Sexual Victimology vs. Philosophy of Science

Galaburda, Cyril E.
Type of WorkEssay
Publication LanguageEng

Sexual victimology…

... is a blend of social science, criminology, and victimization-based feminism that advocates social and legal reform. As with other forms of victimology, sexual victimology holds as a basic tenet that victimization, which is defined in increasingly broad terms, typically produces lasting psychological damage; this view invited the medicalization of victimization, which prompted expansion of therapeutic services that embraced victimological assumptions as a basis for treatment. For victimological therapists adult-child sex

  • has become an essential component of their view of the cause of psychological maladjustment. (Rind, B., & Bauserman, R.).

However, nobody thinks of whether sexual victimology can be considered as an empirical science at all. Anti-victimological critics exists, but neither Bruce Rind, nor Judith Levine, nor Susanne Clancy, nor anyone else had ever evaluated sexual victimology with relation to philosophy of science.

Occam Razor Principle

Anyone who invents or proves a statement must follow a principle that was formulated by William Occam (1300 – 1349) as: Plurality must never be posited without necessity. The plurality here is, of course, comparative. Our principle may be worded as: We prefer that statement which explains more without another statements.

For instance, every twelve years planet Jupiter seems to be by the same star if we observe from the Earth. We can explain it with two statements,

  • eiter that: Planets with the Earth move around the Sun,
  • or that: Planets with the Sun move around the Earth.

On the other hand, for 70% of that period Jupiter moves eastwards, and the rest of time it moves westwards. Why? This can be explained heliocentrically, but the geocentric statement cannot explain it alone. In the latter case we must add another statement that Jupiter moves not only round the Earth but also round the center of its epicycle. According to the Occam Razor Principle one ought to prefer the heliocentric statement instead of the geocentric & epicycle statements. The more statement explains alone the more plausible it is.

Let's go back to the sexual victimology. It supposes that child sexuality does not exist. There is at least one physician and anti-sex-abuse activist that tries to prove that children aren't sexual beings. I used to read an article where all the cases of child-child sex were said to be motivated by curiosity. Another sex victimologists say that children participate in sex only when they are threatened, or poor, or lonely.

Now we've got two statements:

  • Children are sexual beings, and:
  • Children are not sexual beings.

Sexual victimologists would prefer the latter but even they believe in child masturbation. That's why they must add third statement:

  • Child masturbation has no sexual meaning.

This idea is mentioned in the Swedish Larsson et al. article. So we must choose between the statement of child sexuality and the statements of child asexuality & masturbative asexuality.

A part of sex victimologists admit a child to be motivated sexually, but in this case the child is mentally ill. Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Lindy Burton, George Vasígltschenko and others prefer the statements:

  • Children aren't sexual beings & Child sexuality is pathology, to the statement:
  • Children are sexual beings.

Of course, Occam Razor must shave off the first two statements, not the latter one.

And so victimologists like David Finkelhor and psychoanalysts like Anne Freud believe that child sexuality is normal. But still they posit plurality. They say: there is no sexuality per se, there is adult sexuality and child sexuality, totally different. We must choose between the statement:

  • Children are sexual beings, and the statements:
  • Child sexuality exists & Child sexuality is not sexual at all.

Why don't they say:

  • there is no child sexuality or adult sexuality, there are: 
    • baby sexuality,
    • preschool age sexuality,
    • primary school age sexuality,
    • teenage sexuality,
    •  mature age sexuality,
    • old age sexuality?

Whether it would be better to speak about one-year-olds' sexuality, two-year-olds' sexuality, 2½-year-olds' sexuality and so on? Of course, no. Sexuality is the same for all ages. Plurality must never be posited without necessity.

But even if a child can want an adult (s)he is said not to be able to give consent. Well, what is the difference between consenting and wanting? What is the difference between consenting to ice-cream / carousel / masturbation / child-child sex and consenting to adult-child sex? Inventing a difference is positing a plurality without necessity.

