No panic over school sexual abuse

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Screaming water in a crowded theater



Quote:

A report claiming that close to 10 percent of children in public schools ? more than 4.5 million ? endure sexual abuse or misconduct by school employees has recently touched off a media-fueled panic.



However, "Educator Sexual Misconduct," by Carol Shakeshaft of Hofstra University, is seriously flawed, both in its methodology and in the way researchers defined sexual abuse and misconduct.



The numbers claimed by a study like this are beyond huge. We are talking 1 out of every 10 children being sexually abused by adults working a school setting.



You would think with such claims, that huge actions would be undertaken to protect our children. Yet all we hear is crickets chirping. Why?



Quote:

Among the questions asked of students by the one AAUW study was, ?during your whole school life, how often, if at all, has anyone (this includes students, teachers, other school employees, or anyone else) done the following things to you when you did not want them to? Made sexual comments, jokes, gesture or looks.? A list of 13 other behaviors follows.



The question seems to be the nexus at which sexual abuse in school is established. Thus, the 10 percent figure properly includes ?sexual abuse? by fellow students and other non-school employees. That fact alone invalidates the AAUW study for Shakeshaft?s purposes. It also invalidates her conclusions.



In this day and age, shouldn't people realize that creating false numbers for false problems HURTS their cause? How long can anyone sustain a genuine sense or rage about injustice in the world when studies like this attempt to make basically everyone everywhere guilty of some thought or deed. If anything studies like this ought to warrant serious scrutiny since the people producing them seem to have an agenda they are so bent on fulfilling that they will vilify anyone, anywhere to insure that they can have control through fear.



As Michael Moore so loves to point out. You can make people do anything when they are afraid. People like this should get out of the panic game and back into true research.



Nick

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    That is some seriously ****ed up "research" methodology!!
  • Reply 2 of 14
    talksense101talksense101 Posts: 1,737member
    Fox News needs to hire some real journalists.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    this is published research. it must be legitimate! you shall not google your way out of this one fiend!
  • Reply 4 of 14
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by alcimedes

    this is published research. it must be legitimate! you shall not google your way out of this one fiend!



    You reap what you sow.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    I've done some research on child sexual abuse, and I want to make a couple of points:



    1. There are lots of studies that measure all of the varying levels of sexual "abuse," from harassment to rape. They aren't illegitimate, but you just have to be careful about knowing what definitions are used. Age is another issue - some studies define "child" as under 18, others under 13, and others under 6. That's fine, but statistics can be very misleading if those issues aren't clear.



    2. Child sexual abuse occurs a lot more frequently than most people think. My guess from looking at a lot of the studies is that over 5% of children were physically sexually molested, including about 10% of girls.



    3. However, virtually none of that was done by school teachers or day care workers or whatever, and virtually all of it was done by family members.



    4. There have been lots of false allegations of child abuse, and lots of innocent people's lives ruined by them. Most of these have been the fault of overzealous prosecutors, psychotherapists, and parents rather than the alleged victims.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,464member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by tonton

    What's a "sexual look" and is that really equated to "sexual abuse"?



    Worse still, at least with sexual harassment, most definitions imply that it has to be a pattern to be harassment. The question here allows it to have been one time in your entire school career where you did not want it to happen.



    So someone told you to f*ck off one time, and gee, you didn't want that to happen. You've been sexually abused and a victim of sexual misconduct.



    Nick
  • Reply 7 of 14
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    Worse still, at least with sexual harassment, most definitions imply that it has to be a pattern to be harassment. The question here allows it to have been one time in your entire school career where you did not want it to happen.



    So someone told you to f*ck off one time, and gee, you didn't want that to happen. You've been sexually abused and a victim of sexual misconduct.



    Nick




    I knew it . . . . Cheney is an abuser too!!

  • Reply 8 of 14
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Because schools/education/teachers are "good" and churches/Catholicism/priests are "evil"...



    Duh...







