Read The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children--and Its Aftermath by Susan A. Clancy Online


Few would argue that the experience of sexual abuse is deeply traumatic for a child. But in this explosive new book, psychologist Susan Clancy reports on years of research and contends that it is not the abuse itself that causes trauma—but rather the narrative that is later imposed on the abuse experience. Clancy demonstrates that the most common feeling victims report isFew would argue that the experience of sexual abuse is deeply traumatic for a child. But in this explosive new book, psychologist Susan Clancy reports on years of research and contends that it is not the abuse itself that causes trauma—but rather the narrative that is later imposed on the abuse experience. Clancy demonstrates that the most common feeling victims report is not fear or panic, but confusion. Because children don't understand sexual encounters in the same ways that adults do, they normally accommodate their perpetrators— something they feel intensely ashamed about as adults. The professional assumptions about the nature of childhood trauma can harm victims by reinforcing these feelings. Survivors are thus victimized not only by their abusers but also by the industry dedicated to helping them. Path-breaking and controversial, The Trauma Myth empowers survivors to tell their own stories, and radically reshapes our understanding of abuse and its aftermath....

Title : The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children--and Its Aftermath
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780465016884
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children--and Its Aftermath Reviews

  • Alex
    2019-06-06 00:39

    As a survivor of sexual abuse, this book really spoke to me. It helped explain a lot of the unresolved feelings that I have been dealing with for the past 25 years. The feelings of guilt, shame, confusion, anger, sadness all make more sense. I encourage anyone who has been a victim of childhood sexual abuse to read this book. I hope that you find some comfort and understanding within the pages.

  • Brisbride13
    2019-06-11 06:34

    i have never read a book that made me so angry and crushed. Did the author really mention the book Lolita??? I'm not getting the no trauma thing! If something is happening to a child and they have no way to process it because there is no point of referrence, that is trauma, that is why they have problems throughout their lives.If you take away the molestation, you wouldnt have those problems. All of the participants in her study speak of knowing it was wrong, but didnt know why it was wrong; or that you just didnt disrespect an adult.To me this is trauma From the time I was molested, my entire life turned upside down, and my form of abuse was not violent or coerced. By the time i was old enough to process what had happened to me, I had sooo much baggage of bewilderment, guilt (not only from the act itself, but the way i handled it). In the 40 years since "it" happened there has been only one time, in foster care, group homes, group therapy, or support groups,that i have ever encountered anyone who reacted to the abuse in the way that the author presents her case study subjects. This book was disappointing to me in that she speaks of the Harvard studies going on for 9 years and then doesnt present their stories, both before or after the abuse takes place, except for one or two lines, that SURPRISE, back up what she is trying to sell. It feels too edited.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-24 03:38

    I really enjoyed the authors unique perspective on childhood sexual abuse. Her commitment comes from really listening to survivors and adds an interesting layer to a complex issue without ever becoming cheesy or exploitative. As someone whose former partner has experienced childhood sexual abuse, I found her insights to be right on for what my ex experienced. In discussing the book with my ex, she confirmed that many of Clancy's findings and interpretations matched her own thoughts and feelings about her abuse. Clancy never claims to speak for all victims but it is clear that she has tapped a framework that makes sense to many.

  • Rachael
    2019-05-19 00:45

    I debated on what rating to give this book, and finally decided to skip that part. The Trauma Myth was certainly a thought-provoking book, but a "like-don't like" scale doesn't capture my feelings. I'm somewhere in a triangle of befuddled, intrigued, and disturbed. I walked into this ready to be convinced. I have a lot of respect for Susan Clancy, who has a knack for successfully tackling career-killing issues such as alien abduction and child sexual abuse. Both of these topics arose from investigations about memory--recovered, false, trauma memories, etc. In her first book, Abducted, she explored why and how people come to believe they were abducted by aliens. In that book as in The Trauma Myth, Clancy portrays herself as greeting counterintuitive data with annoyance and skepticism, followed by a reframing of her assumptions, and ending with a deeper understanding of the problem and a new framework in which to understand it. Clancy's alien abduction framework was convincing and well-reasoned, and I expected the same in The Trauma Myth. I wasn't entirely disappointed, but I was also left feeling profoundly uncomfortable and unsettled. Part of that is the nature of the topic, but a lot of it was her approach.Her main goal is to turn sexual abuse research and understanding on its head. It seems that she has made little progress amongst researchers, so she released a popular book to make her case. Her point is NOT that sexual abuse is in any way acceptable or that it does not have devastating effects on its victims. She argues that 1) sexual abuse is often not traumatizing when it happens, because it is perpetrated by trusted individuals at a developmental stage when children cannot appreciate the betrayal and violation; 2) as individuals get older, they come to realize they were violated and feelings of guilt and betrayal begin to form; 3) the belief that sexual abuse is traumatic when it happens leads the majority of sexual abuse victims to believe that their lack of resistance & understanding was abnormal and, thus, they are partially or totally to blame for the abuse.There is no doubt in my mind that Susan Clancy has profound respect and compassion for victims of sexual abuse, and she believes the view she presents will do more to help victims than the current trauma model will. However, she makes semantic choices--which were likely conscious, carefully reasoned choices--that come perilously close to blaming victims, regardless of her arguments to the contrary. She argues repeatedly that children are unlikely to resist sexual abuse, particularly when it involves genital touching and not painful penetration. Even when children have some vague recognition that what's happening is wrong or are confused, they may also appreciate the attention from the trusted adult, and they may feel physical pleasure. Further, these reactions are perfectly normal, and adult survivors should be made aware that there is nothing wrong or aberrant in the way they responded.I'm with her on this, but it's her language in making these arguments that is questionable. She uses words like "complicit" and "consent," making the argument that although legally there is no consent, "most people do not live in a courtroom." Language is extremely important, and there are other ways to convey the same exact information without using an inflammatory word like "complicit".The title of the book itself is exceptionally inflammatory, a choice that was, I imagine, completely conscious. Most people reading the title would assume that she is arguing that sexual abuse is not harmful. Choosing such a title virtually ensures an uproar, leading to more press, and a higher readership. I choose to believe the goal of a higher readership is to increase the likelihood that her argument will gain traction and not for financial gain, but for every person who picks up the book and manages to read it all the way through (the most compelling, compassionate arguments are made in the second half), there will be perhaps hundreds who read the title and form their own opinions about the facts within the book. Authors cannot be held responsible for every ignorant person who misconstrues their argument without actually reading it. In this case, however, that outcome is predictable, inevitable, and perhaps even encouraged. In short, it is a book whose arguments will stay with you and will continue to challenge you afterward.

