From the Talmud to kiddie porn, Rush laboriously documents the existence, and often the legality, of adult/child sex. Her...

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THE BEST-KEPT SECRET: Sexual Abuse of Children

From the Talmud to kiddie porn, Rush laboriously documents the existence, and often the legality, of adult/child sex. Her purpose is not clear, though her attitude is: indignation, if not outright outrage. She gives little or no commentary on historical or cultural contexts for the incidents and practices she describes in boring detail; whether ancient Greece, India, Victorian England, or America, it's all seen as abuse, usually perpetrated by a nasty man against an innocent young female. Girls are portrayed as victims with such consistency that nymphets might never have existed, nor incest fantasies ever taken flight. Indeed, Rush is quick to assert the veracity of claims of sexual abuse and incest, and devotes a full chapter to the errors and ill-effects of Freud's oedipal theories. Her work here is more analytical, though not new, as she documents the reality of sexual abuse from examples drawn from her 25 years of experience as a psychiatric social worker and finds contradictions in Freud's public and private writing. As for the current scene, if anyone wonders what organizations promote pedophilia, or seeks the names of magazines that advertise movies appealing to prurient interests, they're all here--presented with thorough disapproval, of course. And while Rush's censure of contemporary adult/child sexual exploitation is appropriate, she gives no suggestions for action, only the meager hope of ""total re-education."" Look instead to Linda Sanford's Silent Children: A Parent's Guide to the Prevention of Child Abuse (p. 969) for at least a few ideas about what parents can do to keep their children from being victimized. A tedious catalogue of unsavory sex.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Prentice-Hall

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1980