On The Sexual Abuse Of Young Girls

Recently, a blogger friend bared her soul and wrote of sexual abuses she endured at various stages of her life, most occurring before she reached the age of consent.

Comments to the article came thick and fast – all, bar two, from women.

General consensus was that a majority of young girls endure some degree of sexual abuse prior to adulthood. Discussion centered around support and assistance; much was rightly made of the unsympathetic, or even disbelieving, attitude of parents and church. Nothing was forthcoming on the men responsible, or why they succumbed to such anti-social behavior.

Society has coined many terms to describe human males who attempt to indulge in sexual activity with unwilling females: perverts, pedophiles, sex-offenders, monsters, etc., but little is known, or at least discussed openly, of the mindset triggering the action.

Is it a disease, a mental disorder, or even, as some would have us believe, possession by the Devil?

To suggest sexual interference with young girls (or, in some cases, boys) is normal, would cause the coffee cups to rattle in every good Christian household in America, but it is a fact. Or, perhaps, a more precise term than ‘normal’, would be ‘natural’.

How many times have we heard the phrase, “Men are animals,” usually when discussion among women turns to more risque matters. It’s the plain truth. Women are also animals, but behave in a manner more conducive to the female of a species, responding to the advances of a male only when she is ready to mate.

“Can I eat it? Can it eat me? Can I mate with it?” The three basic responses instinctive in every male creature on the planet.

In the human male, the first two have become modified: “Can I win if I fight it, or will it beat me?” (Fight or flight). The third response, though deliberately and often violently suppressed over many generations, has altered hardly at all. It’s still as active as ever. Even a male’s ability to differentiate between the sexes can often lose out to this response. How many men have had the experience of being ‘turned-on’ by a comely, long-haired, figure with a cute butt walking away from them, only to wince with embarrassment when a lanky, hippie-style, male turns around?

Society insists that our female offspring should not be considered sexually attractive to the opposite sex until they reach the age of consent. We are disgusted when underage girls are seduced by older men. Yet, we do our utmost to make them look like alluring young women by dressing them in fancy clothes, even make-up, often from soon after babyhood.

Most men, when asked if they find little girls sexually attractive, would respond with a quite emphatic, “No!”

Believe it or not, they’re lying.

If they told the truth, they’d say, “Yes, but I prevent that thought from developing. I put it out of my head and allow a warm glow of affection for the child to replace it.”

Every man is subject to the instinctive sexual response mentioned above, and that includes welfare workers, policemen, and clergymen – even Roman Catholic priests, as we know very well. Men, generally, find young female children sexually interesting, even though they will refuse to admit it, sometimes even to themselves.

The problem stems not so much from the sexual instincts of the male, as from continuous attempts by society to suppress it. Throughout history, society and the churches have successfully turned the natural sexual feelings of both sexes into something evil, “dirty”, to be avoided at all costs. This has resulted in confusion as to how we’re supposed to feel. Thoughts, which of themselves seem pleasing and innocent, are condemned as immoral, ungodly, and sinful.

Nowhere has this suppression been more fervent than with male masturbation.

Recently, Sparrow Chat published an article on male circumcision.[1] In the 17th – 18th centuries, this painful, disfiguring, operation was performed on young children solely for the purpose of preventing masturbation. Yet masturbation is a wonderful safety valve for male sexual frustrations. Nature’s desire to reproduce is probably the strongest instinct experienced by the human male. Spermatic ejaculation shuts down the desire most effectively, if only temporarily. Regular spermatic ejaculation, by masturbation, helps maintain that instinct at a controllable level, one less likely to erupt into violent, forceful, behavior like sexual assault or rape.

It’s probably hard for some women to accept, particularly those who’ve fallen victim, but in most instances the average ‘flasher’, ‘groper’, or bottom pincher is just an ordinary man whose desires momentarily get the better of him. Society loves to paint these people as slinking in the darkness like hyenas seeking out easy prey. Mostly, that isn’t true.

Serial rapists and vicious child molesters, of course, are in a whole different category. When sexual desire is so out of control that the victim is violently attacked, sometimes murdered, the only solution is one of long incarceration.

