Sunday, October 14, 2007

Marshack

Readers have questioned our respect for Alexander Marshack and his legacy. It is quite true that he is not officially a cultural anthropologist; yet his thinking has broken entirely new ground.
"A major breakthrough in the field of the interpretation and understanding of Upper Paleolithic art. Marshack's results have thrown revolutionary new light on the intellectual level attained by our Upper Paleolithic forebears." -- Professor Hallam L. Movius Jr.
"I feel convinced that your accomplishments represent a major advance towards a more adequate and deeper understanding of the life ways, beliefs and values of Cro-magnon people."
-- Professor F. Clark Howell
His work resembles something that Gavin tried to do many years ago with his theory that it would have been easier to build Stonehenge when the ground was frozen than in summer. Compare: moving the stones in summer using rollers on a treeless plain--when the ground was soft--to sledding the stones in over frozen ground, with maybe buckets of water thrown to form ice in their path ... Anyway, Gavin's hypothesis was laughed out of court.
So what did Marshack do?
1. He proved to the satisfaction of the establishment that the marks on many of the pre-historic bones depicted lunations.
2. He proved that the marks were in fact the earliest known form of writing, dating from some 2,000 years before the hieroglyphic form.
Some of us have looked at the hundreds of batons de commandment (as the bones that Marshack studied are called). To us their size and shape suggested their use in initiation rituals.
We have taken the trouble to reproduce some of the marks in handouts we've created for presentations. The general consensus of attendees, especially among female attendees, is that the writing that so closely resembled lunar intervals suggested nothing more than somebody keeping an activity chart, as Yvonne used to call her own records in her bachelor days.
If, as we suspect, the writing was scratched by young women, it constitutes one of the earliest forms of written records and in our opinion should be more closely analyzed, if only to show that writing was a female invention.
It may be thought that all this is an unwarranted hypothetical extension of Marshack's work; however, for many years we have shown copies of the markings to audiences, and almost all without exception suggested the same theory. Like the winter-time construction of Stonehenge, it is just a theory and nothing for the community to get uptight about.
We suggest that those who have a better hypothesis, either about the Ishango bone and batons de commandment, or about the construction of Stonehenge, publish them here.

12 comments:

Shadowhawk said...

As far as the construction of stonehenge goes the time of year could have been anytime, so i cant postulate. But with the discovery of the settlement at Durrington Walls i tend to believe it was built by indigenous Britons.Plus the number bantered about of 4600 years is to small i think it was built earlier, But again anything is possible. i do think that certain other sites were being built or set up close to the same time and same era. Primarily Avebury, Glastonbury, Rollright. Also the baths at Bath Aquae Sullis as far as its building is a fascinating subject.

ajdrew said...

Gavin Frost said: "Some of us have looked at the hundreds of batons de commandment (as the bones that Marshack studied are called)"

I am so very confused. Please explain. You keep talking about these "batons de commandments". I think these are the things you used to explain your instruction to:

1) Use nylon, dowl rod, cord, and was to make multiple sized dildos.

2) Have children use these things to make their vagina ready for sexual intercourse.

3) Have fathers help their daughters with this practice if need be.

You provide charts, diagrams, and other instructions in your book. Could you please explain how that relates to these "batons de commandment".

Seriously guys, if this is some sort of code, I am at a complete loss.

The latest release of your book has the instructions and as I understand it, the disclaimer was only added in the 2000 edition, and you keep talking about these things.

Seriously, I do not understand your infatuation with them, or the whole deflowering virgins thing. Does that have something to do with the batons?

ajdrew said...

I almost forgot, here are the quotes that I am talking about. Hope you can answer my questions. I also included my commentary so you could better understand what it is that I am concerned about as well as my curiousity as to why you didnt seem to bother with a disclaimer until the year 2000 edition.

Chapter IV

“When a child develops to a stage where the physical attributes of reproduction are present, he can become a full member of the coven.”

Note the use of the word “child”. As I understand this statement we are speaking about prepubescent / onset of puberty. Perhaps the age of 10.