  • Kate
    2019-06-17 05:46

    A complete review can be found at:, I found this to be a book about a psychological researcher's point of view who wasn't armed with the right questions or understanding of trauma from the onset due to her lack of field work. She confuses the adjective "traumatic" with the medical definition of "trauma" and all of its lingering physiological and psychological effects from the event itself. She makes assumptions based on a control group which is relaying their incidents, many of which are not seen as violent, often felt good physically at the time, and did not feel in physical danger as they new their perpetrators, for the first time. Additionally, they are doing so without any benefit of therapy or processing of the event. That is a biased control group.What Clancy does unveil is an epidemic in our country of sexual abuse and many people who still do not understand they have been abused. While I don't agree with her conclusions, I think the overall study does have a benefit. She points fingers at the medical establishment while I think further education on the nature of trauma is what is actually necessary.

  • Michelle Cahill
    2019-06-17 08:53

    Very thought provoking. A should-read for anyone in the field.

  • Alida
    2019-06-09 08:03

    Do yourself a favor and read this book. Why? Because if you or anybody you know has been a victim of sexual abuse you/they need to read this book.

  • Emily
    2019-06-03 01:03

    This book was given a sensational title, and from my understanding, it caused a lot of controversy when it was first published. Reading it, there is no wonder why. The author, Susan A. Clancy, confronts all that society thinks is true about sexual abuse. There was plenty of times when I felt uneasy reading the book, because it -appears- that she is saying that sexual abuse is not traumatic. Rather, what she's really trying to say is that the trauma comes later when sexually abused children get older and realize what happened was wrong. Clancy interviewed hundreds of adults who'd been abused. Their experiences squared with mine and I found myself nodding along, despite my discomfort with the fact that notions cherished by society and myself were being demolished. Let me be clear: I don't believe I, nor Clancy, has the right to tell ANYONE who's been abused that they were not traumatized. These were the results of an investigation, and they just so happened to fit with what I experienced as true, which is that when abuse happens, it is mostly likely not traumatic --at the time-- it happens. Why? Because most abuse is not violent, the victim lets it happen, and they are usually abused not by STRANGERS but by someone they trust! This fits with the actual statistics. Using the trauma model, which was created for incidents that are violent and forceful and frightening, does not help abused children or adults abused as children. Instead, Clancy says, we should tell victims that it was not their fault that this happened to them, that they let it happen because they were too young to make a judgement or give consent, and that the persons that abused them betrayed them, not the other way around. (Many victims blame themselves and they should not). That's the gist of the book. I recommend this book for both victims of sexual abuse and those who care for them-- family members and the professionals who work with victims.

  • Cait Ní Cheallaigh
    2019-06-16 03:01

    I can see why many mental health experts would take exception to Clancy's narrow defiintion of "trauma," but nonetheless, this is a must-read for any human who breathes. If you're a victim of sexual abuse you may find comfort, but if you're not, you need to read this book even more. So many times I've heard, "Well, if it was so bad, why didn't you tell anybody," or, "Why did you wait this long," or, "If you're not traumatized, then I guess it wasn't so bad." This is still the prevailing attitude today, and it is more or less why, despite all advancements in reporting, like USA Swimming's "Safe Sport" initiative, little is really going to change for victims; the onus is still on children to even understand that they're being abused. Well, that doesn't work, because most times, they don't know they're being abused. It's not because there's somethign wrong with them, it's not because nobody explained to them right and wrong. It's because they're children and they're being lied to and manipulated by an adult they've come to trust, like an uncle or a coach. It can take years or decades before they come to terms that they'd been had, in very damaging, abusive ways. Adults sit by and let this happen, meanwhile, when they're the ones with the power to make it stop. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and read this.