There can be few situations more frightening for a female than to be in the presence of a male, or males, intent on sexual molestation. Unfortunately, in the throes of strong sexual desire, the male will find it extremely difficult to comprehend his advances are not welcomed:

“She wants it. You can tell she wants it!” This, despite blatantly obvious reactions to the contrary from the female.

Nowhere was this more clearly demonstrated than in the recent case of Josef Fritzel, the Austrian man who kept his daughter captive for years, raped her regularly, but suffered no sense of remorse until it was forcibly brought home to him, by her sudden appearance in the courthouse, just how vilely he had treated her.

We prefer to forget our instincts. We like to believe we’re above such base emotions. Some churches still teach that we don’t have any, that we’re not part of the animal life on this planet, but a separate, divine, creation. Of course, the churches are wrong. Our instincts are as strong as they’ve ever been and the worst thing we can do is attempt to suppress them. By accepting them as part of our lives we can better understand them, and by so doing more easily control and harness them.

There can never be any excuse for forcing one’s sexual attentions on another. Men are capable of controlling their instinctive behavior, even harnessing it for positive purposes. Response to the sexuality of a small female child can be diverted into feelings of warm, protective, affection. It’s what most men do automatically, though it can become less readily redirected as the child approaches puberty and womanhood.

A momentary loss of control, coupled with confused feelings created by the society we live in, are usually all it takes to produce a situation capable of causing a lifetime of hurt to the victim, and often years of guilt for the perpetrator.

Instinct is all most animals need. Humans found their sexual instincts overlaid by another system, one much more confusing at best, and made more so by our inability as a species to come to terms with it.

A perfect example of this can be found today in the United States, where an art channel on cable television still digitally fuzzes out female nipples when screening certain Botticelli paintings.

[1] “A Snip At Two Hundred And Fifty Dollars?” Sparrow Chat, March 28th 2009

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14 Replies to “On The Sexual Abuse Of Young Girls”

  1. Interesting topic, RJ. I chatted about it with the husband. I was doubtful about your statement:

    Most men, when asked if they find little girls sexually attractive, would respond with a quite emphatic, “No!”

    Believe it or not, they’re lying.

    The husband has 2 daughters and 2 sons. He says he’s considered similar questions before, and questioned himself on the matter, but can honestly say that he has never felt anything sexual with regard to his own or any other young child.

    There are obviously men who do have these feelings, but to generalise is unwise – in any thing. Nature doesn’t generalise.

    Sexual appetites and foibles are many and varied. Some are comical to others; some seem disgusting. I think that the one you discuss is THE most unfortunate because it harms another person – for life.

    While sexual instinct is part of the human animal blueprint, evolution and societal needs have, over many centuries shaped and refined this inborn need – or should have. In some cases refinement didn’t “take”, in some cases it misfired.

    Thankfully a good proportion of men have learned how to engage both brain and heart before putting their sexual stuff into gear.

  2. I’ve taken a while to respond to this, RJA, as I was completely repelled by your post:

    “Society insists that our female offspring should not be considered sexually attractive to the opposite sex until they reach the age of consent. We are disgusted when underage girls are seduced by older men. Yet, we do our utmost to make them look like alluring young women by dressing them in fancy clothes, even make-up, often from soon after babyhood.
    Most men, when asked if they find little girls sexually attractive, would respond with a quite emphatic, “No!”
    Believe it or not, they’re lying.”

    Your blaming the victim stance I find abhorrent. The men I know are not such animals that they are attracted to a female child, no matter how she is dressed (which is irrelevant, BTW). She cannot give her consent being a child and to even entertain the thought of raping her makes them feel physically ill.

    I really don’t know where you are getting your research.

    “Desires momentarily getting the better of him”

    rings particularly abusive to me, who was victimized and traumatized and actually triggered by your writing.

    I’ve had a long journey towards trusting men, I am blessed with the ones in my life who value women and girls and aspire to relationships of trust and equality.


  3. Twilight – first of all I’m afraid I was taken somewhat too literally. I used the word, “lying” deliberately, to make people sit up and take notice. I wasn’t, however, suggesting that men consciously and deliberately lied, but that the ‘warm glow of affection’, which is socially acceptable and considered perfectly normal, stems at a subconscious level from the sexual instincts i.e. it begins as a sexual ‘thought’ but becomes converted as it passes into the conscious mind.