“The parents relinquish the spiritual guidance of the children to the coven, and warn them that temporal authority will also soon be outside the family. “

Note that according to this statement, it seems what follows would have been led by Gavin and Yvonne Frost as the Heads of their Coven.

“It is hoped by Wicca that the first full sexual experience will take place in the plesant[SIC] surroundings of the coven and that the spiritual as well as the physical aspects of the experience will lead the child to a complete life. ”

Note: Note the use of the word “child” in this sentence. Note also that this sentence appears in the same discussion as the reference to the age being the onset of puberty. Obviously, we are speaking of children well under legal age and apparently about 10 years of age.

“The physical attributes of male and female virginity are destroyed at the youngest possible age, either by the mother or by a doctor. In the female case, the hymen is painlessly broken surgically. In the male case, the mother makes absolutely sure that the foreskin can be drawn fully back by cutting the underside attachment membrane.”

Note: I did not know that home genital surgery was part the Wiccan religion.

“At the last sabbat or eshbat before the initiation, the female novice is given the sacred phallus and the instruction sheet in Table 5 so that she can learn to insert and remove the phallus quickly and comfortably. She is also taught how she should lie and what she should do during the initiation ceremony. ”

Note: There are two phalluses. One large, one small. There are instructions for making them using wood dowels, nylon cord, and wax. The object of this exercise appears to be to stretch the virgin vagina to make it ready for coitus. Remember, as we discussed earlier we might be speaking about a 10 year old girl.

Table Five contains the following instructions

“You have been entrusted with two phali[SIC]; these are in your care until your initiation. We would like you to be initiated at the next coven meeting, which will take place on …. This means that, excluding your menstruation time, you have three weeks to prepare your muscles for introitus. Your father or your sponsor will help you if you have any difficulties or pain. You may have to delay your initiation, but there is plenty of time and no need to hurry. These are important development phases. Relax and take your time. You have no hymen; there is no restriction except the vaginal muscles.”

Note: As I understand this, a 10 year old girls father should help her with the home made phalli? In the state of Ohio, this is rape. In any state, this is obscene.

“After your evening discussion and meditation, and before you go to bed, take the smaller phallus and smear it with lubricating jelly. Either lie on your back with your knees up and legs slightly apart, or stand up and bend your knees. Spread the lips of the vagina and gently insert the phallus. Remember it must point toward the back, not up inside you. Push the phallus in until the vaginal entrance muscles close around the core. Wear it and the larger phallus in accordance with the following table, except during menstruation.”

Note: The table provides the time and schedule to use the two devices of differing sizes.

“The final three days before the initiation are a time of fasting. ”

Note: The importance of fasting will become evident later.

“Throughout the fast the novices are given a demonstration of introitus by a couple selected by the coven. “

Note: As I understand this passage, this states that a live sex show should be given to children as early as the age of 10 years of age.

“The novice makes her own decision on contraception or lack of it.”

Note: As I understand this statement, children the age of 10 years old should make decisions on the use or lack of use of birth control prior to having sex.

“The flamenca gives the novice a full glass of mead.”

Note: While I am not a doctor, I believe the result of having a child or most adults fast for three days and then drink a “full glass” of a high carbohydrate alcoholic beverage would be near instant intoxication.

“Bring back the fruits of your sponsor’s body”

Note: Although the instruction is not specifically to go have sex, with the wording of the preparation, this instruction is not hidden at this point. So at this point, we might be speaking of a 10 year old girl, removed from her parents care, raped by her father with a series of home made dildos, fasting for three days, intoxicated on mead, and told to go have sex with her sponsor. In the case of a male child, skip the dildo and include genital surgery.

“Does the novice now understand the meaning of life?”

“Do you still wish to be a member of this coven?”

Note: Some final highlights remember we are obviously talking about “children” and seem to be talking about children as early as the age of 10 years old.

“Do you have the fruits of your body (sponsors body)?”

“I will use my sex for good;”

“She symbolically whips him with his own whip. He kisses her foot, she helps him to rise. He points to his ankh (symbol of the God’s authority) at her. She falls to the ground. He symbolically whips her. She kisses his foot; he helps her to rise. “

“The symbology [SIC] of the meek overcoming the strong and the godhead overcoming all, even the flamenca, is easy to understand, but has been the cause of many attacks by the establishment, who freely change “foot” to “backside”.