The main idea of sexual victimologists is that sex with children is abuse. OK, but who is an abuser in the case of child-child sex? If we choose between the statements:

  • Sex with children is abuse & Child-child sex is not abuse, and the statement:
  • Sex with children isn't abuse,

we shouldn't forget about Occam Razor Principle. Inventing a difference between child-child sex and adult-child sex is positing a plurality without necessity.

Popper's Falsifiability Principle

According to Sir Karl Popper (1902 – 1994),

  • the aim of science  —  the growth of knowledge  —  can be identified with the growth of the content of our theories,
    what I call the empirical content of a statement increases with its degree of falsifiability: the more a statement forbids, the more it says about the world of experience.

That's why if a theory does not forbid any (at least imaginary) empirical phenomena it is not aimed for science.

For instance, the theory of scientific creationism is not falsifiable. The statement: Nature is designed wisely, does not forbid empirical phenomena like existence of eyes in moles or pelvic bones in whales. A creationist may say: leaving the animal with eyes blind or giving pelvis to the apodal animal is not unwise from the Creator's side. These parts are not useless, but created for some unknown purpose wisely. No experience can contradict scientific creationism. This theory has no empirical content and cannot be scientific.

Is sexual victimology scientific?

The main statement here is that: Adult-child sex causes psychological maladjustment. Of course, the world of experience gives many examples of it (especially if we use repressed memories). But on the other hand, we know that

  • Kirk Douglas,
  • George Hamilton,
  • Federico Fellini,
  • Virginia Clamm-Poe,
  • Nino Chavchavadze,
  • Priscilla Presley,
  • Kate Winslet
  • and many others

had been had sex with adults in childhood but still they don't seem to be psychologically maladjusted. Do these examples falsify the main statement of sexual victimology?

No way! According to P. P. Tice et al., survivors of adult-child sex may be psychologically adjusted if they are resilient to traumas or if they have been profited by parental countenance. According to S. Jumper, developing a psychological maladjustment takes time so a survivor may appear adjusted. We may quote or invent another lame excuses for the lack of empirical content in sexual victimology but this won't make it scientific.

One of the sources of its non-falsifiability is inconsistency and uncertainty of the very definition psychological maladjustment.

I'd been reading about a Russian dissident that had been declared maladjusted by Soviet psychiatrists, but then he escaped to US and was found adjusted by American ones. A masturbator would be considered maladjusted in Victorian times and adjusted nowadays. In a weird article by some Ms. Liávschina from the St. Petersburg Medical Academy for Post-Graduates (2000) it is said that only 9,9% of doctors of all specialities know what forms of child sexual behavior show psychological adjustment.

So whichever adult-child sex survivors are, a sexual victimologist can always say they are psychologically maladjusted. While psychoanalyst B. Still asserts that survivors cannot have sex life after experience of adult-child sex, D. Finkelhor claims they prostitute. While Doctor of Psychology Ms. T. Akhútina from Moscow allege that manipulations with the tabooed zones make children obedient, feminist group G-Equality claims that sexually stimulated children become non-conformists and criminals.

According to P. P. Tice et al., adult-child sex survivors demonstrate either revictimization, or the desire to protect oneself from further abuse with a stronger personality. On one hand, I. Málkina-Pykh says that children after adult-child sex become unsociable, on the other hand they are said to have active child-child sex life out of it.

The Western sexual victimologist believes that adult-child survivors become pedophiles, Russian sexologist M. Béiglkin thinks they become gerontophiles (out of imprinting), Russian psychologist A. Lýchko thinks they become homosexuals (out of imprinting again), but B. Rind gives an example of a heterosexual man-boy sex survival. And so on.

Such contradictory symptoms of adult-child sex victimization say nothing about the world of experience. Because any trait of adult-child sex survivor's character, any pattern of his / her behavior can be interpreted by the preconceived sexual victimologist as a psychological maladjustment.

The statement: Adult-child sex causes psychological maladjustment, is not falsifiable, so sexual victimology is a pseudoscience.