Sexual violence against children

From BoyWiki

Sexual violence against children is an artificial construct created in the U.S. in the late 20th century for political purposes by moral crusaders and child savers.

Child abuse as physical violence

Children are sometimes physically abused by their parents, though most parents do not physically abuse their children. A small percentage of parents do abuse their children, and this was brought to public attention in the early '60s by the activities of a small number of medical doctors who noticed children being brought in to emergency rooms with "suspicious" injuries (often including scars from previous injuries which had healed, and X-ray evidence of healed bone fractures).

In 1962, Dr C. Henry Kempe published his famous paper, “The Battered Child Syndrome," which set off the "child physical abuse" hysteria.

Children's rights

Children began to be thought of as a "special class" of people requiring "special protections" at the end of the 19th century, mostly due to the early feminist movement's "fight against child prostitution" which was motivated by the panic over "white slavery". This panic originated in and was fostered by a "yellow journalism" gazette [1] in England in a series of articles in the Pall Mall Gazette:

In Victorian Britain, campaigning journalist William Thomas Stead, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, procured a 13-year-old girl for £5, an amount then equal to a labourer's monthly wage (see the Eliza Armstrong case). Moral panic over the "traffic in women" rose to a peak in England in the 1880s. At the time, "white slavery" was a natural target for defenders of public morality and crusading journalists. The ensuing outcry led to the passage of antislavery legislation in Parliament. Parliament passed the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act, raising the age of consent from thirteen to sixteen in that year.[2]

League of Nations declaration

The Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, League of Nations, 1924 set out what were presumed to be the "basic rights" of the child.

The United Nations Convention

The "United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child" [3] outlined further "rights" for children.

"Two optional protocols were adopted on 25 May 2000. The First Optional Protocol restricts the involvement of children in military conflicts, and the Second Optional Protocol prohibits the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Both protocols have been ratified by more than 150 states."[4]

These second optional protocol, written by those who were heavily influenced by "child savers" and "[moral entrepreneurs]]" goes far in denying children their right to sexual agency, while (supposedly) "protecting" children from harm.

"Violations of children's human rights" becomes "sexual violence against children"

Because there were (presumed) "violations" of children's (artificially restricted) "human rights" then, by extension, "violations" of "human rights" became "violence against children," which then morphed into "sexual violence against children". This is an early example of psychobabble.

It is, however, from the emergence of movements in defense of children's rights in the 1990's, that the topic of "sexual violence against children" becomes a specific universal priority in the political agenda, which can be associated with the emergence of a new ideal of childhood: the child as subject of special rights. The new ideal of the child as subject of rights draws political attention to its corollary: the abused child or the sexually exploited child, i.e. the child transformed into sexual object or commodity. More than contradictory, these opposing childhood figures can be understood as interdependent and complementary poles - one representing the childhood politically conceived and the other, the most extreme limit of the deviation from this ideal.
"Child abuse" is then defined as a violation of human rights, along with the other forms of violence and sexual exploitation of children. In this context, the sexual offenses against children gain a new sense: no longer the theft of innocence or of chastity, as they had been formerly represented, but as violence and the violation of rights. In Brazil the problem of "child abuse" has gained visibility as a "human rights violation".[5]


  1. OR
  3. "The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (commonly abbreviated as the CRC, CROC, or UNCRC) is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under a state's own domestic legislation."

See also

External links

[[Category:Sexual abuse]]