Note: Interesting use of the word “establishment”. When combined with the pedophilia, I find this use of the word alarmingly similar to other religious organizations, which have turned my stomach.

In the edition published in 1999 (sometimes called the 2000 edition), there is a disclaimer to chapter 4 which states that “formal” initiations should not take place into a coven which practices the great rite until someone is 18. An explination is given which states that fathers are being sued for giving their childrens baths. However, another chapter rather clearly makes that disclaimer to chapter 4 seem insincere at best:

Chapter VII – Perils and Precautions – All quotes and page numbers are from the 1972 edition of The Witches Bible.

“At the end of this chapter you will find an additional section covering the problems you may encounter with the local temporal and civil authorities. Precautions and cures for these ills do not fall within the scope of the present book, but on your getting a good lawyer”.

Section title “Temporal Authorities and Law” – page 181 at the end of the chapter VII.

“First and foremost, check your local laws so that if you have to bend or break any of them, at least you’ll know the risks you run. The following should be checked.”

“Carnal Knowledge

The daughter of a local Wiccan couple wishes to join the coven. She is sixteen. May she join? The answer in most states is that when she is a member, all of the men of the coven could be jailed; no amount of formal releases properly signed will help. So if she wishes to join, all the male members of the coven must sign an agreement absolving the other members from responsibility.”

Why do the authors seem to think only the men could be jailed over this? Why not the female members as well? The only thing I can come up with is that elsewhere the Frosts explain how homosexuality in their religion is not permitted. As best I can figure, the signed agreement is thought to absolve the female members of the coven for the crimes of the men who will be having sex with her. Note that “all male members” must sign the thing. Not just some or the one who will sexually initiate her. No no, all men must sign it.

Page 189 – Forming and Running a Coven

Speaking about things that potential coven members must be told prior to joining, the Frosts list:

“Their bodies will be used in ceremonies that
a. sap the vital power,
b. are dangerous,
c. require sex with assigned partners.

Ok, the above is just about sick enough to illustrate my point that Gavin and Yvonne Frost knew exactly what they had instructed. Sure, in this situation they are speaking about a hypothetical 16 year old, but elsewhere they are clear that the average age of a coven member in a coven that is 5 years old is 15 years of age. For there to be a 15 year old in that coven, should this 16 year old join there would have to be a 14 year old. If there were an elder in the coven, well do the math. Children would have to be much, much younger than the average of 15 now wouldn’t they?

But there are other quotes from earlier in the book, which might cause one to think that the illness runs even deeper. Note that above, they did say the child was the “daughter” of a Wiccan couple. In chapter IV we see other instructions concerning Wiccan children which might be related to the above quote.

Chapter IV

“The parents relinquish the spiritual guidance of the children to the coven, and warn them that temporal authority will also soon be outside the family. “

Oh, but it gets even worse.

Pregnancy - Page 181

“Towards the end of their term, though, when they find they are unable to participate fully in coven activities and are worried about the future, they sometimes panic and sue for child support. Therefor, all single women joining the coven must sign a release.”

So as I understand this instruction, it is sometimes necessary to bend or break the law if you want to practice the Frosts Wicca. Sex with children is illegal, so when you go around breaking the law you should make sure the women folk are protected from charges of child molestation and rape and you should be equally sure that the women joining the coven (including the children evidently) sign a release protecting the men folk from child support.

Shadowhawk said...

Aj the Baton de Commandment is in Marshacks Roots of Civilization.. Read it.. then you wont be so confused.. DUMBASS

E_Anderson said...

Mr. Drew, it's sad that on one topic you feel it is necessary to discuss something else. Of course, you have been doing this repeatedly for over a year. In psychological terms, this is called an "obsession." I would point out that you have done this to other individuals and groups. It has nothing to do with reality--it's just a shift in the focus of your obsession.

Possibly, you feel you must do this, just as you have felt in the past that you must attack others such as Ray Buckland. In psychological terms, this is called a "compulsion." Compulsions are never about the target of the compulsion, they are about the illness of the person with the compulsion.

