Hagen, Margaret A.; Whores of the Court: The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and The Rape Of American Justice; 352 pp., Feb 01 1997
In this provocative and well-researched book, Margaret Hagen, Ph.D, reveals how expert psychological testimony is a total fraud, showing how the courts have increasingly embraced not a cutting-edge science but, instead, a discipline that represents a terrifying retreat into fantasy and hearsay; a discipline propelled by powerful propaganda, arrogance, and greed. Dr. Hagen sounds a clarion wake-up call, offering some startling – and much-needed – recommendations about how we can reclaim our own ability to judge and supplying vital advice on how we can protect ourselves from the ravages of psychological testimony in our own lives. “A damning indictment of the psychologizing – and undermining – of the American legal system. With righteous wrath and devastating wit, this sweeping critique should stir national debate.” Publishers Weekly
This book is freely available for download.
Rapold, Monika *1966– *; Schweigende Lämmer und reißende Wölfe, moralische Helden und coole Zyniker : zum öffentlichen Diskurs über „sexuellen Kindesmißbrauch“ in Deutschland; Pädagogik und Sozialwissenschaften; 12, 492 pp. 21 cm.
Using a sociology-of-knowledge approach, this book critically examines the German discourse on the ‘sexual abuse of children’ in the 1990s when it was already an emotionally highly charged subject. The author first identifies four concepts and illustrates each of them with a representative monograph: the ‘pedophile’ (Bernard, 1982); the feminist (Kavemann/Lohstöter, 1984); the incest theoretical (Hirsch, 1987); and the critical (Rutschky, 1992). A fifth variant, the child molester discourse, with its connotations of violence, death, and conspiracies, is found later to dominate the popular press to the near-exclusion of all others. On the basis of these concepts she then analyses both professional (articles and monographs) and popular (newspapers and weeklies) media. It was the feminist point of view that was found to be dominant, even penetrating the pedophile discourse, except in the popular press as previously mentioned.

The second part puts these results in wider contexts. The newer German feminism is examined first. It is shown how sexual abuse became the rallying point of this movement, how it served its interests, and how it transformed it. Only by adopting the child-saving rhetoric could feminism occupy its current influential position, ironically replacing in the process its original emancipatory, anti-patriarchal stance with a stout reliance on the state, the quintessential patriarchal power.

The discourse on children and childhood comes next. The connections between the child-saving and feminist movements, both in Germany and the USA, are discussed as well as the idealization of children in much of contemporary culture. The books by Ariès, de Mause, and Postman are cited as evidence for conflicting views currently held about childhood. Often childhood is elevated to a utopian ideal and associated with myths and felt to be endangered by reality and myths likewise.

The author next turns to the discourse on sexuality. Rousseau here has stressed the innocence of children, simultaneously seen as naturally given and extremely endangered. With the repudiation of Freud's insight into the essential psychic predisposition of trauma, the sexual life of children was also negated, and the aetiology of trauma became the subject of an extreme reductionism. The political right has had a field day here with the resurrection of sexual repression and censorship. The author turns to Foucault for insight into the historical interplay between politics and sexuality. If the person of the confessor has changed, she notes, the practice of (public) confession has regained prominence.

Violence and crime are the leading ideas of the discourse which is examined next. The almost universally negative appreciation of intergenerational sexuality (which, as she notes, ignores the voices of many children themselves) is not founded in reality or argument but grounded in a constant appeal to demagoguery and emotion. The law creates the very myth it defends.

The last discussion returns to the sociological vantage point and traces the career of intergenerational sexuality as a social problem. Like the deficient child or dangerous (male) sexuality, it is a myth (Barthes) which serves symbolic politics.