    </sarcasm>
  • Reply 9 of 14
    giantgiant Posts: 6,041member
    Funny that the article condemns CNN:



    June 30, Fox News:

    Quote:

    Study: Sex Abuse Prevalent in Schools

    Wednesday, June 30, 2004



    WASHINGTON ? More than 4.5 million children are forced to endure sexual misconduct by school employees, from inappropriate comments to physical abuse, according to an exhaustive review of research that reads like a parent's worst nightmare...



    etc, etc...



    Then again on July 1st:

    Quote:

    Teacher Accused of Sleeping With Student Not Anomaly



    NEW YORK ? If Debra Lafave (search) is convicted of sexual misconduct and lewd exhibition, the middle school teacher will be part of a frightening trend: A report to Congress Wednesday found that one in every 10 school-age kids endures sexual misconduct by a teacher or other school employee...



    Lafave is not alone, according to the study, "Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature June 2004," prepared for the U.S. Department of Education (search) by Charol Shakeshaft of Hofstra University and Interactive, Inc. Huntington, N.Y.



    The study found that more than 4.5 million children suffer misconduct ranging from inappropriate comments to physical abuse, naming teachers as the worst offenders at 18 percent.



    So fox is as much to blame as CNN for running with the story (or possibly more, considering Fox's multiple ad-lib filled articles vs. CNN's single article simply reporting on the content of the study), yet they only link to CNN as proof of the media running away with the story.



    Typical Fox BS.



    As for the topic of the study itself, I'm with BRussel. AFAIC, we'll see how what comes out in the next couple of years on it.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,464member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    I've done some research on child sexual abuse, and I want to make a couple of points:



    1. There are lots of studies that measure all of the varying levels of sexual "abuse," from harassment to rape. They aren't illegitimate, but you just have to be careful about knowing what definitions are used. Age is another issue - some studies define "child" as under 18, others under 13, and others under 6. That's fine, but statistics can be very misleading if those issues aren't clear.



    2. Child sexual abuse occurs a lot more frequently than most people think. My guess from looking at a lot of the studies is that over 5% of children were physically sexually molested, including about 10% of girls.



    3. However, virtually none of that was done by school teachers or day care workers or whatever, and virtually all of it was done by family members.



    4. There have been lots of false allegations of child abuse, and lots of innocent people's lives ruined by them. Most of these have been the fault of overzealous prosecutors, psychotherapists, and parents rather than the alleged victims.




    So BRussell, what do you and others who research this area think to yourselves when a study like this arrives on the scene, sadly trumpeted by the media as well. I've seen the media report on all sorts of what is basically junk science. Do certain professionals just dismiss it outright? Do certain journals decide to reject it? What stops an ego and agenda driven scientist from turning out some false panic-driven nonsense in an attempt to get more research money, or help their cause or their career?



    I've seen the ol'professional journal publication/ peer review tossed out there. But in real life, just as in science, those who advance often seem to be those who tell people what they want to hear. (Hence why you can by low-carb, low-fat junk food, or believe that a pill is going to make you skinny for example)



    Nick
  • Reply 11 of 14
    giantgiant Posts: 6,041member
    In case you didn't notice, the big deal surrounding this report is that it is a gov't report commissioned to make recommendations for changes in laws and regulations, and that is why the media is reporting it. It's a classic story that interests readers: gov't study says teachers molest your kids and advocates legislative action! Who wouldn't report it? Extrapolating that out to anything else is irresponsible.



    In terms of academic journals, you can't really ask a broad question. What midwinter publishes for his field (likely not research?) is fundamentally different from what I publish in mine is fundamentally different from what torifile publishes in his. In my field, if you are talking aboout something interesting that no one else has worked on, it relatively easy to get a slot at a conference. It's technical, so there really isn't a huge amount of room for disagreement. In sociology, it appears totally different. THe back and forth over Klinenberg's Heat Wave shows how a field using scientific methods to measure intangibles can cause disagreement since the type of research requires choosing factors to focus on.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    So BRussell, what do you and others who research this area think to yourselves when a study like this arrives on the scene, sadly trumpeted by the media as well. I've seen the media report on all sorts of what is basically junk science. Do certain professionals just dismiss it outright? Do certain journals decide to reject it? What stops an ego and agenda driven scientist from turning out some false panic-driven nonsense in an attempt to get more research money, or help their cause or their career?