    I, too, have a daughter. I raised her as a single parent from the age of three. I believe there is either a different mechanism at work in the male psyche with respect to offspring, or it is the same mechanism, but even stronger. Genetically, there are disadvantages to mating with a close blood relative and some animal species, beside the human, have evolved mechanisms to prevent inbreeding. It’s not at all clear-cut, though, as certain primates have developed mechanisms preventing mother-son incest, while accepting father-daughter.

    From my own personal viewpoint, any stray thought pattern of a sexual nature directed towards my daughter would result in an immediate repulsion response from my conscious mind. In other words, the ‘thought’ was violently annihilated as it crossed the frontier from subconscious to conscious.

    To prevent any misunderstanding, I will further clarify that the type of thought patterns I am describing are entirely of the stray, random, and un-summoned variety. No normal father would, I believe, consciously ponder committing incest, except perhaps at the most intellectual of levels.

    Frizel was an obvious exception to the rules. I can only assume his base sexual instincts were so strong they overrode both the evolutionary biological mechanisms, and those imposed by society.

    I have to disagree with your comment, “Nature doesn’t generalise.” I believe nature is all about generalization. A field of sunflowers may contain a thousand plants, each one slightly different from the other, but they are all there for the exact same purpose – to attract the bees that will spread their pollen. Nature is only ever concerned with the big picture.

    Your final paragraph I agree with absolutely:

    “Thankfully a good proportion of men have learned how to engage both brain and heart before putting their sexual stuff into gear.”

    “Learned” is, I believe, the most relevant word in the sentence. (Though, possibly “Thankfully” comes close).

    WWW – I regret that you found my article repellent. On reading your comment I immediately removed the link to the post on your blog that inspired it.

    As to where I get my research, if I said that it came out of my own head, my own thoughts, my sixty-two years of life’s experience of being male, I risk the attachment of one of those labels I described, ‘pervert’, ‘sex-offender’, ‘monster’, etc.. Nevertheless, it is from learning to know myself, and much discussion over the years with other males just as normal and balanced as myself, that I reached the conclusions I have laid out.

    I am none of those ‘labels’. I have never cuddled up to improper thoughts concerning small children. I raised a daughter single-handed. I have charge of forty little kids every day and not one of them need ever fear an improper thought from me, let alone any improper act.

    I state this only to emphasise that it is possible to open one’s mind to others, freed of the barriers imposed by a narrow-minded society still, in this 21st century, in bondage to the Holy Roman church, with a view to dialogue on subjects too long swept under carpets and hushed behind the curtains of so-called ‘propriety’.

    Freud may have been discredited on certain of his theories, but his basic principle, that of the sex drive as the most important motivating force, still holds good today. Sadly, the ability to discuss it openly and frankly, appears as distant today as it was at the latter end of the nineteenth century.

    My remarks concerning the dressing up of infants to look like young women are, I believe, completely relevant. The dreadful case of the American child, JonBenet Ramsey, is surely just one of many examples of that.

    Nowhere in my writing did I suggest men in general harbour agreeable thoughts about raping young children. Quite the opposite:

    ” Serial rapists and vicious child molesters, of course, are in a whole different category. When sexual desire is so out of control that the victim is violently attacked, sometimes murdered, the only solution is one of long incarceration.”

    Your observation re blaming the victim, I find utterly perplexing. Blame was not a factor in my writing. I wasn’t at all interested in apportioning blame, merely in the mechanisms that cause these unfortunate and distressing incidents.

    Not until we can discuss fully and openly – expose our deepest thoughts and emotions without fear of recrimination from a suppressed society – will we ever have the opportunity to, if not prevent them all from occurring, at least dent the huge number of sex abuse cases, most of which never get aired or make it to the law courts.

    That was my sole intention in writing this post. Reading your article, I mistakenly assumed it was yours also.

    For that mistake, I apologise.

  4. Let’s not forget that many of the perpetrators of sexual abuse were once the innocent victims of it themselves. Not that that should absolve anyone, but abuse is often cyclical.