You may feel that if anyone disagrees with you, they are attacking you. In psychological terms, this is called "paranoia."

In short, your posts indicate as many as three mental illnesses. It is possible--indeed it is likely--that they are related. In psychological terms, this is known as a "fugue of symptoms." Unfortunately, they all require psychological treatment. I do hope you get it.

Such mental disease does not "go away" by itself. Most ominously, such obsessions and compulsions can easily switch from one target to another, and often such targets become friends and family members. As I wrote, I hope you get proper psychological counseling before you harm someone you care about.

The Pagan Temple said...

One possible sign of paranoia on his part is one he directed at me, on the comments of another blog post. I will have to look it up to see exactly which post it was, but he outright accused me of lying about my knowledge of what was in Good Witches Bible.

He said something to the effect that I was lying and I knew I was lying. Sounds pretty fucking paranoid to me. Unless of course he honestly thinks he's telepathic, which would of course be an even more profound delusion-perhaps even a psychosis.

ajdrew said...

Mr. Anderson – This is not another topic. The Frosts have been rather clear that they feel the Roots of Civilization by Marshack contains a discussion of the Baton de Commandment which explains why the Frosts taught that multiple sized didlos be made from down rod, cord, and wax to be used on girls to get them ready for sexual initiation. Here they are talking about Marshack and the batons. Seems to be right on topic to me.

Over a year? Oh sir, I have been discussing this for many, many years. I started before the year 2000 disclaimer was added. As nobody but myself seemed to be discussing it at the time, I think I may have partly caused that disclaimer to have been included. Sometime around then, I wrote Wicca for Couples which discusses the matter. I think it was published in 2003. So yep, I haven’t given up or given in. But nope, not just a year or so.

I do not think this is obsessive, I think it is dedicated. In so far as paranoid, I do not feel people who disagree are attacking me. I feel people who disagree with me and threaten to physically attack me in a court of law (Shadowhawk) are threatening me. I feel the other supporters of Gavin and Yvonne Frost who have made similar threats are threatening me. But attacking me? Sure, the name-calling is verbally attacking me, but I do no think observing such is paranoid, I think it is common sense.

Shadowhawk – I have read it. It doesn’t say, state, claim, or imply anything about children being made to use the batons to stretch their vaginas to make them ready for sexual initiation. Hence my confusion. The Frosts keep talking about the book and the batons. Elsewhere they indicate the book explains the Church and School of Wicca’s instructions to make the dildos and to use them on children. I can’t find a single reference in the book that they and now you tell me to look in. Hence my confusion and my wanting to discuss it when the Frosts want to discuss the book and the batons.

I am just looking for answers to what they said in the 2000 edition concerning the batons being why they had the pedophilic instructions in that book without the year 2000 disclaimer for almost 30 years and why even after the disclaimer the instructions remain.

Pagan Temple – You have lied about your knowledge of the book. In one instance you will say that you have never read the book or its contents. In previous instances you make reference to the content which would require reading it. Obviously one of these statements is a lie.

Everyone – Just to catch up on the game, let me see if I have it right. The attempts to create a rumor that I am a drug felon fell flat, the attempts to create a rumor that I am a pedophile fell flat, the attempts to create a rumor that my daughter and I are estranged fell flat, so now instead of discussing the topic of this blog entry the course of action is to try and create a rumor that I am mentally ill?

Ok, I can play that game. Actually, I think it will be kind of fun.

The Pagan Temple said...

AJ Drew-

Very well then, let me make it crystal clear. I have NEVER read the book. You can call me a liar all you want, but I know for a fact I have never owned, borrowed, purchased, or checked the book out from a library. Again, I have never read the book, or even had a copy in my possession.

Any awareness I have as to the books contents comes from reading this blog and other blog posts. Any statements I have made as to the books contents have been made under the assumption that those segments published on said blog posts may be correct or accurate to some more or less degree.

Regardless of all this, I have never read the book. Period, end of discussion.

If you continue to insist that I am lying, then you are in effect making your own self a liar, for you are claiming to have a knowledge that is not only inaccurate, it is a knowledge you could never hope to have.

