Sigrun’s Norwegian blog …
… I found the link to an interesting research paper called
Stop Blaming the Victim: A Meta-Analysis on Rape Myths
I’m adding a relevant excerpt that Sigrun quoted:
Therapists’ length of experience working with rape victims was found to be positively associated with RMA [rape-myths acceptance]. One possible explanation for this finding is that the therapists may become desensitized to the suffering of rape because of repetitive exposure or as a consequence of compassion fatigue, and this may lead to an increased acceptance of rape myths. Other possible explanations include Fox and Carey’s (1999) collusive resistance concept. This concept describes the process by which therapists join rape survivors to avoid confronting painful issues, thus, failing the therapeutic responsiveness. Using the same rationale, attempts to avoid painful issues related to the assault may also lead to justify the rape in certain extent. The implications of these findings are important. It seems that it is necessary to not only promote awareness of the ways in which RMA may be impacting the survival of rape victims (Moor, 2007) but also to examine how RMA may be affecting the therapists’ perception of the victims.
In here is a camel I find it impossible to swallow:
My experience, and the experience of many others, is that therapists refuse to listen when victims of harm try to tell their stories.
And I see this in a context of psychotherapeutical harm-myths: The denial and mystification of harm done by adults to children. I will be writing more about this, for now I’m linking to I was a victim, and I’m proud, and here is a quote:
As I see it, a child who has been used by adults can be compared to a child that has been run over by a car. A traffic victim. There is no shame attached to that, and maybe admiration of the guts and bravery that keeps traffic victims alive and can get them back on their feet.
I have decided to retake the V word. I was run over by adults. I was a victim of adult use.
There are so many ways in which adults use children, and I’ll lump them all under one umbrella: adults use children as objects of addiction. Instead of drugs or alcohol, it’s about adults, often unconsciously, using the power they have over vulnerable, helpless kids in an attempt to make themselves feel better, stronger, more in control. And in doing so, they are invisibly ramming into children and running over them. And here my analogy fails. No one has been run over by the same car or cars day after day, year in and year out, all their formative years. The whole idea is preposterous.
Yet children are used by adults in this way. They are mentally and physically run into and over and crushed and smashed, day after day, year in and year out. And very often, nobody sees this, nobody hears this, nobody speaks out against this.
Think about it: When mental health workers are blind to this reality that so many children live in, is it not it natural that they perpetuate rape myths in therapy? And are blind to the reality of rape and how it harms us?
Adding a comment here: When I was translating the excerpt for my blog in Norwegian, I discovered the desensitizing effect of writing RMA instead of “rape-myth acceptance”. The concept became encased in an insulating bubble and began to live a life of its own: as an abstract “problem” instead of a cause of real harm. So in the translation I substituted RMA for “rape-myth acceptance”.