  5. Alison – you’re quite right, of course. In certain cases it replays through families like a stuck gramophone record. It’s such a vast and complex subject with so many different levels, and requires very open and honest discussion even to begin to unravel it all. Freud made a good start, though certain of his theories, the Oedipus complex, for example, have been found wanting in latter years. I do believe he was on the right track, though. His idea of the subconscious with its instincts, or ‘wishes’ as he named them, breaking through into the conscious mind seems a plausible mechanism for sexual, and other forms of abuse.
    Unfortunately, until society allows it to become a less closeted subject, it will remain a dark and sinister mystery.

  6. I have to read this again. I am unable to say anything at the moment. The only thing that springs to mind right now is we cannot excuse ourselves for certain thoughts and behaviours using “gender attributes”. I will be back

  7. Gaye – this post is not about excuses. It is totally about comprehending the issues, the causes – with just a remote possibility that by so doing we may move towards a better understanding of why these incidents occur, and thus how best to, if not eliminate them altogether, at least begin to reduce the incidence.

  8. If what you are saying (the generalisation) is true though, I have every reason to be scared of having a daughter. Thank you for that!
    I would have hoped that not every man would be sick to look at an innocent child and have sexual thoughts and be aroused by it… There is nothing scarier than this thought and the knowledge that the good guys are the ones who simply don’t act on it…. *shudder*

  9. Gaye – let me stress that for the vast majority of men the conflicts I was describing occur below the level of normal conscious thought. But, I believe they are only just below the surface and most men are aware of them, to a degree. Usually, male sexual attraction towards young female children manifests as an appreciation of their ‘cuteness’, and this applies to a lesser extent with male children. This is ‘normal’. Minor sexual transgressions, such as inappropriate touching, occur when those subconscious conflicts leak out into the conscious part of the mind. It may occasionally happen with perfectly normal men, who recognize it for what it is and immediately suppress it. A percentage of males are unable to do that, and the result is a pedophile, or pervert.
    Of course, these are only my own observations, but Freud came to similar conclusions a century ago.
    Incidentally, having a daughter or a son is very scary these days and not helped by a media obsessed with sexual violence.
    My own daughter, in Britain, was seriously assaulted and raped by two youths, only a couple of years ago. She was twenty-six at the time, but of course she’ll always be a little girl in my eyes. Stuck in America and not able to be with her to comfort her was pure agony. Thankfully, time heals and she is getting on with life well, but it was a traumatic period in her life, and to a lesser extent, in mine.

  10. This is a great post. I attempt, it seems some times daily, to come to a deeper understanding of my sexual instincts and desires. Through meditation and contemplation on this issue, I have come to many of the same conclusions that you have arrived at here. I appreciate you talking about this issue in clear terms and with approachable solutions for understanding and managing these desires. Thanks again.

  11. I was abused by men as a young child and I have had to come to terms with it. My particular problem is that although those men should never have done what they done, I liked the tickly feeling that I got when they touched me. I wrestle with the disgust at what they did to me and the sensation I feel between my legs when I think about it – help me?

  12. Irene – Thank you for writing. You cannot hold yourself responsible for your bodily sensations. Every part of our physical bodies is covered in nerve endings that transmit sensations to the brain. These result in an awareness of pain, or pleasure. We cannot choose which it will be. I’m sure you’re not alone in feeling this way. It’s part of the guilt we hear so much about from women who’ve been in your position. What the men did to you was unforgivable, but the physical sensations you felt, and still feel, are perfectly normal.

  13. Thanks for replying to me and aiming to appease my guilt about liking it. I’d like to ask your opinion about females like myself who go into violent and sexually abusive relationships, i know it can be a result of my experiences as a child but how do these men know and how would a stranger know and rape me. My ex husband raped me too years later and i had an orgasm! I am so confused as to how they know – please tell me?

  14. Irene – I appreciate your confidence, but I feel you would be better advised by seeking the professional help of a therapist.
    Human beings have a peculiar habit of repeating the “sins of the parents” in their own lives, and it maybe that if you were abused by a parent as a child, you are in some way punishing yourself for that by always unconsciously seeking out men who will continue that abuse.
    You really would benefit from the help of a good therapist. Remember, you’re not alone. Thousands of women suffer similar problems.
    I do hope that in the future you can eventually find someone to value you, rather than abuse you.

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