Finally, it is also irrelevant if I have or have not read the book. I maintain that the Frosts have a right to publish and sell the book, and others have a right to purchase and read it, and business owners have a right to stock it and sell it, regardless of what is or is not in the book.

Whether I agree or disagree with this or that part of the book is also actually irrelevant. If I were to read the book, I would imagine there would be a good lot of it I would not agree with. I would imagine there would be a significant part I would agree with.

Again, that is irrelevant and immaterial. So for that matter is my level of honesty. As for your honesty and forthrightness, that may well be a different matter. The onus for proving honesty rests on you, not with myself or anyone else.

E_Anderson said...

Mr. Drew wrote:
"I have been discussing this for many, many years. ..So yep, I haven’t given up or given in. But nope, not just a year or so...I do not think this is obsessive..."

No, I'm sure you don't think this is obsessive. Most people who suffer from such obsessions have a "reason" for their obsessions and compulsions.

The long rambling posts filled with self-justification that would do the Unabomber proud are another sign of your ill-health. So, too, is the playing of word games so that although I said you have shown this obsession for "more than a year," which is absolutely correct, you had to state that you have been obsessed by this for many years, which, of course, is "more than a year."

Perhaps if you were not so obsessive and compulsive you would have paid more attention to what you were doing and not gotten electrocuted. People who are obsessive in one area are often lackadaisical in other areas including personal well-being. Such was the case with the ill-kempt unabomber, and quite possibly a cause of your electrocution.

Please get some psychological help. If you are currently under psychological/psychiatric care, I urge you to find a new physician or counselor as the current one has not been effective.

Or have you not bothered to tell him, her, or them that you have been fixated on a book written over 30 years ago and have compulsively spent hundreds of hours writing and trying to spread the word of the book's evil, although you have not been able to present any evidence of any crime that has resulted from the book.

Rhiannon said...

Thank you to the Frost for talking about this.
I have read the Roots of Civilization and it does not mention anything about the baton de commandment being used sexually.
The whole book is based on calendar times and counting.
The baton de commandment was used as a counting instrument for harvesting and birthing of animals.
Marshack wrote this in 1972 and was Peer reviewed many times to be sure that his findings of such were correct.

Now of course more has been found out about the baton de commandment.
It is alao thought to have been used by some tribes as a throwing instrument.
Again though it is never mentioned as being used as a sexual device.

It has/is used to control animals. One way is to put the upper lip of the horse through the hole and twist. The horse is in so much pain it will forget about kicking, rearing etc.
The baton de commandment was also used as a torture device down through history.

A few web site and books to look at…

http://news.webshots.com/
photo/2945068800088456680IGPJfI
http://www.geocities.com/
Athens/Acropolis/5645/upperpaleolithic.html

http://www.channel4.com/
history/microsites/T/timeteam/archive/cheddar.html

http://www.thudscave.com/
npaa/articles/terms.htm

http://www.kingsdown.net/
KingsdownGuidePart1.pdf


Prelude to History: A Study of Human Origins and Palaeolithic Savagery - Page 192
by Adrian Coates - Social Science - 1952
They are sometimes called batons de commandment, it being supposed that they were
sceptres or symbols of authority

Proceedings and Reports of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical ... - Page 45
1926
The sceptre or baton de commandment is specially characteristic if this period;
it has been claimed to be a shaft straightener and also a dress fastener. ...

An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology - Page 104
by Amalananda Ghosh - 1990
... points, borers, awls, diggers, a shaft-straightener (baton de commandment),
pins, styli, tanged and socketed arrowheads and many unfinished tools, ...
Purātattva - Page 19
by Indian Archaeological Society
... scrapers, chisels (from large to small sizes), hammers, needles, points,
borers, awls, diggers, a shaft-straightner (baton-de-commandment), pins, styli, ...



http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Baton+de+commandement
A bâton de commandement or bâton percé is a name given by archaeologists to a particular prehistoric artefact of uncertain function.

They are made from a length of antler with abstract or animal designs etched into it and a round hole made in one end. They are found at Aurignacian and Magdelanian sites of the Upper Palaeolithic in Europe.