  • Pamela
    2019-06-08 07:56

    This book was not worth reading and I do not recomend it. Her theory that there is an industry built around treating 'trauma' is quite a stretch. Not everyone who has experiecenced abuse or any other bad events has been traumatized but some have been. Those who exhibit the true signs of trauma do benefit from various forms of treatment.

  • Stephen
    2019-06-12 04:52

    This book is really fantastic. My one beef is that Clancy wants to ditch the trauma model completely. It seems the trauma model simply needs tweaking. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  • Teresa Keatts
    2019-06-15 07:45

    My sister was a child abuse victim more than 40 years ago. This book is accurate in describing her confusion at the time (age10) and the aftermath of years of silence. The “uncle” who is now 86 is still a well respected outstanding community leader. The wall of good deeds built around him over the years has always served as protection. The abuser has the advantage over the victim and he knows it.

  • Rachel
    2019-05-26 08:41

    As someone who specializes in traumatic stress and works closely with trauma survivors, this was incredibly enlightening. It has allowed me to reflect on my past work with survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and how I may change my approach moving forward with future patients. I am looking forward to discussing this with colleagues and my supervisor soon.

  • Daniel Lang
    2019-06-10 06:37

    This is a definitive book on child sexual abuse. I admonish all potential readers to not interpret the title by a rush judgment. Ms. Clancy no way denies that there is child sexual abuse that is not violent and traumatic. She in no way is giving approval to sexual abuse in any form. The point she is making that in the vast majority of cases (90%)at the time the abuse is committed, the act is neither violent and nor traumatic. What Ms. Clancy uncovers is the deceit of the predator. How these people prey on children through trust, betrayal and deceit for the vast majority of the time. When I child is abused by trust and "love", the trauma comes later when they develop into adulthood. Please let Ms. Clancy have her full say (read the book in its entirety) before passing judgment. I as her have given much thought if the title could be different so that those who have experienced violent, traumatic sexual abuse would not react so quickly to condemn this book, but I find it the only title that can communicate the thought of the book. There is much good that can come from this book for the survivors of sexual abuse. I stand with all who have experienced sexual abuse! You do not have to convince me.

  • Kjes
    2019-06-11 04:39

    I agree with another reviewer that the title of the book is not right; it is needlessly inflammatory. Why Clancy chose this title is beyond me. Yes, it creates attention, but it also immediately sets her readers against her.An informative, important read, which will help many victims define their feelings about their abuse.Clancy's main point is that most children who are molested often aren't traumatized at the time, but more often confused. The trauma comes later, when they are older, when they come to understand what molestation is and then realize that they have been grossly betrayed by someone they should have been able to trust. Since the therapy world truthfully proclaims loud and clear that child molestation is a horrific crime, there is a disconnect for many victims. They begin to experience guilt about the fact that they weren't horrified or repelled by the abuse at the time it occurred and that they didn't know enough to attempt to put a stop to it.I disagree wholeheartedly with Clancy's idea that there is no such thing as recovered memory or repression. She is absolutely wrong on that point.

  • Thorn MotherIssues
    2019-05-27 07:45

    I'm coming to this from the perspective of a foster parent who has to be prepared to deal with children who HAVE been sexually abused, and so I was a bit disappointed that the advice to parents was almost entirely about how to prevent child sex abuse and how to respond to a disclosure. I think Clancy is right that many children who are molested by adults they know find the experience more weird and baffling than as traumatic than another sort of assault might be and that they only later come to understand what has happened to them and it's that understanding and the upsetting need to re-understand everything that leads to many of the negative outcomes associated with child sex abuse. I just think that, contrary to how controversial she finds that position, it's pretty obvious from logic and from the case studies she reported and I wish she would have built on that for more of a theory than just "and other researchers won't pay attention to me!"

  • Lynn
    2019-06-16 02:36

    This book is about a provocative topic that is handled poorly. The author spends too much time defending her position and not enough time delving deeper into the implications and evidence to support her assertions. A quick read (b/c it's so void of deep probing) that makes you wish there was a more substantial book on the topic.

  • april
    2019-05-25 00:58

    fantastic book that explodes everything you think you know about childhood sexual abuse. odds are, you know someone who went through this, and this is what you need to know about it. must-read for those in the mental health field.

  • Lindsay
    2019-05-17 00:51

    I would recommend this book for anyone who works with sexual abuse victims. It offers a new view on sexual abuse which is very different from what society has been taught. A good (professional) read.

  • Laura
    2019-06-14 02:55

    Excellent point of view. This book really helped me understand my own predicament, and gave me insights into how others may feel.

  • talkingtocactus
    2019-05-28 02:46

    this isn't an easy book to read - in terms of content anyway. it's well written and lucid, but pretty horrific. gave me a lot to think about...