By David Lee on January 15, 2010 · tagged as , , , ,

Why does the term "participating victim" exist?


I admit that the article, The “Participating Victim” in the Study of Erotic Experiences Between Children and Adults: An Historical Analysis was hard for me to read.  I understand the value of recognizing that children have sexual feelings, but I find the frame of this article troublesome.  If the term “participating victim” is vanishing from the research literature, I celebrate that development.

And why does the term “erotic experiences between children and adults” have to be used in research journals in 2009?

Abstract and full citation follow the jump.

The “Participating Victim” in the Study of Erotic Experiences Between Children and Adults: An Historical Analysis.

Malón A. Archives of Sexual Behavior 2009; ePublished December 29, 2009

Click here for the link to the abstract on the journal’s web site.

(Copyright © 2009, Springer Science+Business Media)

During the 20th century, erotic experiences between minors and adults occupied a position of increasing interest, both public as well as scientific. In this area of research, one of the most notable evolutions in how these experiences are treated has been the progressive disappearance and/or the intense redefinition of what earlier researchers called “participating victims,” i.e., minors apparently interested in accepting and/or sustaining these relationships. The present work, through a comparative analysis of the literature, seeks to substantiate this transformation during the second third of the 20th century. It will also argue that this evolution can be fundamentally explained in terms of the intense emotional, moral, and ideological importance that is ascribed to these experiences in the rise of the current victimological paradigm. Finally, this study endeavors to contribute to the understanding of childhood and the scientific study of child sexuality as well as of these experiences with adults.

David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

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