Interpretations include that it was a type of spear thrower or arrow straightener although less violent ideas for its function have also been suggested such as a regal 'baton of command' which was the original understanding.

The spear thrower theory would make the bâton de commandement an intermediary stage between a spear thrower consisting of a cord or thong and the more well known Atlatl; as it has been suggested that the bâton de commandement would have an attached cord or thong to wrap around a dart or spear. It is also notable that in Europe, the bâton de commandement begins to disappear from the archaeological record around the time spear throwers first appear.
References
Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills from The Society of Primitive Technology (1999) ISBN

(as a side note. Please cut and paste the whole web addy since this blog program does not give room for the whole link to be on one line. OR just do a search. Thanks)

Carol Maltby said...

"Readers have questioned our respect for Alexander Marshack and his legacy." Gavin and Yvonne

Gavin and Yvonne, this is really dishonest. In the months I've been following this, as far as I know not a single person has questioned your respect for Marshack. Those of us who have gone through Marshack's book have been very impressed with Roots of Civilization ourselves. None of us has expressed any problem with Marshack's theory of markings being time markers.

What we have have repeatedly questioned is your claim that Marshack's book supports any aspect of your sexual initiation ritual.

In your "Forward to Chapter IV" you say that "the use of the phallus... was included as part of Craft heritage in line with the age-old practice universal among preliterate societies, as described in Auel's "Clan of the Cave Bear". It was still practiced in many groups in Great Britain through the 1970's. For those who are interested in the roots of the practice and the baton de commandment, we recommend "Roots of Civilization" by Marshak." [1]

We have found zero -- zero -- evidence in Marshack's book that would indicate that he thought in any way that the baton de commandement (which is how it is spelled) was used as an artificial penis.

We have asked you to supply quotations from Roots of Civilization to support your claim, and you have refused to do so.

Marshack does not speculate on the nature of Paleolithic coming-of-age rituals.

He is, however, quite emphatic about how his perspectives differ from those Gavin and Yvonne Frost are trying to impose upon him:

"The complexity and interrelation of these storied meanings cannot easily be explained by any generalizing theories propounding concepts of hunting magic, fertility ritual, or sexual symbolism." p.255 Roots of Civilization

"Ethnology and anthropology abound in examples of ceremonies performed in semi-nudity without any overt sexual symbolism. We cannot therefore, assume 'fertility rite,' since a ceremony and 'story' can be masculine without fertility connotation... [snip] ...We must be careful, then, in judging such images of nudity, for we see in them what we consider to be sexual in terms of our repertoire of images and habits, our ethical and moral values concerning nakedness, and our knowledge concerning insemination and conception." p. 272 Roots of Civilization

Likewise, Jean Auel cautions about using her writing as justification in the way you use it to justify the sexual initiation of children in a Church of Wicca coven:

"Jean Auel gave a lecture to the Sacramento Archaeological Society just before POP[Plains of Passage] was published... Jean started the talk by saying that she is often asked, 'How much is REAL? Well, none of it is REAL.' She went on to say that the books are her interpretation of facts or artifacts, and should not be read as FACT. [2]

[1] http://www.freewebs.com/controversialstudy/WB/ForwardToChapterIV.htm

[2]http://donsmaps.com/auel.html

Knowledge Is Power said...

I thought this was an interesting article to note attitudes in the 60's and 70's.



http://home.earthlink.net/~m7a7g7i/af2.htm

2. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
In order to attempt to deal with extreme allegations of what constitute child sex rings, it is important to have an historical perspective of society's attitudes about child sexual abuse. I will provide a brief synopsis of recent attitudes in the United States here, but those desiring more detailed information about such societal attitudes, particularly in other cultures and in the more distant past, should refer to Florence Rush's book, The Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children (1980) and Sander J. Breiner's book, Slaughter of the Innocents (1990).

Society's attitude about child sexual abuse and exploitation can be summed up in one word: *denial*. Most people do not want to hear about it and would prefer to pretend that child sexual victimization just does not occur. Today, however, it is difficult to pretend that it does not happen. Stories and reports about child sexual victimization are daily occurrences.

