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To the Editor

August 2, 2000 Letters to the Editor 

To the Editor:

Erica Goodes prompt response to the publication of the latest child abuse study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, (Childhood Abuse and Adult Stress, p. A22, Aug. 2nd) strikes of a continuation of scientific revisionism begun after the publication in 1998 of Rind, Bauserman and Tromovitch's Meta-Analysis of Child Sex Abuse Using College Samples in Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association. That study found that a history of child sex abuse: 1) does not necessarily correlate with any permanent lasting damage; 2) often leaves no sequelae; and 3) when it does, effects are greater in females than males.

That study was not reported on the day it was published and indeed not until nearly a full year later when, in response to Dr. Laura's whipping up invective, the U.S. House of Representatives in an unprecedented move voted 355-0 to condemn the scientific findings (as if scientific truth could be declared by fiat!), causing one to remember the old adage, When all think alike then no one is thinking. While that group of mostly lawyers might be excused for weighing in on a matter for which they are not qualified, what was truly unconscionable was for Psychological Bulletins editors, who purport to be scientists, to declare that they would now take social ramifications in to account when publishing research findings.

Co-author Nemeroff of the JAMA study claims this as a very large public health problem with three million reports of child abuse each year but neglects to say two million of those are deemed unfounded. And although his study only looked at women, he makes the absurd claim that there is no inherent reason why men should not show the same response. Nemeroff may be a psychiatrist but he is certainly neither a sexologist nor sexual physiologist, any one of which would tell you that male and female sexual response are very different. Such a proclamation alone causes one to question the entire study. - - -


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