    I want to point out that I haven't done any original research in this area, but I've spent a lot of time reading the studies for classes. But yeah, of course the media are absolutely horrible about reporting this stuff, or anything for that matter. Obviously, the last place professionals in a particular field will get their information is the media; or at least they won't believe anything they read there. But in fairness, that CNN article did a good job of reporting that school abuse study - they presented the problems with the definitions and all that. That NewsMax article on the other hand...



    I don't think the problem is so much the journals, which are extremely conservative, as the free-lancers, like therapists, who aren't subject to peer review in what they do or say on TV. The issue of child sexual abuse is particularly controversial due to the actions of some of these folks. There's all the day care sex abuse cases of the 1990s, which were 95% nonsense despite the fact that many people's lives were ruined, there's the repression and recovery therapy stuff, which is probably 100% crap. But I don't think that's a problem of science as much as non-science, because it's always been the real researchers in the field who have debunked those practices of therapist non-scientists.



    In fact, there a good example of what started out as a real peer-reviewed article, published in Psychological Bulletin, but got twisted around. The article stated that we should be more skeptical of the supposed always-damaging effects of what is broadly termed child sexual abuse. It stated that males in particular often didn't see it as a negative thing, that definitions are often lumped together with different age groups (e.g., infants and teens) and consensuality (e.g., a real rape vs. a "statutory rape" of a 16 year old by a 19 year old), and that even in serious cases, children often grew up to be normal healthy adults. You can imagine that this went against the grain for people who make their livings as child advocates and sex abuse counsellors and the like.



    Well NAMBLA, a child sex group, got a hold of it and said it showed that child sex wasn't bad, and then Dr. Laura heard about that and condemned it, and eventually the fucking US Congress unanimously passed some kind of resolution condemning the APA for promoting child abuse or something. Here's a copy of the article in question, and here's a review of the controversy. There are still groups that complain about the APA as a child-abuse promoter due to this paper.



    What's interesting about that example to me is that it was an alliance between religious conservatives, politicians, liberal feminists, and child advocates to put the hammer down on a paper that expressed skepticism about some child sexual abuse issues. And then there's Elizabeth Loftus, a cognitive psychologist (which is my field), who has received death threats and tons of hate mail due to the fact that she has challenged recovered memory therapy, despite the fact that it's so obviously a bogus "therapy."



    Quote:

    I've seen the ol'professional journal publication/ peer review tossed out there. But in real life, just as in science, those who advance often seem to be those who tell people what they want to hear. (Hence why you can by low-carb, low-fat junk food, or believe that a pill is going to make you skinny for example)



    Probably, but remember that this report wasn't peer-reviewed (not to mention low-carb books). It was just one person contracted by the gov't to summarize some research. I personally think peer review sucks, but that may be because on Monday I had an absolutely brilliant article rejected by three apparently hallucinating anonymous reviewers and a lazy asshead associate editor.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    jimmacjimmac Posts: 11,898member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    Screaming water in a crowded theater







    The numbers claimed by a study like this are beyond huge. We are talking 1 out of every 10 children being sexually abused by adults working a school setting.



    You would think with such claims, that huge actions would be undertaken to protect our children. Yet all we hear is crickets chirping. Why?







    In this day and age, shouldn't people realize that creating false numbers for false problems HURTS their cause? How long can anyone sustain a genuine sense or rage about injustice in the world when studies like this attempt to make basically everyone everywhere guilty of some thought or deed. If anything studies like this ought to warrant serious scrutiny since the people producing them seem to have an agenda they are so bent on fulfilling that they will vilify anyone, anywhere to insure that they can have control through fear.



    As Michael Moore so loves to point out. You can make people do anything when they are afraid. People like this should get out of the panic game and back into true research.



    Nick










    -----------------------------------------------------------



    " As Michael Moore so loves to point out. You can make people do anything when they are afraid. People like this should get out of the panic game and back into true research. "



    -----------------------------------------------------------



    I think you mean like Michael Moore points out about Bush.

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