It is important for professionals dealing with child sexual abuse to recognize and learn to manage this denial of a serious problem. Professionals must overcome the denial and encourage society to deal with, report, and prevent sexual victimization of children.

Some professionals, however, in their zeal to make American society more aware of this victimization, tend to exaggerate the problem. Presentations and literature with poorly documented or misleading claims about one in three children being sexually molested, the $5 billion child pornography industry, child slavery rings, and 50,000 stranger-abducted children are not uncommon. The problem is bad enough; it is not necessary to exaggerate it. Professionals should cite reputable and scientific studies and note the sources of information. If they do not, when the exaggerations and distortions are discovered, their credibility and the credibility of the issue are lost.

a. "STRANGER DANGER"
During the 1950s and 1960s the primary focus in the literature and discussions on sexual abuse of children was on "stranger danger" - the dirty old man in the wrinkled raincoat. If one could not deny the existence of child sexual abuse, one described victimization in simplistic terms of good and evil. The "stranger danger" approach to preventing child sexual abuse is clear-cut. We immediately know who the good guys and bad guys are and what they look like.

The FBI distributed a poster that epitomized this attitude. It showed a man, with his hat pulled down, hiding behind a tree with a bag of candy in his hands. He was waiting for a sweet little girl walking home from school alone. At the top it read: "Boys and Girls, color the page, memorize the rules." At the bottom it read: "For your protection, remember to turn down gifts from strangers, and refuse rides offered by strangers." The poster clearly contrasts the evil of the offender with the goodness of the child victim.

The myth of the child molester as the dirty old man in the wrinkled raincoat is now being reevaluated, based on what we now know about the kinds of people who victimize children. The fact is a child molester can look like anyone else and even be someone we know and like.

There is another myth that is still with us and is far less likely to be discussed. This is the myth of the child victim as a completely innocent little girl walking down the street minding her own business. It may be more important to dispel this myth than the myth of the evil offender, especially when talking about the sexual exploitation of children and child sex rings. Child victims can be boys as well as girls, and not all victims are little "angels".

Society seems to have a problem dealing with any sexual abuse case in which the offender is not completely "bad" or the victim is not completely "good". Child victims who, for example, simply behave like human beings and respond to the attention and affection of offenders by voluntarily and repeatedly returning to the offender's home are troubling. It confuses us to see the victims in child pornography giggling or laughing. At professional conferences on child sexual abuse, child prostitution is almost never discussed. It is the form of sexual victimization of children most unlike the stereotype of the innocent girl victim. Child prostitutes, by definition, participate in and often initiate their victimization. Furthermore child prostitutes and the participants in child sex rings are frequently boys. One therapist recently told me that a researcher's data on child molestation were misleading because many of the child victims in question were child prostitutes. This implies that child prostitutes are not "real" child victims. In a survey by the Los Angeles Times, only 37 percent of those responding thought that child prostitution constituted child sexual abuse (Timnik, 1985). Whether or not it seems fair, when adults and children have sex, the child is always the victim.

b. INTRAFAMILIAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
During the 1970s, primarily as a result of the women's movement, society began to learn more about the sexual victimization of children. We began to realize that most children are sexually molested by someone they know who is usually a relative - a father, step-father, uncle, grandfather, older brother, or even a female relative. Some mitigate the difficulty of accepting this by adopting the view that only members of socio-economic groups other than theirs engage in such behavior.

It quickly became apparent that warnings about not taking gifts from strangers were not good enough to prevent child sexual abuse. Consequently, we began to develop prevention programs based on more complex concepts, such as good touching and bad touching. the "yucky" feeling, and the child's right to say no. These are not the kinds of things you can easily and effectively communicate in fifty minutes to hundreds of kids packed into a school auditorium. These are very difficult issues, and programs must he carefully developed and evaluated.

In the late 1970s child sexual abuse became almost synonymous with incest, and incest meant father-daughter sexual relations. Therefore, the focus of child sexual abuse intervention became father-daughter incest. Even today, the vast majority of training materials, articles, and books on this topic refer to child sexual abuse only in terms of intrafamilial father-daughter incest.

Incest is, in fact, sexual relations between individuals of any age too closely related to marry. It need not necessarily involve an adult and a child, and it goes beyond child sexual abuse. But more importantly child sexual abuse goes beyond father-daughter incest. Intrafamilial incest between an adult and child may be the most common form of child sexual abuse, but it is not the only form.

The progress of the 1970s in recognizing that child sexual abuse was not simply a result of "stranger danger" was an important breakthrough in dealing with society's denial. The battle, however, is not over. The persistent voice of society luring us back to the more simple concept of "stranger danger" may never go away. It is the voice of denial.

c. RETURN TO "STRANGER DANGER"
In the early 1980s the issue of missing children rose to prominence and was focused primarily on the stranger abduction of little children. Runaways, throwaways, noncustodial abductions, nonfamily abductions of teenagers - all major problems within the missing children's issue - were almost forgotten. People no longer wanted to hear about good touching and bad touching and the child's right to say "no". They wanted to be told, in thirty minutes or less, how they could protect their children from abduction by strangers. We were back to the horrible but simple and clear-cut concept of "stranger danger".

In the emotional zeal over the problem of missing children, isolated horror stories and distorted numbers were sometimes used. The American public was led to believe that most of the missing children had been kidnapped by pedophiles - a new term for child molesters. The media, profiteers, and well-intentioned zealots all played big roles in this hype and hysteria over missing children.

d. THE ACQUAINTANCE MOLESTER
Only recently has society begun to deal openly with a critical piece in the puzzle of child sexual abuse - acquaintance molestation. This seems to be the most difficult aspect of the problem for us to face. People seem more willing to accept a father or stepfather, particularly one from another socio-economic group, as a child molester than a parish priest, a next-door neighbor, a police officer, a pediatrician, an FBI agent, or a Scout leader. The acquaintance molester, by definition, is one of us. These kinds of molesters have always existed, but our society has not been willing to accept that fact.

Sadly, one of the main reasons that the criminal justice system and the public were forced to confront the problem of acquaintance molestation was the preponderance of lawsuits arising from the negligence of many institutions.

One of the unfortunate outcomes of society's preference for the "stranger danger" concept is what I call "say no, yell, and tell" guilt. This is the result of prevention programs that tell potential child victims to avoid sexual abuse by saying no, yelling, and telling. This might work with the stranger hiding behind a tree. Adolescent boys seduced by a Scout leader or children who actively participate in their victimization often feel guilty and blame themselves because they did not do what they were "supposed" to do. They may feel a need to describe their victimization in more socially acceptable but sometimes inaccurate ways that relieve them of this guilt.

While American society has become increasingly more aware of the problem of the acquaintance molester and related problems such as child pornography, the voice calling us back to "stranger danger" still persists.

e. SATANISM: A NEW FORM OF "STRANGER DANGER"
In today's version of "stranger danger", it is the satanic devil worshipers who are snatching and victimizing the children. Many who warned us in the early 1980s about pedophiles snatching fifty thousand kids a year now contend they were wrong only about who was doing the kidnapping, not about the number abducted. This is again the desire for the simple and clear-cut explanation for a complex problem.

For those who know anything about criminology, one of the oldest theories of crime is demonology: The devil makes you do it. This makes it even easier to deal with the child molester who is the "pillar of the community". It is not his fault; it is not our fault. There is no way we could have known; the devil made him do it. This explanation has tremendous appeal because, like "stranger danger", it presents the clear-cut, black-and-white struggle between good and evil as the explanation for child abduction, exploitation, and abuse.

In regard to satanic "ritual" abuse, today we may not be where we were with incest in the 1960s, but where we were with missing children in the early 1980s. The best data now available (the 1990 National Incidence Studies on Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children in America) estimates the number of stereotypical child abductions at between 200 and 300 a year, and the number of stranger abduction homicides of children at between 43 and 147 a year. Approximately half of the abducted children are teenagers. Today's facts are significantly different from yesterday's perceptions, and those who exaggerated the problem, however well-intentioned, have lost credibility and damaged the reality of the problem.

Back to Table of Contents